Sustainable Woodstock’s distinctive role in our community is to hold a focus on long-term environmental and economic challenges that affect our quality of life. Our board regularly discusses a wide range of pressing issues–from energy and transportation, to food production and waste reduction, to housing and local economic development—to determine which of them we ought to address at any given time.
Sustainable Woodstock sponsors, participates in and serves as the catalyst for a broad array of activities to help Woodstock and our portion of Windsor County become a more resilient community. “Sustainable” and “resilient” mean that a local region can meet many of its basic needs, such as food and energy, with less dependence on complex and fragile global systems, and can more effectively adapt to expected changes in the climate, availability of resources, and the global economy.
For the twenty-first century and beyond, we need to learn a more self-reliant, energy- and resource-efficient lifestyle than the wasteful consumer lifestyle we were taught in the twentieth century. Sustainable Woodstock encourages local, gradual steps toward making this shift happen. We develop or support projects that help people develop better practices concerning food, energy, transportation, waste disposal, economic development, and cultivating community and sense of place.
How do ideas turn into action?
An individual champion steps forward: Sometimes someone sees a need in the community, connects with others, and organizes people and resources to make something happen. For example, master gardener Anne Dean and a small group of community members created the first community garden in 2009; now there are two community gardens in Woodstock, one in Pomfret, and a fourth in Taftsville. Our small town can claim to have the most community gardens per capita in the nation! If you have a good idea, let us know and we’ll see how we can help.
Sustainable Woodstock takes the lead: Sometimes a group within Sustainable Woodstock identifies a problem and goes to work to solve it. For instance, our Energy Group recognized that the Town Hall building needed to be made more energy efficient. So, the group members wrote a proposal to fund an energy audit, helped with the actual legwork of the audit itself, and are now consulting with town officials to make the recommended changes.
We create partnerships: There is a lot of work to do, and we fully realize that we, a small group of concerned citizens, cannot tackle any of these challenges on our own, so we seek to collaborate with other organizations, businesses, and agencies that are also working to improve our community. Here are some examples:
The annual Trek to Taste event involves ArtisTree, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park, Ottauquechee Community Partnership (OCP) and the Farm to School program.
The highly successful network of community gardens is a joint effort of SW with Billings Farm, Change the World Kids, Zack’s Place, and state groups like the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.
The fuel-efficient summer trolley service is a collaboration with the Town of Woodstock, the Chamber of Commerce, Two Rivers/Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC), and the National Park.
Safe Routes to School draws on the resources OCP, Woodstock Elementary School, the town, and TRORC.
We work with the Covered Bridges Half Marathon to recycle the waste from this nationally acclaimed event.
We sponsor a film series with the assistance of Pentangle Arts Council, and run the Naked Table event with the Shackleton Thomas company.
We are involved in other collaborative projects as well, with additional partners such as the Woodstock Recreation Center, Norman Williams Public Library, Vital Communities, the Economic Development Commission, and the Woodstock Area Job Bank.
A new and very promising collaboration is the Nonprofit Network, which brings together leaders from across the community to work together.
So, if you’re an individual with a personal passion around sustainability or a member of a community organization that wants to link with Sustainable Woodstock, we should talk! Email Sally Miller, our director, and she’ll be in touch with you.
We are members of the following organizations: Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce; Sustaining Member, Local First Alliance; Vermont’s Working Landscape Partnership; Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network