Blog : December 2011
Congratulations to Seacoast Media Group for scoring a 7.17 out of 10 on their Green Alliance Report Card! One of the Green Alliance’s core services to the community is the certification of local green businesses. Each GA Business Partner undergoes a rigorous evaluation process so that consumers know what makes their products and/or services sustainable. As a “Bud”, Seacoast Media Group has already taken substantial steps toward sustainable business practices and is currently in progressive “sustainable motion”. Read their Green Story below to get the full scoop!
As publisher of the daily Portsmouth Herald, tri-weekly Exeter Newsletter and weekly Hampton Union, York County Coast Star, and York Weekly, Seacoast Media Group is known for providing in depth coverage of local, national and global environmental issues. For more than 15 years, the company’s website -SeacoastOnline.com - has provided readers with a paperless way to enjoy that same great coverage, along with all the latest community news, from sports to business.
Beyond covering green news, Seacoast Media Group is changing the way newspapers get printed and delivered locally in ways that benefit the environment and human health. They have eliminated harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the printing process, print newspapers on post-consumer recycled paper, and make use of soy-based ink. Seacoast Media Group now delivers The Boston Globe, Financial Times, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Union Leader, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal locally, eliminating once costly delivery route overlap while conserving fossil fuels and reducing tailpipe emissions. Since joining the Green Alliance, the company turned a shade greener by starting to deliver their newspapers in biodegradable plastic bags. Even before that, subscribers were encouraged to bring their used newspaper bags to the grocery store for recycling.
Publisher John Tabor played a role in incorporating sustainability into the City of Portsmouth’s Master Plan as a founding member and chairman of Portsmouth Listens. He has also been active in Sustainable Portsmouth and the Piscataqua Sustainability Initiative, two groups involved in organizing the Portsmouth Sustainability Fair each year. Sustainable Portsmouth is also known for initiating a multi-year citizen dialogue resulting in the creation of a five-year, community wide plan “to make Portsmouth the most sustainable place to live and work in for everyone.”
Seacoast Media Group is a division of the Down Jones Media Group, which in turn is owned by News Corporation, making it a part of the first carbon neutral global media company, a feat achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon offsets. Their office on the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth has undergone an energy audit and significant energy efficiency retrofits. The lights shutoff automatically, and all new office equipment is Energy Star rated. A policy is also in place to ensure that equipment gets turned off when not in use.
Conserving water is another a priority at Seacoast Media Group. Water used in the printing process gets recycled, and all of their sinks and toilets incorporate water saving features. Filters were installed in the building’s water fountains as part of Tabor’s personal “jihad” against bottled water. The staff now drinks filtered tap water from biodegradable cups during meetings.
Looking for a last minute gift idea? The Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. is offering 25 percent off gift certificates for the 2012 Cruising Season, a special holiday deal good now thru December 22, 2011.
This gift certificate will act as the recipient’s ticket to the Seacoast region’s most popular cruises, from daily tours of the Isles of Shoals and Portsmouth Harbor to night adventures aboard their Steamin’ Party Ship. Anyone on your gift list will love cruising along New Hampshire’s shores on board the M/V Thomas Laighton, whether kicking back a few cocktails or just relaxing to scenic views of local wildlife.
A Green Alliance Business Partner, ISSCO offers onboard recycling and is always looking for new ways to incorporate sustainability, from switching to corn-based, biodegradable cups to trying out Simply Green biofuel. Plus Green Card carrying GA members enjoy year round discounts, including $5 off a steamship tour, or buy one “Party Ship” ticket, get the second one free!
For more information on how to buy ISSCO gift certificates, visit www.islesofshoals.com
Not a Green Alliance member yet? Click here to join today.
Here in the U.S., a business’ growth is almost always couched in terms of improved efficiency and productivity, and the never-ending challenge of bolstering the bottom line.
But for Mirjam IJtsma, careful accounting, creative marketing, and effective business-to-business strategies aren’t the only things a company needs in order to take its product or service to the next level – as crucial as all of these elements no doubt are.
Just as important, she claims, is an effective “cultural chemistry,” or the fostering of a positive, dynamic, and forward-thinking workplace environment. Instead of simply giving people individualized “jobs” or “tasks,” she argues, employers and managers should instead be looking to empower workers towards a collective, organizational purpose.
The result is not only a more positive environment; but tangible growth as well (30% average savings and a 40% increase in productivity are not uncommon for businesses which heed IJtsma's program).
But to understand the deeper meaning, origins, and implications of cultural chemistry – and its role as a potential business strategy – it’s important to know a little about IJtsma herself.
A native of the Netherlands, IJtsma came of age in a country whose business customs – while similar on their face to those of any other Western country – yield upon deeper reflection a somewhat different perspective.
“In Europe, Human Resource strategies are more focused on the culture of an organization, and how one can most effectively align the two,” explains IJtsma. “In the Netherlands, the goal of someone in Human Resources (HR) is getting everyone to feel like they’re apart of something bigger than just their own individual job or tasks.”
Since enrolling in the full time one year MBA program at UNH, I’ve been looking for companies that are doing good things and headed in the right direction. Upon learning about the Green Alliance (GA), I recognized that not only are they “doing good things” and “headed in the right direction”, but also that they are a business with real growth potential.
Good news for Winter enthusiasts; Shawnee Peak Mountain Resort will open this Saturday, December 17! They'll offer skiing and and riding on the Pine and Rabbit runs, and kick off the 2011/2012 ski & snowboard season in style.
While the weather in New England has been unusually warm during the Fall and into December, Shawnee's Peak's investments in energy-efficient snowmaking has really paid dividends this month, as they've been able to blow snow despite limited windows of snowmaking opportunities. And when the temps have gone below freezing at night, they've been cranking out the snow, thanks in part to investments in additional modern snowmaking "fan guns" that produce an exceptional quality of snow - great for base-building!
You might also see a lot of activity in Shawnee Peak's learning area this weekend; that's because Shawnee Peak runs its own "learn to ski for free" day for 150 pre-registered people this weekend, including free lift tickets, free equipment rentals, and free lessons from Shawnee Peak's highly acclaimed ski school staff! Some of these first-time skiers are affiliated with WinterKids, a thriving, independent non-profit dedicated to getting kids in Maine out and active during the cold weather monthsom its to get them involved in this amazing sport. Maybe their ski school could even help you have fun on the slopes this Winter!
And if you're a regular skier, bear in mind that not only does Shawnee Peak offer great deals to Green Alliance members (20% off full-priced lift tickets; 25% off appetizers at Blizzard's Pub; and 50% off rental packages), but season pass holders get discounts at numerous other ski resorts across New England, including Mount Sunapee in central New Hampshire, Okemo Mountain and Jay Peak in Vermont, and Wachusett Mountain in central Massachuetts! That's because all those resorts are "Mountains of Distinctions": independently-owned resorts that strive for the highest levels of customer satisfaction and snow conditions. Because skiing and riding are more fun at resorts not owned by mega corporations!So head on up to Bridgton, Maine and get the Winter party started this weekend!
By Shane Smith, Concord Food Co-op Outreach Coordinator with Roger Noonan, Organic Farmer, Middle Branch Farm. For more information on discounted co-memberships with the Green Alliance and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire, please visit http://www.greenalliance.biz/green-alliance-and-nofa-nh-co-memberships-now-available
“It’s been said that we vote for a new food system with our pocket books. Buying local and organic foods over industrialized foods sends a message to the market place but not to our political leaders,” says organic farmer Roger Noonan from Middle Branch Farm in New Boston. In September, the Concord Food Co-op flew Roger to Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) to meet with members of Congress about why it is important to create policies that support agriculture throughout New England in the 2012 Farm Bill. He traveled with a delegation of 11 NEFU members – comprised of farmers and buy-local activists – and met with Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, and Representatives Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass.
“If I was cynical about our federal government prior to my trip to D.C., I came away even more cynical. I also got angry and determined to do what ever I can to see that agriculture in New England is not put at a competitive disadvantage due to federal policy,” says Roger. “I was surprised at how much work we need to do to inform some members of our congressional delegation on the Farm Bill and its importance to New Hampshire and the region in general. Farmers may make up only one percent of the population, and perhaps to our leaders do not represent a significant voting block, but 100 percent of all voters do eat.”
When Portsmouth law firm Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown (CRML) decided to renovate their Middle Street office, they did so out of a steadfast commitment to preserving a little slice of the Port City’s unique historical heritage.
So it came as no surprise when the team decided to donate $1000 to the Heritage House Program (HHP), an initiative launched to help renovate underutilized buildings in and around Strawbery Banke and provide affordable housing for area residents.
HHP calls for at least ten houses in and around the Strawbery Banke campus to be restored to their original period condition within the next few years.
According to a recent editorial published in the Portsmouth Herald, the 10 newly-renovated buildings are expected to generate upwards of $300,000 annually once occupied.
CRML’s donation went specifically towards the restoration and renovation of the Lowd House. Built in 1810 and named for original resident, cooper Peter Lowd, the building – like the 9 others slated for renovation – will see its downstairs remain a museum exhibit, while the upstairs will be transformed into a residential rental unit.
CRML partner Michael Rainboth says he first caught wind of the project through the Friends of the South End, a city neighborhood association of which he and his wife are both members. Upon hearing about HHP’s plans for Strawbery Banke, Rainboth and his partners were instantly intrigued.
“We felt it was important to do our part to help revitalize such an important Portsmouth icon,” says Rainboth, who donated – along with wife, Annie – an additional $3,000 of their own money to the project. “All of us live and work here, we’re invested in the community, and we think it’s a great program that helps tackle a number of issues.”
Not only did CRML help raise $21,000 for the Lowd House renovation project; Rainboth himself also took the opportunity to help out an old friend (and wife Annie’s uncle), recommending Steve Pearson – known for his work on colonial buildings including the Moffat-Ladd House and St. John’s Church, among others – to be the lead contractor.
Slowly but surely, colder weather is reaching the Northeast. The nights are now regularly dipping below the freezing mark, and your heating system - whether it's oil or gas fired - is now regularly getting a workout.
But you do have home heating options. Instead of firing up the furnace and resigning yourself to expensive monthly heating bills, why not consider a gorgeous Rais wood stove, available at Greenovations, Portsmouth's premier green building supply store? Plus, owner Christopher Ring is offering Green Cardholders $325 off a Rais wood stove when you purchase one between now and Christmas Eve! Take advantage of the warmth and beauty of a Rais stove while you heat your home or office with wood, New England's original renewable energy source.
Not only is this one of the top wood stoves on the market, but you'll be duly impressed with the elegance of the Rais brand. So no matter whether your home decor is rustic or contemporary, a Rais wood stove from Greenovations will keep your home warm no matter what Old Man Winter throws at us. Call owner Christopher Ring today at 603.319.8219, or swing on over to the Bowl-O-Rama plaza in Portsmouth and check out this great deal!
With 98 local businesses now part of the Green Alliance community, it can be hard to keep track of them all at times.
“I was out doing some Christmas shopping in downtown Portsmouth today, and since I don’t have all the Green Alliance businesses memorized, I was in want of a map showing me where I could use my Green Card,” as GA Green Card carrying member Andrew Tiebout recently put it.
Tiebout took it upon himself to solve the problem by creating this handy map of all the Green Alliance Business Partners found in downtown Portsmouth. Check it out!
View Portsmouth Green Alliance Businesses in a larger map
Look for something for the kids to do over the 2011 holiday vacation? Wildquest Holiday Camp at the Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center (PFEEC) offers an affordable way to get your kids outdoors and learning about the environment in a fun, community-minded and non-competitive atmosphere. The camp includes nature activities, animal and plant identification, arts and crafts, quests, and hands-on learning.
“Throughout the week we’ll go on some extreme adventures – just head outside and go where our interests take us,” promises the Prescott Farm staff. “On such adventures in the past we’ve discovered hidden pond, unexplored valleys and found the coolest signs of animal life – always something new and different. Last year we found an active bobcat den!”
Super cold, wet days will be spent indoors working on fun, creative arts and crafts projects.
Aimed at kids in grades K-7, or ages 6-12, the camp runs from Tuesday-Friday, December 27-30, with daily sessions from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Extended care is available.
The PFEEC is located at 928 White Oaks Rd. in Laconia, NH.
Cost is $45 per day or $180 for the full 4-day week. Green Alliance and PFEEC members pay just $35 a day or $140 for all four days. Not a Green Alliance member yet? Join today!
In a move that brought together one of the state’s oldest fuel companies and a rapidly growing solar energy firm, D.F. Richard recently announced the installation of a 5-kilowatt solar array, courtesy of Exeter-based ReVision Energy.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated to be held at D.F. Richard’s Dover headquarters 10am on Monday, December 19th.
Nearing their 80th year in business, the investment represents a coup for New England staple Richard.
“We believe this partnership will help D.F. Richard meet new customers and develop deeper relationships with our existing customers,” said Robert Richard, Owner of D.F. Richard. “Energy sustainability is becoming one of the key issues of our time, and our company is committed to helping people use energy more efficiently and helping them explore alternatives like solar hot water and solar electric.”
Acknowledging D.F. Richard’s enormous customer base and regional recognition, ReVision General Manager Dan Clapp sees the project as providing increased visibility for his company, which recently expanded from their native Maine East and South into the Granite State.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to help more New Hampshire residents reduce their fuel consumption and their associated emissions,” exclaimed Clap. “When you can partner with a business that’s been around since 1932, you know you’re going to be bringing the power of solar to that many more people.”
If you're in the Newburyport area between now and December 21, drop by Jewett Farms' studio on Merrimac Street and donate non-perishable food items for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. When you do, you'll receive a hand-made wooden ornament created from reclaimed wood! It's a great way to help those in need while walking away with a unique stocking stuffer that's actually made by humans, and made from nature's original building material: wood!
These ornaments are also available for sale for $4 at Jewett Farms, with all proceeds donated to the Lydia Valdez Fund - helping a local family fight childhood cancer. And don't forget that Green Alliance members always get 50% off design services at Jewett, so if you're in the market for the finest in cabinetry, wood flooring, and soapstone, pay them a visit this holiday season!
Purchase a Home Maintenance Plan with Ridgeview Construction, and get a $200 credit towards an energy audit!
As most homeowners know, owning and maintaining a home is an ongoing investment. Failure to perform preventive maintenance can turn your investment into a costly liability.
That's why Ridgeview Construction has come up with a superb home maintenance plan - with a special price for Green Alliance members - to protect your biggest investment, and make sure you don't end up with nasty surprises, making it easier to love your home and enjoy your free time.
Under this plan, you'll get 3 visits from the folks at Ridgeview Construction, one of NH's premier sustainable building and remodeling companies, to handle home maintenance projects that you either don't have time for, or know you need someone you trust to get the job done right the first time. They'll perform seasonal activities, such as gutter cleaning and storm window removal in the Spring, deck staining and waterproofing in the Summer, and caulking and storm door installation in the Fall, for a shockingly-low price of just $495. Plus, Green Alliance members who purchase the Home Maintenance Plan get a $200 credit towards a home energy audit from Ridgeview Construction. For more services that Ridgeview can offer, just scroll down to the bottom of this blog post and check out the flyer.
Reprinted with permission from the Concord Food Co-op (www.concordfoodcoop.coop) and with assistance from NH organic farmer Roger Noonan.
Is supporting your local farmer, visiting your farmers market, CSA, Co-op, or other local food source important to you? What about having fresh,local food for your child’s school meals? We have a groundbreaking opportunity for you to support your local farmers and to ensure your local food system continues to grow.
The Farm Bill is moving fast! Act now to voice your support for the The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, introduced to Congress last November, which would consolidate and strengthen aspects of the 2012 Farm Bill to support local farms and make it easier for consumers to have access to healthy foods. The Farm Bill is rewritten approximately every five years. Help us ensure that it doesn’t only support big agriculture but also small-scale farms in New Hampshire and the country!
by Karen Booker, NOFA-NH PP&A Committee Member
NOFA-NH’s (Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire) Public Policy & Advocacy Committee urges you to join us and act now to help us fight genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the consumer’s right to know.
The Just Label It campaign has submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for mandatory labeling of GMOs, also referred to as genetically engineered (GE) foods. NOFA-NH has signed on as a partner of this petition, and we ask all our members to also lend their individual voices.
“We are asking the FDA to change a decade’s old and out-of-touch policy,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety and lead author of the petition. “Today’s consumers are more informed than ever, and they have a right to know about the foods they are purchasing and consuming. We want the FDA to require labeling on foods intentionally produced using genetic engineering.”