The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Greg Watson will join the Schumacher Center’s staff as Director of Policy and Systems Design. He is concluding his second tenure as Commissioner of Agriculture with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this week, stepping down as the Patrick administration leaves office. He also served as Commissioner under Governors Dukakis and Weld from 1990 to 1993.
His major accomplishments as Commissioner during his first tenure included the promulgation of innovative groundwater protection regulations designed to prevent contamination of aquifer recharge areas; an outreach program for farmers to adopt integrated pest management techniques; efforts to make Massachusetts the first state to establish a dairy pricing system; and clarification of acceptable agriculture practices under the Wetlands Protection Act. During his current term of service he has worked to launch a statewide urban-agriculture grants program. He also chaired the state’s Public Market Commission, which oversees the planning and construction of the Boston Public Market, slated to open this summer.
Prior to serving as Commissioner with the Patrick Administration, Greg Watson was appointed Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Affairs and served concurrently as Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Centers of Excellence Corporation. As executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, he made urban agriculture a major focus of the community’s revitalization plan, which featured community gardens, a farmers’ market, and a 10,000 square foot community greenhouse.
Greg Watson served on President-elect Obama’s transition team for the U.S. Department of Energy. Most recently, on loan from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center—the agency that administers the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Trust— he was engaged as Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology within the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he developed a stakeholder process for assessing the nation’s first proposed offshore wind project. In 2006 The Boston Globe Magazine named him one of eleven “Bostonians Changing the World.”
In the 1990s Greg Watson spent four years at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod, first as Education Director and later as Executive Director. The Institute was an applied research center that practiced organic agriculture as well as aquaculture and did pioneering work in bio-shelter design. While there, he gained hands-on experience in ecological design, environmental advocacy, and organizing. With others he founded Cape & Islands Self Reliance – a nonprofit that continues to educate residents about energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
As Director of Policy and Systems Design Greg Watson will introduce new programs while linking together the existing educational and applied community economics programs of the Schumacher Center. He will be a public voice for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, new monetary systems, equitable land tenure arrangements, neighborhood planning through democratic processes, government policies that support human-scale development, cooperative structure, citizen financing of new enterprises, import-replacement strategies, and more. He will draw on his nearly 40 years of work in the new economics field and his understanding of systems thinking as inspired by Buckminster Fuller, whom he names as a mentor.
One of his first initiatives will be to follow up on the connections he made on the Schumacher Center’s October trip to Cuba to explore urban farming, sustainable agricultural, renewable energy, disaster preparedness, and social entrepreneurship. Given President Obama’s easing of relations with that country, there is now more opportunity to offer alternative approaches to economic transition.
Greg Watson serves on the boards of Ocean Arks International, Bioneers, and Remineralize The Earth, and currently resides in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Schumacher Center staff is honored to welcome Greg as a colleague.