Hilltown Families


Pioneer Valley Transition Towns Film Festival Call for Films Western Massachusetts is home to many towns in which there is an incredibly strong sense of community – it has helped to shape the culture of the area for generations!  The Pioneer Valley Institute and Pioneer Valley Transition Towns are sponsoring a film festival this fall – made up entirely of local films created by community members that address the idea of community… Read More

KidWind & Green Dollhouse Challenge at the Western MA Science & Sustainability Expo This May, Greenfield Community College will be hosting the first annual Western Massachusetts Science and Sustainability Exposition. The expo is an opportunity for educators and students to share and showcase their projects, initiatives, services, and resources surrounding the topic of sustainability. The exposition also includes two exciting learning opportunities for students- the KidWind Challenge and the Green Dollhouse Challenge…. Read More

Robert Krampf’s Experiment of the Week: SOLAR POWER Visiting the world’s largest solar power plants to explore reflection and refraction. Video:  Solar Power

Green Tip: January 2012 Did You Know? Food waste, including uneaten food and food preparation scraps from residences, restaurants, and grocery stores, makes up a large portion (up to 40 percent) of the municipal solid waste stream. As a result, diverting organic wastes from final disposal is an important waste reduction strategy that can help extend the useful life of our region’s landfills. Green Tip: If you work in the food industry,… Read More

As You’d Expect, Hurricane Irene Drastically Altered Local River Ecology Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen School of Westhampton, MA writes: The past Wednesday afternoon, Biocitizen teamed up with Hilltown Families to do our annual rapid biotic assessment of the Westfield River downstream of the Route 143 bridge in West Chesterfield, MA. Thank you volunteer citizen scientists! Before we began, our hosts Sienna, Jim and Persephone described how scarily high the river… Read More

Green Tip: September 2011 Did You Know? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a new and growing model of farming that allows people to directly support local farmers and receive a diverse variety of local food crops from their farmer every week during the growing season. Most CSA farms provide vegetables, fruits, and herbs to their members, and some CSA farms produce meat and dairy products. Green Tip: ’Tis the season to…purchase your… Read More

Earth Day Eco-Tips from Western MA Families “Egg cartons make great seed starters! Windows sills are wonderful places to grow the tiny seeds! Kids love to watch life happen inside and outside their world!” – Elizabeth Jensen (Leeds, MA) “Toilet paper rolls become trumpets in our house.” – Jessica Morris (Northampton, MA) “My daughter Kacia, age 8, is fanatical about litter. We recently went to the Energy Park clean up and Kacia… Read More

Maria & Friends: Planting Seeds One of our favorite artists, Maria Sangiolo, has gotten a bunch of her friends together to create a new album all about farms and gardens. The resulting project, Planting Seeds, is an amazing compilation of songs about the earth, gardening, and eating right. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD is also going to benefit the good work of the Northeast Organic Farming… Read More

Sarah Stockwell-Arethen of Cummington, MA writes: In these uncertain times of volatility in the climate, the economy, and politics world-wide, our local communities are ever more important to our well-being and to our future.  On Saturday, March 26th, we will celebrate local community and local food in a truly embracing Hilltown event.  Come to one or all: Kid’s dance (5pm), Potluck (6pm) and Concert (7:30pm) at the Cummington Community House. 33 Main… Read More

Update: Joining the festival this year will be the Juggler Meadow Morris Men and the lovely ladies from the Wake Robin Morris Dancers! Seth Isman, Economic Development Director at the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield, MA writes: Please join us on May 14th, 2011 at the Cummington Fairgrounds for the Hilltown Spring Festival! There will be music on 3 stages, healthy local food, children’s activities all day long, displays by businesses and artists,… Read More

Farm Film Fest: A Day of Film and Food Sunday, March 13th in the Berkshires In celebration of Spring and the upcoming growing season, the Williams College Sustainable Food & Agriculture Program, Storey Publishing and Images Cinema will present Farm Film Fest: A Day of Film and Food on Sunday afternoon, March 13. Hosted by Images Cinema at 50 Spring Street in Williamstown, two screenings and five films about food and farming… Read More

Sewing Marathon: Sew Bags for the Ten Bagshare Locations in the Valley, Hilltowns and Berkshire County Leni Fried of Cummington, MA writes: The Hilltown 24-hour sewing marathon will be at The Village Church and Hilltown Sewing Center on Main Street in Cummington, MA on April 16th—17th from 7:30am to 7:30am the following day. There will be six 4-hour shifts with at least one experienced bag sewer to head up each shift. Please… Read More

The Trustees Encourage Visitors to Dream Big about Making Small Impacts on Local Land When globe-trotting Ambassador William Bullitt needed a place to ponder the world and relax with family, he retreated to the woods and fields of his farm in Western Massachusetts on the Ashfield-Conway border. Now, visitors can enjoy those same pursuits on a property that once hosted diplomats and dignitaries, as The Trustees of Reservations welcomes the public to… Read More

Meg Taylor of Williamsburg, MA writes: Some of you may already know about the local nonprofit, Grow Food Northampton, and their plan to purchase 117 acres of prime farmland in Florence (walking distance from town center, near Meadow and Spring Sts.). If you read the Gazette, it is starting to get some press and you will see more in the upcoming months. The vision is to create the Northampton Community Farm on… Read More

On behalf of the Old Creamery Co-op Steering Committee, Kimberly Longey of Plainfield, MA, writes: Greetings: Just 6 months ago we gathered in Cummington to launch the effort to transition the Old Creamery (Cummington, MA) into a community owned cooperative. Today we’ve reach a major milestone – we are now welcoming founding member-owners to join the Co-op! By joining now you will help us keep the momentum building and move us closer… Read More

Let’s Hear It For The Bear Apparently no one told the neighborhood bear that the McIlquham’s were making an attempt to live greener and had enough forces working against them in their attempts to do so, so we most definitely did not need his/her help in thwarting our efforts. Really, every time we feel like we are making great strides forward, something gets in the way. The spring sports season rules our… Read More

HHuGE Wagon Hours Are Changing! By HHuGE Coordinator, Janet Henderson Hi! I am Janet Henderson, the new Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) Wagon coordinator, and I am writing to let you know that, because the produce in the wagon is not lasting in this heat (and other issues), the hours the wagon is open are changing. The new hours are: Fridays from 5pm-8pm Saturday from 9am-8pm If you have extra produce to… Read More

A Lesson from Brazil The honking of the car horn as they approached the driveway announced their arrival. Max, who had been helping me make the bed, quickly abandoned the task (and me) and bolted down the stairs to greet his friend. Discarding the pillowcase in my hand I quickly followed suit. Menial tasks could wait: Our friends who had just returned “home” after a year in Brazil could not. Arriving seconds… Read More

Make 2010 a HHuGE Success for Food Security in the Hilltowns! By HHuGE Coordinator, Kathy McMahon The Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) ‘wagon’ is open once again! Thanks to Steve Yoshen (built the wagon), Leni Fried (artistic fruit and veggies) and the Goodtime Stove Company (wagon wheel provided), our ‘wagon’ is all ready to open up once again! Thanks to the Old Creamery for hosting it again this year! We’re hoping an… Read More

I’m Going Green Crazy Hilltown mothers of the world would be proud. Two months ago my family embarked on a journey to eat healthier, but as we began our trek through the grocery stores talking about healthy eating, living, BEING it began to spark some interesting conversations. Our family began to talk about the environment. We began to think about how our unconscious stream of living was affecting the environment around us…. Read More

Poop Happens at the Hilltown Spring Festival Composting Porta-Potty to Debut! If there is any thing parent’s become comfortable talking about once they have their first baby, it’s potty talk. So what better audience to announce to that the first-ever composting porta-potty will debut at the Hilltown Spring Festival, slated for Saturday, May 15th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. The environmentally-friendly toilet will be built this Sunday,… Read More

Spring Festival to Celebrate Hilltown Community Through Music, Arts, Hands-on Learning and Family Fun The Hilltown Spring Festival, a daylong celebration of Hilltown music, arts, culture and community, will take place Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds.  Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the fourth annual Festival will feature 15 musical acts on two performance stages, including headliners Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco and Swing… Read More

Update on Hilltown Home Garden Exchange (HHuGE) By HHuGE Coordinator, Kathy McMahon WHAT IS HHuGE? In a nutshell Bringing family gardeners together to donate their excess bounty – in trade or just to help local families in need. Nature is abundant, just not evenly distributed. Sharing fresh, wholesome produce is the neighborly thing to do! UPDATES: A few quick updates about the happenings with HHuGE Our Grand Opening is Monday, July 20,… Read More

Lilly Lombard of Northampton, MA writes: I attended Northampton’s Zoning Revisions Committee tonight (recently formed to recommend zoning changes more inline with “sustainability”) and spoke for about 5 minutes encouraging the Committee to revise our current zoning ordinance that restricts most urban residences to 3 female fowl (and prohibits keeping goats, sheep, etc). I described how these laws were adopted during the era of cheap oil when people became separated from food… Read More

Williamsburg Launches Campaign to Save Energy On Saturday, April 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, Meekins Library on Main Street in Williamsburg, MA, will host the launch of Take Charge! Williamsburg.  Take Charge! is a ten-week, community-wide campaign to reduce home energy use.  Residents pledge to take one or all five suggested energy-saving steps in their homes. Cummington, Worthington and Plainfield are also launching Take Charge! campaigns.  The first 10 people… Read More

Vote Earth: Your Light Switch is Your Vote Last year we lit candles and placed them through out the house as we shut the lights off for one hour.  We were participating in a global statement to take action against global warming called Earth Hour (www.earthhour.org). We invite other families and businesses in Western Massachusetts (and beyond!) to join us this year on Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm by switching off your lights… Read More

Good Food: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century The public is invited to attend a series of 12 free Green Living seminars and workshops at the Berkshire Environmental Resource Center (BERC) at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, MA.  The series is titled, Good Food: Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century. and is aimed to inform students and the community about why and how to increase the sustainability of… Read More

‘Focus on Sustainability’ to Highlight the 2008 Hilltown Spring Festival In addition to featuring new family activities (click here to read), a ‘Focus on Sustainability’ will also highlight the Hilltown CDC’s 2nd annual Hilltown Spring Festival, which will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2008 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Nearly twenty local enterprises and organizations have signed up so far to offer information and demonstrations about a wide variety of… Read More

Carbon Foodprint By CISA Getting Your Feet Muddy? Understanding the Carbon Foodprint of Local Food You may have noticed, as we have, a flurry of news about the “carbon footprint” of buying locally grown products. At first glance, it seems that the energy costs of long-distance transportation make locally grown an environmental winner. But the reality is far more complicated, as many analyses point out: to understand the environmental impact of a… Read More

Each of us can promote sustainability and justice at multiple levels: as an individual, as a teacher or parent, a community member, a national citizen, and as a global citizen.

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