Dear SBN members and friends,
What an amazing couple of months! We've been so busy that we have not had the time to report back to you on all of our work- so this newsletter is especially chock-full of exciting information about the state of the local and sustainable economy movement here in Massachusetts and across New England.
I hope you all had the chance to participate in at least one of SBN's most popular and festive events in Boston--the Boston Local Food Festival and the Local Craft Brewfest. Both of these fantastic events were huge successes and hundreds of those who participated have shared that they plan on coming back again next year! Please check out the stories below to get a real flavor for the magic that happened at both of these festive programs as well as the many other wonderful events of the past few months.
We have a growing lineup of programs organized for the next few months and I hope you can join us in at least a few of these fun and meaningful upcoming events. Finally, yesterday, October 24th was Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Many of our friends across the region and country celebrated with film screenings, lectures, community dinners and more. We hope that you joined in this important celebration by participating in a local event or just enjoying a home-cooked all-local meal.
|3rd Annual Boston Local Food Festival a Huge Success!|
For one spectacular day the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts transformed the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the City of Boston into the nation's largest local & sustainable food hub!
With 120 diverse vendors from across New England tabling, over 20 Chef's and DIYers demoing, over a dozen local musicians and organizations performing, nearly 150 dedicated individuals and groups volunteering, and an estimated turnout of 40,000 festivalgoers, this year's festival was a vibrant display of all that Massachusetts and New England has to offer!
By any measure the food festival was a huge success and the feedback from festivalgoers and the media alike has been incredible!
View our media page for a recap.
We are so grateful for all of the wonderful sponsors, vendors, volunteers, artists, production crews and attendees that made the festival possible. A very special thank you goes to Teddie Peanut Butter, the festivals presenting sponsor, whose participation and support was crucial to the festival's success this year.
The Greenway proved to be a perfect new location for our festival and we greatly enjoyed working with the Greenway Conservancy team to make this festival a reality.
Finally, with the support of our fabulous volunteer crew and zero-waste partner Save That Stuff we were able to divert a whopping 91% of festival waste from the landfill this year, beating our record once again and officially landing Boston Local Food Festival zero-waste event status!
If you joined us for the 3rd annual festival, we hope that you learned, made new connections and had fun! If you were not able to join us this year, we hope you can join us next year for the 4th annual Boston Local Food Festival in October 2013!
Local Brews Galore! 3rd Annual Local Craft Brewfest Draws over 700 Participants!
On Friday, October 5th, over 700 avid local brew fans descended on the John Joseph Moakley State Courthouse at Boston's Fort Point for SBN's 3rd annual Local Craft Brewfest in support of Boston Local Food Festival.
This year's Local Craft Brew fest featured over 30 local beer, cider, and mead brewers as well as for the first time local distilleries, craft soda makers and local food vendors offering light snacks (like maple popcorn and chips with spicy habanero salsa!)
Tasters were serenaded by local musicians and dancers while enjoying a beautiful view over Boston's waterfront at night. The event was enjoyed by all and raised critical funds in support of the Boston Local Food Festival held the same weekend.
For a full list of participating vendors see:
Thank you to all of the vendors, volunteers and participants that made our 3rd annual Local Craft Brewfest a night to remember!
|Portsmouth, NH Hosts New England Local Business Forum's 10th Regional Gathering
On Friday, October 5th, over 50 local economy leaders from across New England attended the 10th Gathering of the New England Local Business Forum (NELBF) with the intention of envisioning our region's economy in 2020 and creating plans to make our vision a reality! SBN leaders have played an important role in the creation and development of this vibrant regional network of local business organizations.
Fifteen local networks from five of the six New England states were represented at the Gathering and enthusiastically embraced the vision for a New England economy in 2020 that opening keynote speaker Michael Shuman so eloquently shared. Michael is the nation's foremost local economy economist and author and he set the stage nicely for the remainder of the day.
Michael Shuman speaking to NELBF about his vision for a New England economy in 2020.
Two keynote addresses immediately followed Michael's presentation. Stacy Mitchell, the author of `The Big Box Swindle', offered an instructive and clear presentation on the importance of solid public policy in building strong local economies. Cheryl Fischer of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund described in vivid detail the thousands of folks in New England who are at this very moment building strong local economies and the potential for major positive change in our communities and local economies is tremendous.
The afternoon focused on practical ways local networks can work together to grow the local economy including plans for the annual Shift Your Shopping national campaign during the holiday season. The founder of the American Independent Business Alliance, Jeff Milchen, offered a presentation about fundraising and his contributions were very helpful during the course of the day. Immediately following the closing session of the Gathering, the first meeting of the NELBF Advisory Council was held. This meeting saw a spirited conversation about the next steps to be taken to build a strong New England economy. More about this discussion in future articles. Our thanks to SBN Board member Joe Grafton for offering his leadership to make this tenth Gathering a major success.
Watertown Local First Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary!
Founding member Jonathan Rosenthal of Just Works consulting with Michael Shuman.
On Thursday, October 4, Watertown Local First celebrated its first anniversary at the Mt. Auburn Club!
The event featured an inspiring presentation by local economy expert Michael Shuman.
Shuman has written several influential books on the topic of local economies, including Going Local, The Small-Mart Revolution and Local Dollars, Local Sense.
As one of the nation's leading authorities on local economies, Shuman helped found the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) along with SBN Executive Director Laury Hammel.
From left to right: Michael Shuman, Laury Hammel (Executive Director, SBN), Town Councilor Susan Falcoff, State Rep. Jonathan Hecht; WLF Chairman Don Levy, (Deluxe Town Diner, founding business member), Barbara Ruskin (Community Volunteer).
Over 50 local business and community leaders including three Town Selectmen, two State Representatives, and one State Senator engaged with Michael in a lively question and answer session following his educational presentation. Afterwards, participants enjoyed light fare offered by local culinary establishments, while networking with Watertown folks interested in building a strong local economy.
|Founding members Ahmad Yasin of Kareem's Restaurant and Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire.|
Our thanks to Rena Baskin for taking the lead making sure this event came off without a hitch and to Bill and Paul Crowley the owners of the Mt. Auburn Club for their gracious hospitality.
Brookline Local First Launches at Kick-Off Event with Massachusetts State Treasurer, Steve Grossman
Over 100 Brookline business leaders, town officials and residents gathered at the Bank of Canton on Wednesday, September 12th to mark the official launch of Brookline Local First.
Attendees included Brookline Selectmen Ken Goldstein and Jesse Mermel, representatives from the Economic Development Advisory Board, Economic Development Director, Kara Brewton, as well as Massachusetts State Representative, Frank Smizik.
Brookline Local First Treasurer, Elaine Joseph of the Bank of Canton said BLF is "a very important organization to keep our community vibrant for the greater good," adding that the Brookline community "is as good as it is because of small businesses."
Sustainable Business Network and Local First movement founder, Laury Hammel discussed the role of Local First in promoting community and relayed the journey in organizing the Brookline Local First group.
The highlight of the evening was an inspiring presentation by Massachusetts State Treasurer, Steve Grossman. In a brief discourse, Grossman traced his family's deep Brookline roots and made an eloquent case for joining Brookline Local First. He discussed his work to support small business in state government, as well as at the national level to impose a sales tax on large Internet merchants, such as Amazon.com.
His remarks about leveling the playing field for small business were followed by a Q & A session covering issues from parking to the role of Brookline Local First.
This major success was followed by a free workshop entitled "Growing Brookline Local First" held at the Puppet Showplace Theater on October 9th.
Focusing on the economic, civic, and other benefits of community-based businesses, the workshop resulted in specific plans for taking Brookline Local First to the next level of success and impact.
We've created a YouTube channel for BLF: http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklinelocalfirst
Find a video of Steve Grossman's speech at:
Cambridge Local First Celebrates Third Local Economy Week
For the third consecutive year, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming Cambridge as a "Local Economy Community" and set aside September 24-30 as Cambridge Local Economy Week. The resolution was presented to the Cambridge City Council Leland Cheung and can be read here.
According to the resolution:
"The mission of Local Economy Week is to educate the community on the countless economic benefits of buying local, encourage aspiring local entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and start a business, and bring attention to the wide variety of unique independently-owned local businesses that Cambridge is so fortunate to have."
"Small business forms the backbone of our economy and it is important to support and encourage new and existing businesses to sustain their livelihood."
"Locally-owned businesses positively impact the community, contributing 57% more to the local economy than does money spent at non-locally owned businesses."
The official kick-off for Cambridge Local Economy Week was on September 24 in front of Cambridge City Hall, where Mayor Henrietta Davis presented Cambridge Local First leaders with the proclamation.
Later in the week, a festive party was held at Ole' Mexican Restaurant celebrating the printing of the 7th Cambridge Local First Business Directory. With a theme focusing on "Cambridge Then and Now", this publication is a fun and easy-to-use guide for the hundreds of locally owned and independent businesses in Cambridge.
Cambridge Local First and over 325 business members have been working for over seven years to build a strong local economy here in Cambridge!
SBN New & Returning Member Announcement
SBN's network is growing in leaps and bounds! A big welcome to our newest SBN Members:
128 Business Council: "Unlocking the Grid". Your one-stop resource for alternative transportation and pro-sustainability solutions for the 128 West region.
Blue Selenium Solar LLC: Solar Panels and Power Systems For Home or Business. Offering design and installation of high quality, high performance solar power systems that fit your budget and your energy savings goals. 100% USA made panels.
Boston Collective Delivery: A new collectively owned, democratically controlled bicycle delivery-company serving metropolitan Boston.
Hearth Artisan Bread: Wholesale and retail bakery in Plymouth creating nutritious, hand-made, wood-fired artisan breads using organic heritage whole grains.
Intelligent Moving & Labor: Quality oriented moving company located in Cambridge Massachusetts offering local & long-distance moving and packing. Serve Cambridge, Boston, and beyond.
Open Space Acupuncture: A community clinic designed to bring affordable, effective acupuncture to the heart of Union Square.
Savorii: Offering innovative, stylish, andsustainable products, handmade by local artists from all walks of life. We bring new life to materials and bring new life to people.
Soluna Garden Farm: A one-acre farm in Winchester, Massachusetts, specializing in sustainably grown herbs and flowers and hand-blended herb and spice blends and herbal teas.
3 Scoops: Selling artisan ice cream out of Brighton, MA, this shop goes beyond the typical scoop by combining "the old with the new." They offer quality classics, as well as next generation flavors like vegan peanut butter swirl.
Welcome back to renewing SBN Members:
City Feed & Supply: Neighborhood grocery/café/deli supplying the neighborhood with a fine selection of local, organic, and all-natural specialty groceries, fresh prepared foods and catering services.
EBI Consulting: Provide environmental risk and compliance management, due diligence, energy efficiency, and engineering services to organizations seeking to improve operations, lower costs, manage risk and exceed stakeholder expectations.
Greener Everyday Consulting: Provide consulting and education services to help individuals and organizations adopt and realize the benefits of sustainable practices.
Intercreativa Design: A graphic and web design studio with fresh and imaginative ideas, offering creative and professional designs tailored to each client's needs. Designer of SBN's new logos!
Novick: Creative Change: Strategies and tactics to grow your business. Offering experiential marketing expertise in the areas of social, traditional, guerrilla, captive, and mobile, media, and events.
Preserve: A green lifestyle company makingstylish, high performance, eco-friendly products for your home using 100% recycled plastics and 100% post-consumer paper!
Tel-Afinity Corp.: An independent telecommunications and data communications sales consulting firm specializing in helping businesses control costs and optimize service levels.
The Williams Agency: A fullservice award-winning integrated marketing and business strategy firm based in Cambridge, MA. We are a boutique agency specializing in marketing with a mission and events that matter.
Save That Stuff: Founded in 1990 with a mission to provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional waste disposal. Offer collection and responsible recycling of corrugated cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, electronics, organics (composting), cans and bottles.
Zevin Asset Management: Employee-owned socially responsible investment firm committed to serving its clients financial needs with competitive financial results; dedicated to social change.
Thank you all for your partnership and commitment to building a Massachusetts economy that is Local, Green and Fair!
Remember: Think Members First! What better way to support the local economy and each other than to support SBN members who share your values and commitment to the principals of Local, Green and Fair. SBN is working on new programs to encourage and support greater B2B exchange within the network. Stay tuned for ways to get engaged!
|SBN Member Spotlight Interview|
Interview with Sean McCaffrey
General Manager at Blue Glass Café
The Blue Glass Café is located in the lobby of theJohn Hancock Tower and invites diners to join them on their mission to provide delicious food in a sustainable way.
Check them out at www.blueglasscafe.com!
What does your business do to contribute to the green economy and what is your biggest challenge in doing so?
"Our company purchases a fair amount of our product as locally as possible-this is very important to us," McCaffrey said. By doing this the Blue Glass Café can "diminish the amount of transport needed for staple products, which limits our impact on the environment as much as possible. It's one way we can help preserve local jobs, and support wonderful local artisans whether they produce meat, produce, or dairy."
He says his biggest challenge in attempting to achieve those goals "is the education of staff and customers. Though the café as a whole has come a long way in the last five years, there was a lot of work in the beginning educating our customers," spending time explaining where we come from and how that affects not only their food, but how it is presented to them.
"Letting consumers know the Blue Glass Café is environmentally conscious and aware" is easier than explaining an increased cost in dishware and locally obtained food. Luckily with partners like SBN, awareness is growing and the future seems bright indeed.
For the whole article, go to our blog at http://sustainablebusinessleader.org/blogs/sblp
|B-Corp Legislation Signed into Law |
On August 7th, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Omnibus Economic Development Bill, which includes legislation regarding Benefit Corporations. This bill will go into effect January 1st, 2013, and plans to encourage businesses to make more socially and environmentally responsible choices.
Traditional business models focus almost exclusively on the maximization of profits often making it legally impossible for business leaders to make socially or environmentally responsible choices at the cost of profits, while benefit corporation legislation will make it legally possible for businesses to not only maximize profits, but also make socially and environmentally responsible business choices that may reduce profits but have an overall positive impact on the company and society at large.
With Benefit Corporation legislation in place Massachusetts can look forward to a more socially and environmentally conscious business climate, leading Massachusetts towards a brighter future for all!
The signing of the B-Corp legislation was supported by SBN and SBN's partner organization the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) based in Washington DC.
|Switch Screening Review
On September 18th, SBN in partnership with the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) hosted a screening of the new energy documentary, Switch, at the AMC Boston Commons.
The film, which explores our energy future, is a part of the Switch Energy Project and hopes to increase a global understanding of energy use.
Dr. Scott Tinker, the Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, tours energy sites around the world including coal, natural gas, solar, oil, biofuels, wind, nuclear and hydropower. Tinker attempts to answer controversial questions about energy use around the world. The film spurred a salient discussion about energy use and the necessity for further research, funding, and political support for the energy transition.
The audience was largely unimpressed by the film's support of fossil fuel use and clear lack of emphasis on energy efficiency and technological advancements in renewable energy. For those that attended the screening, a follow up report will be shared regarding the topics discussed during the Q&A session.
SBN On Tour at MassCEC's Wind Turbine Testing Center
On September 13th, SBN went on tour at The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's Wind Turbine Testing Center (WTTC). The WTTC is the largest wind turbine blade testing facility in the world and tests and certifies wind turbine blade prototypes sent from blade manufacturers. Engineering Supervisor Derek Berry provided us with a thorough and informative tour of the whole facility. The group learned the history of the facility and general wind technology, and was able to view engineers testing the turbines. The group learned a great deal about wind turbine blade testing and the importance of wind technology. SBN's tour of the Wind Turbine Testing Center was an absolute success!
SBN goes on tour in November to Boston Local Food Festival presenting sponsor
SBN's Green Tip of the Month:
Paper or Plastic? We Say Neither!
Have you ever stood at the register of your local supermarket and wondered what is the correct answer to the question: "Paper or Plastic"? Many believe that paper is the best option and there are many benefits to support this argument. However, there are similarly arguments that can be made in support of plastic bags.
Consider these quick facts:
According to an article on reuseit.com, paper bags use more than 20 times the fresh water in production than plastic bags do, yet plastic bags are not often recycled after use-which means they will sit in landfills for years to come.
It takes more energy to decompose paper bags than a unit of plastic bags at an equal weight, yet paper bags are more likely to be recycled.
Paper bags cost more to transport: 7 trucks of paper bags=1 truck of plastic bags.
On the other hand, plastic bags are significant component of the now infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch a floating island of plastic trash that is polluting our oceans and having disastrous effects on ocean wildlife and other species who rely on ocean life for survival.
In short, the issue of paper vs. plastic results in a choice of one negative trade off over another. So why not chose neither? Bring a reusable bag from home for all of your shopping needs from groceries to clothing. Make sure to leave extra's in your car or tuck a compact bag in your workbag. You'll be doing the earth more good than you realize!