September 2022 Newsletter

September 4, 2022

September 2022 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities

Upcoming Event

Register Now for SEEDS Annual Meeting

SEEDS of Northeastern Pennsylvania (SEEDS) is pleased to announce its Annual Membership Meeting scheduled to take place 5pm on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at  Second District Brew Farm, located at 163 Fallsdale Road in Milanville, PA. This event is open to the public, but only members will be able to participate in the Board Member elections.

“We urge SEEDS members to attend, not only to enjoy a social time with refreshments, but to participate in our annual election and hear what we have accomplished over the past year,” says Katharine Dodge, outgoing SEEDS chair. “We will also highlight what we are looking forward to over the next twelve months.”

Because the venue provides open air and well-ventilated space, SEEDS will not have a virtual attendance option this year. There will be beverages and snacks available for purchase. Although the meeting is free, registration is requested. Attendees can register at

SEEDS looks forward to continuing to lead in providing the community with excellent and timely sustainability-focused programming that matches the needs of a transforming environment.

Please use this link to view minutes from the 2021 Annual Meeting as we will be voting to approve last year’s minutes at this year’s meeting.

Local News

11th Annual Free Book Swap October 6-10,
Volunteers Needed

SEEDS annual free Book Swap is being held at the Wayne County Fair Grounds from Thursday October 6th through Monday October 10th.  Bring books you no longer want, get as many free books as you can carry away, or both.  Please note that book drop offs are only on Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday morning. See this video from the last year’s swap for more information about the annual event, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information as it approaches, and look out for the October Newsletter for updates as well.

In the meantime, please consider volunteering your time to help make this year’s swap the biggest and most successful yet.  Please see the below list of tasks and contact Jenna Mauder at to volunteer or for more information about how best to help support the event.

Volunteers are needed for:

Set Up:
Thursday October 6th 9am to 2pm

  • Clean shelves
  • Set up signs

Book Drop Offs:
Thursday, October 6th 2pm to 6pm
Friday, October 7th 10 am to 3pm
Saturday October 8th  9am to 12 pm

  • Volunteer greeter – Log volunteers in and out, give out name tags and event T-shirts.  This role can be completed mostly from a sitting position.
  • Traffic Control – Greet cars and direct them to the book drop off and or the entrance to the swap
  • Drop Off – Help unload books from donors, counting books and logging count, moving books to sorting tables
  • Sorting – separating books by categories
  • Runners – shelving books

Book swap event:
Saturday October 8th 8:45 to 4pm

  • Volunteer greeter— Log volunteers in and out, give out name tags and event T-shirts.  This role can be completed mostly from a sitting position.
  • Traffic Control – Greet cars and direct them to the book drop off and or the entrance to the swap
  • Drop Off – Help unload books from donors, counting books and logging count, moving books to sorting tables
  • Sorting – separating books by categories
  • Runners – shelving books
  • Public Greeter
  • Check out – count books and log

Sunday October 9th 10am to 3pm

  • Traffic Control – Greet cars and direct them to the book drop off and or the entrance to the swap
  • Volunteer greeter – Log volunteers in and out, give out name tags and event T-shirts.  This role can be completed mostly from a sitting position.
  • Public Greeter
  • Check out – count books and log

Clean up:
Monday October 10th 9:45 to end, as needed

  • Clean up crew – remove covers from hardcover books that will be recycled, box up paperbacks
  • Breakdown boxes

Local News

Farm & Chef, Wayne County’s Local Food Festival
Returns on October 2

SEEDS, Wayne County Grown, and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) are pleased to announce the return of Farm and Chef on Sunday, October 2, 2022 from 12:30PM to 4PM at the Cooperage in Honesdale (

Local farm-fresh food from Wayne County farmers will be prepared by the region’s finest chefs. Local craft beverages and goods from local artisan vendors will be available for purchase; and there will be an old-fashioned pie auction and basket raffle featuring local and donated agriculture and sustainability items.

“People loved this Farm & Chef harvest celebration, which was held annually prior to the pandemic, and so it’s great to bring it back this fall to be held again at The Cooperage,” said Jane Bollinger, former SEEDS board member and former co-chair of Wayne County Grown (WCG). “We’re thrilled to welcome a number of new chefs to our roster of returning chefs who helped establish this popular community event. And the best thing? SEEDS, WCG, and PASA are all working together toward building a more sustainable regional food system that supports our farmers for the future. Won’t you join us for this joint fundraiser to support our mission?”

Featured chefs and restaurants include: Caleb Johnson of Native Food & Drink; Ben Cooper of Here & Now Brewing Company; Josh Tomson of The Lodge at Woodloch; Kate Woerhle of The Settlers Inn; Joseph Infante of Tick Tocks on Terrace; Donna Fitzgerald Vannan of Maximum Zen; and Laurie Perri of The Mustard Seed Cafe.

This is a ticketed event and tickets are required to be pre-purchased as they are expected to sell out quickly. Tickets cost $40 and will be available for purchase at the Hawley and Wayne County Farmers Markets, all 7 participating restaurants, online at this link, or by calling Jane at (570) 253-5711. Proceeds from the event benefit SEEDS, Wayne County Grown, and PASA.

The Farm & Chef event is in need of a variety of volunteers to bring it all together. Please see this link for more information on volunteering opportunities and contact Jack Barnett to volunteer for any of the needed roles, or for more information about the roles, at or call 908-963-1619.

If you are a business owner and you are willing to display a poster or trifold brochures advertising the event, please reach out to Jack Barnett as well.


Letter from SEEDS Member Dan Berg

Dear SEEDs and CEC community,

I am so happy to continue to remain engaged with my SEEDs and Clean Energy Cooperative friends and family, despite having moved to Pittsburgh (permanently) and Belgrade, Serbia (for a 1+ year contract).  The work we/you have been and are doing is so relevant on the other side of Pennsylvania and across the Globe.

In Serbia, I am currently Chief of Party for the Serbia Better Energy Activity – a USAID funded project.  Unfortunately, Serbia is dependent on coal and imported gas to fuel energy and heating systems.  This causes significant environmental and more recently energy security concerns.  But, due to historically underpriced coal and gas, Serbs received subsidised home heating and power.  Now, pressure is rising to increase tariffs (given world prices) and also to reduce pollution.  Therefore, there is an increased focus on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.

Better Energy (a 5 year program with USD 10 m from USAID) supports numerous, cross-cutting1 tasks to achieve these goals.  We are working with municipal heating plants to increase efficiency and reduce fuel usage.  We are training municipal energy managers and housing association managers to analyse energy efficiency measures, and we can provide grants to support pilot building upgrades (apartment buildings in Serbia can lose 40-50% of their heat energy, see photo).  We are able to support small investments for prosumers2 installing PV arrays.  Finally, we should help develop a sustainable architecture for these activities — information, education, publicity and even financing instruments.

Honestly, billions will be needed to effectively renovate the Serbian energy system.  With our small project, we are looking to best international experiences and using our grants and policy actions to leverage additional funds from government, companies, citizens, donors and banks.  Education is vital.

In fact, I can turn to SEEDS for good examples.  We are offering energy audits.  We are offering advice directly to homeowners and soon through a website with handy tips on easy energy efficiency measures.  We are reviewing the cost benefit of solar installations and seeking to increase public awareness on possible measures.  And, we are hoping that our policy work will convince local governments and banks to adopt supportive policies.

Thanks again to you for all you do…keep the faith and blaze the trail.

[Included] is a photo of a building last winter — you can tell how much heat is leaking from the building — a lot of work ahead.

Dan Berg
Daniel Berg on Twitter
Daniel Berg on LinkedIn
Daniel Berg on Facebook
Daniel Berg on Instagram

Dan is a SEEDS member and part of our Energy Circle, as well as a member of the Clean Energy Co-op.  He sent us this letter August 4, 2022 and asked to share with the SEEDS Community.  For more information on how to connect with Dan please email us at

1 Cross-cutting is covering numerous issues or activities.  We cover many different aspects of energy efficiency through many different tools.  Thus our efforts are cross-cutting.

2 Prosumers is a phrase used for producer/consumers.  Anyone who produces own energy and may buy and sell to and from the energy grid.

Do you have an idea for a #SEEDSBlog post? if you have experience, expertise or research in an area relevant to sustainable energy, living, education and or outreach, email us at and share your idea!


Taking On Plastics
Some Stories of Innovation, Collaboration and Inspiration

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we reflect on the realities of climate disaster, pollution that threatens the health and wellbeing of our very biosphere and the organisms in it, and the challenges to sustainable living—many challenges that were not our creation.  However, here at SEEDS we are committed to positive habits of mind that include sharing #SEEDSGoodNews stories through this newsletter and our social media outlets.  This month we collected stories about the fight against plastic proliferation, creative solutions as well as collective work aimed at reducing plastic pollution.

Earlier this year the state of California took on Big Oil by initiating an investigation into oil industries’ promotion of recycling as a solution to plastic pollution while knowing most plastics produced are not recyclable.  Similar to how several states are following California’s lead in banning gas powered cars in the future, as the fifth Largest economy in the world California has the clout to send big messages and make big changes.  This investigation, aiming to hold one of the biggest industries in the world accountable for their role in plastic pollution, could have huge impacts on the move away from plastic use and production.

For the plastic that is already with us, microplastics pose a particular risk to organisms which consume them without knowing.  This is why scientists at Sichuan University in China have developed a proof-of-concept for a robotic fish that can absorb microplastics through its body.  The robot’s design is powered by light and inspired by the master designer, nature itself, based on mother-of-pearl, or nacre, which grows inside a clam’s shell, and will attract the microplastic to its body.  Read more about this microplastic absorbing fish robot here as well.

Also in the field of plastic-eating innovation, scientists inspired by the naturally occurring bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis have worked to engineer a more efficient version of it to break down PET plastics more completely.  Although scientists caution that it is years away from commercial use, discoveries and innovation in these areas show that no problem is too far gone to pursue creative solutions.

While it might be hard to imagine a world completely without plastics, researchers at MIT are working on a substance made from plant material and a synthetic polymer they hope can replace plastics made from fossil fuels.  Also inspired by nature, these scientists used and adapted the cellulose found in plant cell walls, an incredible strong substance, and figured out how to adjust it so that they can manipulate and scale it without clumping.  “We basically deconstructed wood and reconstructed it,” explains MIT scientist Abhinav Rao.

And in a plastics-battling story shared with us by some of our youngest SEEDS members, their favorite Youtubers Marc Rober and Mr. Beast teamed up for #TeamSeas, an internet initiative to remove millions of pounds of trash from the world’s water.  Started in October 2021 with an initial goal to remove 30 million pounds of trash in a year, they are currently approaching the 33 million mark.  The project uses innovative technology, local non-profit organizations as well as global organizations, and the network of their collective millions of followers to tackle water pollution.  This project was a follow-up to their previous team-up, #TeamTrees, which planted over 23 million trees.

If you are looking for ways to reduce plastic in your life, consider replacing one or a handful of common household products with plastic free alternatives.  A reusable water bottle, bring your own travel coffee mug to fill at your favoraite retailer, bamboo toothbrushes, laundry detergents that don’t use plastic packaging like DroppsEarthBreeze or NetZeroCo.  For a substantial list of products, check out this blog.  And send us your stories of plastic switch out at or tag us on social media!


Do you have any #SEEDSGoodNews stories to share with the SEEDS community? Send them to us at or tag us on social media!  They can be local stories from your community, or stories from around the world–anything to celebrate and spread the word about the progress of energy efficiency, renewable energy or sustainable living wherever you hear about it!

SEEDS Events

DIY Solar Tour Sold Out; Email for Waitlist

The DIY Solar Tour, scheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 9 AM to 3 PM, is fully booked. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, send an email to to be notified if a spot opens up.

The tour includes four stops on the tour starting in Wayne County’s Damascus Township and ending in Dyberry Township.  Each stop on the tour is an example of a do-it-yourself solar installation, a mix of roof and ground-mount systems. Discussion at each location will cover various aspects of installing a solar system, from financials and paperwork to the mechanics of installation.

Job Posting

Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board
seeks Clean Energy Grant Project Coordinator

If you are not a member of SEEDS, please consider joining us today!
You can use this link to share our membership page with others: 
You will continue to receive our newsletters, invitations to our educational forums and other events. Members are eligible for free solar evaluations, have voting rights at our annual meeting, and help shape our programs and initiatives.  For more information visit our website at