Climate Resilient Community-Building: Discover the Ecovation Hub

April 25, 2018 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

“Climate change is projected to have significant impacts on important economic, health, and natural resource sectors throughout New Hampshire in the 21st century. New Hampshire must continue to plan for these impacts even as it works to address its causes.”

– New Hampshire Climate Action Plan

How can we make sure our region is able to weather the impacts climate change will have on our health and wealth -- from acute impacts from extreme storms and excessive temperatures to the chronic effects on our environment?  By building more climate resilient communities NOW!

What’s a Climate Resilient Community?

Generally, it means preparing our communities for the challenges ahead, while embracing the opportunities to come.  100 Resilient Cities defines resilience as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems [within a community] to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.” 

One impressive effort to foster climate resilient communities in our region is the Ecovation Hub.

What is the Ecovation Hub?

The Ecovation Hub emerged as a response to the closing of Vermont Yankee, a nuclear power plant in Vernon, VT.  Leaders in economic development, education, finance and business came together in 2007 to turn the anticipated loss of 600 high-paying jobs and economic activity into an opportunity -- an opportunity to cultivate the green economy throughout Southern Vermont, New Hampshire’s Greater Monadnock region, and the Upper Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

Leaders decided on a big mission: to build a hub of sustainability and resilience that acts as an incubator, accelerator and engine of economic growth in balance with our resources.  They strive to build on existing assets and brand our region as the center of knowledge for sustainability and resilience.  Instead of focusing on just one industry, they look to promote many -- including sustainable housing, regenerative food systems and green enterprises. 

“We can create family-sustaining, green-economy jobs to keep our young people here at home and to attract people from outside our region,” said Alex Wilson, Board Chair of the Ecovation Hub and founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro, VT.  “We can help to bring prosperity to this tri-state, four-county region.”

Education & Training Consortium

Last year, the Ecovation Hub formed a training consortium with four higher education institutions: Antioch University New England, Greenfield Community College, Keene State College and School for International Training.  One of the consortium’s goals is to partner with businesses and workforce development organizations to develop a climate-ready workforce.

The consortium’s first offering is a Green Building Leadership Institute at Keene State College from May 21 to June 1.  The institute includes two week-long courses designed for both new and emerging leaders.  Participants will improve their leadership skills, learn about new green construction trends and gain valuable strategies for designing sustainable buildings -- whether part of a neighborhood, campus or municipality.  For more information, contact the Keene State College Office of Continuing Education at 603-358-2290 or visit keene.edu/ce.

The Ecovation Hub’s work will become more and more visible in the coming months.  As it does, we will continue to highlight their work in future articles.  Please stay tuned at monadnocklocal.org/regeneration

Village Roots Permaculture Barn Raising

Speaking of green building, sustainable agriculture and resilience, Village Roots Permaculture Farm’s crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock recently reached its goal of raising $10,000 -- and they accomplished this goal in just two weeks!  Village Roots is a family owned and operated, regenerative farm that is part of the Orchard Hill Community in East Alstead, NH.

Owners Marty Castriotta and Ellen Denny will use the funds to purchase locally harvested lumber and hire local contractors to construct a dry and spacious barnyard.  They will use the barn for the farm's animals during the winter and hold educational workshops for the public during the growing season, including permaculture design and certification courses.

"The beauty of a barn raising is that it is a community endeavor," shared Marty. "We'll mill the wood and cut the timbers. You help by contributing to the campaign that will pay for our roof, siding, sight work, gravel, electric and much needed refrigeration. Then you show up on raising day, if you wish, and we raise the frame together."

To me, Marty and Ellen’s success shows that our community is hungry to support businesses like Village Roots.  Hungry to show your support? This campaign will continue to collect contributions through April 28 at https://c-fund.us/f3q.


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