Buy Local Programs and Import Replacement

Berkshire Farm Preserve Note.

There is much to share:


On Thursday, October 10th at 7:30 PM, Robert Swann, President of the Center, will speak at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. The topic is Community Economic Development. Bob will explore the institutional tools required for regional economic transformation and revitalization. At a time in the Berkshires when there is much discussion about “Buy Local” programs, interest should be lively. Bob would welcome you there.

The Lecture is the First in a series entitled “Ethical Technology in the Greenhouse Age”. BCC Economics Professor and Schumacher member, Armand Zanecchia is the Coordinator of the Series. The Lecture is free and open to the public.


For those planning to attend the Eleventh Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures on October 19th at the John Dewey Academy at Searles Castle, please register soon. Ticket sales are brisk. The office has copies of Stephanie Mill’s Whatever Happened to Ecology and In Praise of Nature, should you like to read her work in advance of the Lectures. Thomas Berry’s important work Dream of the Earth, is in reprint with the publisher. We hope to have copies before the Lectures. The opportunity to hear Thomas Berry is a rare and privileged occasion. We will be taping his talk in addition to publishing it in pamphlet form.


The Center is pleased to announce that it has just hired Virginia Rasmussen as Director of the Schumacher Decentralist Library and Resource Facility. Virginia was the Director of Education at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod beginning in 1986. The closing of New Alchemy Institute this year was a big loss to all of us active in issues of ecological integrity. Virginia’s work with the Library will mean that part of the heritage of New Alchemy will be preserved. She will continue her educational activities at and through the Library; Beginning in November Virginia will welcome interns and volunteers who would like to help catalogue the growing library collection.

Our thanks to summer intern Liz Mikulecky who has done an extraordinary job of organizing and readying Library processes and collections. Liz will leave at the end of October for Hawaii where she and her new husband, Jeff Lacey of the Center for Rural Massachusetts will spend the next year. Jeff has a job as planner for the island of Lanai. We hope that they will return to the Berkshires after the year and that Liz will again join the staff of the Center.

Librarian Lorna Moore continues her work on the more esoteric problems of cataloguing books without Library of Congress call numbers. Lorna’s presence and knowledge at the Library has enabled Virginia to accept the job with the confidence that she has a team to carry through the required tasks.


In its concern for the preservation of farmland, the Great Barrington Land Conservancy is taking an active role to preserve the economic viability of Berkshire farms. On September 25th the Conservancy held a press conference at the Shaw farm in Great Barrington to announce a postcard campaign to support dairy farmers. Consumers willing to spend more to ensure a source of Massachusetts raised and processed milk should send a postcard to the Conservancy at 195 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230 with the word yes. In the short run, the results of the campaign will be used to lobby Governor Weld to reconsider his decision not to support the proposal to hike the price of milk by 8 cents per gallon. In the long run the results will be used to study the feasibility of a regional milk processing facility owned by Massachusetts dairy farmers. Please send in your postcard.


The Self-Help Association for a Regional Economy announced an application to the Center for Rural Massachusetts to study the feasibility of a small specialized cannery for the Southern Berkshire area. The cannery would use locally grown agricultural products, so creating an additional market for Berkshire farmers. The announcement was made at Taft Farms where Commissioner of Agriculture, Greg Watson had come to purchase the first note in the third issue of Berkshire Farm Preserve Notes. Farm Notes for the 1992 season are now on sale at both Taft Farms and the Corn Crib.

On October 3rd, Susan Witt of SHARE was the featured speaker at the monthly Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce meeting. The topic of discussion was the Buy Lane County program developed in Eugene, Oregon that matches potential local suppliers with local purchasers, so encouraging ” import replacement”   and strengthening the local economy. If you would like to join SHARE and participate in its work, simply open a SHARE savings account with a $100 minimum at the First National Bank of the Berkshires Great Barrington office located next to Captain Toss at the intersections of Routes 7 and 23.


The Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires has a completed three bedroom duplex unit for sale at its Forest Row site. The cost is $125,000. The Community Land Trust is offering to take back a second mortgage at 7% for up to 25 years on $90,000 of the purchase price. Land Trust staff can show the unit at any time on request.

The Community Land Trust now owns three sites with a total of 22 residential units, the Riverbank office building home to several area non-profits, the Schumacher Library site and an orchard site under lease for the growing of fruits and nuts. The Land Trust is currently working with the Great Barrington Land Conservancy to lease the riverbank site behind the 195 Main Street office building for use as a riverwalk.

The Land Trust is a simple not-for-profit corporation organized to hold land and lease it for purposes designated by a land use plan developed for each site. The improvements on the land are owned by leaseholders, but not the land itself. At transfer, the improvements are sold for their replacement value only, so that ownership remains affordable to the next leaseholder and the value of the land is not calculated in the sale. Membership in the Community Land Trust is open to any resident of the Southern Berkshires. Membership fee is $10 per year.


Because of the high cost of building, the Community Land Trust has helped create the Fund for Affordable Housing. The Fund has just received its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that the Fund can accept tax-deductible donations to help reduce the sales costs of homes which it builds. The Fund is currently seeking a site to build affordable homes. The Fund will work with the Community Land Trust to develop resale restrictions so that the units remain affordable into the future.  A number of area tradespersons and professionals have agreed to work as volunteers on this project. If you know of a suitable site, please call the office.


The Center for Ecological Technology is sponsoring a series of demonstrations on how to build a compost pile. The next demonstration is this Saturday from 10 to noon at Ward’s Nursery, South Main Street, Great Barrington. Fine compost making is an art, but the effort is returned again and again in the quality of your food.


Also this Saturday, the first Conference of Berkshire Land Trusts will be held at Jacobs Pillow from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Peter Berle, President of the National Audubon Society and a Berkshire resident will be the keynote speaker. For more information call the Berkshire Natural Resources Council in Pittsfield.