February 2012, SEEDS Newsletter

February 18, 2012

Hi SEEDS folks,

We sometimes get requests for help with a do-it-yourself green project that is a little over someone’s head:  maybe a solar space heating project seen in Mother Earth News, or a gray water system that is beyond a rain barrel in the basement.  Several years ago, before we had local contractors in the know, Home Power magazine wrote about a renewable energy cooperative team that went around installing PV panels and solar thermal systems, barn raising style.  So, how about a sort of volunteer Green-it-Ourselves Squad to help with putting together small sustainable projects?  We’d need real DIYers who know what they’re doing, but also people to provide the soup and cookies and put together the supply and scheduling logistics needed to make this work.  If you might be interested, please reply.

Any aspiring farmers out there?  We know there will be plenty of perspiring ones in a few months, but if you’ve got the itch or curiosity about launching a small farm, the Wayne County Penn State Extension has put together a four week, 12 hour coursethat will include dreams and goals, research and risk, steps to take and putting it all together.  And you’ll get to network with experienced farmers and newbies.  The classes meet on Thursday evenings in March, 6:15 to 9:15 and cost $120, including books and materials.  For more info and to register, call 253-5970 ext 4110 or email WayneExt@psu.edu  Don’t put it off since class seats are limited and you want to be ready to “plant” this spring.

A Circular Economy
Now is a good time to talk about cradle to cradle or total cost effectiveness, whether for food, goods, services or housing.  An interesting study out of the National Home Performance Counsel deals with a lot of acronyms including:  TRC (Total Resource Cost), EUL (Effective Useful Life), and NEB (Non-Energy Benefits.)  ROI (Return on Investment) is the one we’ve been interested in the past, but this points out that “cost effectiveness tests frequently undermine important public policy goals, such as carbon reduction, clean air, job creation, national security,” and health and comfort levels.  The study is aimed at government and corporate planners and funders, but it also provokes us to look at our individual and community purchases and expenditures of energy–calorie out, calorie in—right now and projecting into the future.  Another approach, “Towards the Circular Economy”, with emphasis on industrial production, was sent to us by Jet Mermell.  For a discussion of the life cycles of fabric—cotton, fleece, bamboo, whatever—check out Marcia Nehemiah who has begun a series of columns in the River Reporter.

Courses for your Pleasure and Profit
Bioenergy is alive and ……well now is the time to get on the train before it passes you by.  Penn State is offering another Bioenergy Shortcourse at the end of the month and the USDA is announcing another round of Rural Energy for America Program grants and guaranteed loans for renewable energy and efficiency projects.  For more info see the attachment.

Johnson College is offering an introductory course to Solar Photo Voltaic and Green Building for Building Professionals in March.  Contact Marie Allison at 570-702-8924

Whether you are interested in learning more about mushrooms as art, mushrooms as food, mushrooms for “recycling”, or mushrooms as medicine, the Delaware Highlands Mushroom Society meets the third Wednesday of each month at 7 pm in at the Honesdale Wellness Center, 602 Church St. The meetings are led by Nathaniel Whitmore and are donation-based.

Transition Honesdale has 3 informative, fun Skill Share’s coming up:
What to Do When the Flu Gets You, led by Jamie Stunkard of Nature’s Grace Health Food Store on Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Honesdale Wellness Center, 602 Church Street, Honesdale, PA.
Bread Baking Seminar also led by Jamie, Tuesday, February 21 and February 28, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Nature’s Grace, 647 Main Street, Honesdale, PA
Home Brewing Basics Workshop on Saturday, February 25, 2:00 to 5:00 pm at Salem Mountain Farm, 2518 Easton Turnpike, Waymart, PA 18472 Suggested Donation: $15
Registration Required. Donations welcomed.  Learn more at www.transitionhonesdale.org or by calling 570.253.3469 or emailing skillshare@transitionhonesdale.org to secure your spot.

SEEDS forums are starting again in March.  Upcoming topics are More Do-it-Yourself  Home Energy Conservation; Solar PV #3;  Round Building: Living Outside the Box.   Generally held the third Tuesday of each month at the Wayne County Conservation District, 648 Park Street, Honesdale at 7 pm.

Warm regards,

Michele Sands
Chair, SEEDS
1023 Main Street
Honesdale, PA 18431