Blog : March 2012
The Green Alliance has joined the fight against cancer by signing up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure happening in Portsmouth on May 12. Director Sarah Brown and Assistant Director Becky Holt are captain and co-captain for the Green Alliance team, and are looking for other members of the Green Alliance community to join them!
The registration for the 5k walk/run is only $30 or $35 depending on whether you want your race timed or not. The first five people to register with the Green Alliance team will be the lucky recipients of a Green Alliance t-shirt! Don’t miss the chance to take part in this incredible, Green Alliance sponsored event and support Susan G. Komen’s effort to eradicate breast cancer.
For more information about the race and how to register, visit www.komenvtnh.org!
Amy Cotler is the author of the book The Locavore Way: Discover & Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food. Come to hear her 'how-to' presentation to learn everything you need to know to buy, cook, and eat food grown, raised and produced close to home. She'll touch upon why we should eat locally, where to find local foods, how to eat locally on a budget, what questions to ask at the farmers' market, and even how to grow your own food.
Amy offers savvy shopping tips, simple guides to preparing whatever is in season, ideas for bringing out the best flavors in farm-fresh foods, and strategies to make the harvest last. She will guide you through how to build a better food system through local food advocacy, as well as a local food and sustainability glossary to unscramble terminology.
It is sure to be a fun evening of terrific local food. To purchase a ticket for this event, visit the Food and Health Forum website.
Earlier this month on March 13 the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) held their inaugural Massachusetts Clean Energy Day at the State House. It was an exciting day for an organization which represents over 400 different entities ranging from clean energy companies to universities working to jump-start New England’s clean energy economy.
Along with a speaking program, the event included an exhibition to showcase clean energy initiatives undertaken by Massachusetts businesses.
Also featured during the event was a table top display created by Green Alliance business partner Pixels & Pulp.
One of the GA's flagship businesses, Pixels & Pulp is a design studio specializing in one-of-a-kind designs and branding strategies for both print and web, all while keeping their carbon footprint low. Because of co-owners Elise Weeks and Megan Keogh's experience in retail, advertising, commercial, and non-profit sectors, their project for the NECEC was something of a cinch.
“We like tight turn arounds because we can help our clients out when they really need us,” says Megan Keogh, the lead on the project.
Pixels & Pulp was contacted for the job by Scott Szycher, former Assistant Director at the Green Alliance, which Keogh and her team saw as a huge compliment.
“We are super happy that Scott thought of us, and came to us to see if we would be up for the project,” she said.
Pixels & Pulp completed the project well beyond expectations, designing a display which both introduced the NECEC and showed a timeline of their various endeavors and achievements.
For more information about Pixels & Pulp, visit their website pixelsandpulp.com!
The New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility is a network of New Hampshire businesses that have acknowledged the importance of environmentally conscious business practices. On May 14th, NHBSR is holding their annual Spring Conference that is focused on promoting social responsibility in the workplace, local communities, and the environment. This year's Spring Conference is titled Walking the Talk: The Profitability of Values. Beth Tener of New Directions Collaborative will run a networking event that introduces participants to others who can help them become more sustainable and socially responsible. The Spring Conference opens with a keynote address from a leader in the realm of corporate social responsibility.
When Simply Green turned an abandoned Route 1 Toyota dealership into a thriving green-oriented business campus – aptly named Regeneration Park – they recognized one of the biggest challenges would be figuring out what, exactly, to do with the expansive, worn down parking lot.
Joel Bobbett and the rest of the Simply Green team knew they wanted whatever measure they took to be in keeping with Regeneration Park’s impressive green ethos, which already included myriad recycled materials, efficient lighting and heating, and other measures.
It was getting from here to there that posed the real challenge.
Not only did the company have to take into account the many acres of adjacent wetland and corresponding wildlife; they had to do so in a way that could both accommodate and account for a heavy traffic burden punctuated by the fantastically popular Demeter’s Steakhouse, one of the park's cornerstone businesses.
“It was a unique balance we had to strike,” recalls Bobbett, Simply Green’s Director of Marketing. “But whatever plans we came up with, we wanted them to be as green and low-impact as possible”
The initial goal was to remove as much existing pavement as possible, without compromising the traffic or parking requirements. At first, the team considered replacing the entire asphalt lot with one made entirely of pervious materials capable of preventing runoff into the nearby wetlands.
The bad news was, because the wetland’s water table is so close to the surface, the treatment zone underneath the pavement would be permanently saturated, thus leading to premature failure of the pavement. After discussing their options with project leader Altus Engineering, Simply Green decided on another option entirely.
The good news? That route turned out to be an even greener one.
It didn’t take long for Altus President Eric Weinrieb to recognize the perfect remedy for the large, wildlife-buttressing space – one that the Portsmouth-based Altus had long specialized in: a rain garden.
As part of the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility 2012 Webinar Series, Mirjam IJtsma of Cultural Chemistry will lead a comprehensive webinar to discuss businesses practices for the cultural promotion of social responsiblity. Topics include:
- What is a social responsible organizational culture in a small business? (5 minutes)
- The specific management style that is critical to the success of a social responsible culture (10 minutes).
- How to create ownership at lower levels of the organization and transforms managers from task givers to coaches (10 minutes)
- Engaging managers and employees in the mission (10 minutes)
- Simplified plan to start implementing a social responsible culture (10 minutes)
Guest Speaker,Shane Carter, from Ridgeview Construction will discuss his own companies sustainability efforts, following the three step approach of Cultural Chemistry.
The "Engaging Employees in Social Responsibility in a Small Business Environment" webinar will be held on April 11th at 12:00pm-1:00pm EST. It is free and open to all who are interested in registering. Current and potential small business owners are encouraged to attend this webinar as well as those interested in promoting a socially responsible business culture in their workplace.
To register (for free!), visit here. For additional questions or more information on the webinar series contact Mirjam IJtsma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in January, the GA hosted the first installment of its Green Business Learning Series, an on-going program designed to help area business owners and community members foster idea-sharing and creative marketing strategies.
In that seminal presentation, Mirjam IJtsma, owner of Cultural Chemistry, gave an engaging, all-encompassing look at “company culture,” highlighting the ways in which businesses of every size can get the most out of their employees by better defining the workplace’s unique goals, values, and dynamics.
Last month that honor fell to Bridget Sprague of Be Good Branding, who spoke on the importance of effective branding – it’s conception, development, and how it can help you build trust and meaningful relationships with your customers.
Father-son business might seem like quaint relics of centuries past. But one New Hampshire building company is proving that keeping it in the family – combined with a decidedly 21st century focus: green – is as good a recipe for success as ever. Launched in 2007 by Roger and Ethan Korpi, Eco Sound specializes in a more conscious method of building homes – one that takes as its chief goal the long term durability and sustainability of the finished project.
Indeed, Eco Sound makes no bones about it: they want your home to stand for hundreds of years, in the process proving there are few companies out there who can “build ‘em like they used to”. Whether it’s sourcing wood from FSC and SFI certified forests, incorporating super-efficient insulation, or subcontracting with local outfits who themselves specialize in using non-toxic paints and locally sourced materials, Eco Sound has built a solid reputation based on principles of quality and efficiency as timeless as the idea of the “family business” itself.
“We feel like there’s been a much stronger desire in terms of people incorporating more green products and high efficiency approaches into the construction of their homes,” says Ethan Korpi. “Obviously doing so can come at a cost, but we try and help people find that balance between efficiency and how they always dreamed their home to look like.”
Following a successful inaugural consignment sale in September, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover will be holding yet another this coming weekend on March 31 and April 1. The sale, which will be held right at the Children’s Museum in Dover, will feature a wide range of items such as children’s clothing, sports equipment, nursery furniture and maternity wear.
“It’s similar to what you would find at a yardsale, except it’s more upscale” says Ellen Schultz, who is Project Manager at the museum. “Everything is ‘gently used’.
The two day sale features consigned clothing which means the original owner and the Children’s Museum will both receive a portion of the revenue, but also items that are received through direct donation. These items are sorted through, and if they cannot be sold they will be donated to a number of charities the museum has contact with.
The consignment sale in September welcomed over 300 shoppers, and Schultz expects many of the same people to return this weekend. There will be a private pre-sale early on Saturday from 9-12pm, with the public sale following from 12-7pm. Sunday is the discount sale from 12-5pm where items that are left may be reduced in price.
Schultz says she is very excited about the sale, and proclaims that it would not be possible without the help of many gracious volunteers and sponsors. These sponsors are Acorn School in Stratham, Peter Cotton Tail Preschool in Dover, Avon representative Nancy Sposato, Liquid Planet, Jim Mills of RE/MAX in Portsmouth, and Green Alliance business partners Green Maids and Prelude Gifts.
“We have the best volunteers and sponsors,” gushes Shultz. “It’s a huge project, but we have a lot of support from the community.”
For more information about the consignment sale, click here!
South Church Promotes Community Sustainability with the "Growing Green: Treats and Treasure Auction"
In collaboration with the South Church's commitment to sustainable community building, this year’s Annual South Church Auction will feature organizations that incorporate environmental business initiatives in the seacoast community. Beginning at 5:00pm on Saturday, March 31st at the South Church in Portsmouth, NH , the "Growing Green" themed auction will offer a variety of items as well as information on the participating sustainable businesses. To continue to promote the participating sustainable businesses, South Church willl showcase the organizations in the main lobby. To view the complete list of auction prizes, click here.
Tickets are available for $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Ticket price includes food, beverage, desert and bidding card. To purchase in advance, call (603) 463-4762 or visit the South Church ticket office at 292 State Street, Portsmouth, NH.
With literally tons of litter being left behind on New Hampshire’s beaches, there is a real need for local volunteers to help cleanup after the over 1 million people who visit popular Seacoast destinations like Hampton Beach each year.
That’s why two local eco-minded entrepreneurs, Johnmark O’Brien of the York Harbor-based Green Maids and Nathan Johnson of Visions Kitchens and Design in Hampton, plan to celebrate Earth Day a bit early this year by organizing a beach cleanup at Hampton Beach on Sunday, April 15, 2012. They invite local residents and visitors alike to come out and volunteer from 10:00 to 11:30 AM.
“I take my dog for walks on these beaches and am always picking up trash as we go,” says O’Brien. “It just seemed like a good idea to do more to help keep our beaches free of pollution.”
"Plus, keeping our beaches clean helps to keep our oceans clean, and we all know how important our oceans are,” adds Johnson.
The duo is reaching out to local green groups like the Green Alliance and Blue Ocean Society, both headquartered in Portsmouth, to help make the beach cleanup a success.
Last September, over a thousand volunteers turned out to pick up more than 8,000 pounds of trash as part of the annual New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup organized by the Blue Ocean Society. The tally included a mind boggling 28,109 cigarette butts and filters. Recognizing that success, Johnson and O’Brien plan to donate $1 to the Blue Ocean Society for each person who shows up to volunteer at their beach cleanup on April 15th, up to $500.
On March 1, U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree honored the nonprofit program Mothers and Others Against Hunger and the shelter which they are a part of in Alfred, Maine, York County Shelter Programs, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mothers and Others Against Hunger helps address the need for food and other necessities for impoverished families in York County and is truly a force for good in the Seacoast area. Representative Pingree had the opportunity to visit the Shelter and tour some of its facilities on March 15 and deemed the organization “an incredible program… that has been in operation for more than 31 years and continues to be an essential part of York County”.
At the shelter in Maine, Pingree saw the new Vinton Hall which currently provides a home for eight previously homeless individuals and also features new energy-saving technologies. She presented the shelter with an official, framed certificate of her public endorsement of the group. She is pictured with York County Shelter Programs director Donald Gean outside the shelter's bakery.
Luckily, many generous donors have contributed to the York County Shelter Programs. Over 100 businesses have either pledged $50 to help the Mother and Others program or $50 of food to give directly to the hungry. These pledges come from counties in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and as far away as Arkansas and Iowa.
Mothers and Others Against Hunger will be hosting many different fundraisers to raise money for the program; if interested in these events or the organization itself contact Mary Doyle at 207-793-2759 or email@example.com.
To view Representative Pingree’s full recognition click here.
From March 22 to March 31, Portsmouth and the Seacoast area will be celebrating its annual Restaurant Week. For the week, restaurants-goers can enjoy a prix fixe lunch for $16.95 or a dinner for $29.95.
Why not further take advantage of these great deals by dining at a sustainable restaurant! Although the Green Card is not applicable with the above Restaurant Week offers, this is still a great opportunity to get a taste of these eco-friendly restaurants. Green Alliance is proud to have three business partners involved in Restaurant Week: Poco’s Bow Street Cantina, The Portsmouth Brewery, Robert’s Maine Grill and Market.
All three of these eateries lead the way in sustainability and offer generous discounts to Green Card holders. Poco’s recycles everything possible, composts 100% of waste and is seeking LEED certification for their recently renovated patio area complete with superefficient heaters and light bulbs. Green Card holders can receive 10% all food and alcohol purchases here.
The Portsmouth Brewery both utilizes and encourages the use of locally-grown ingredients and contributes extensively to sustainability-awareness raising organizations. The Portsmouth Brewery also offers a 10% off discount on food.
Robert’s Maine Grill and Market, located across the Piscataqua in Kittery, Maine, will also be participating in the neighboring town’s Restaurant Week. Robert’s, among other great accomplishments, has introduced single-stream recycling, solar-powered hot water and switched to locally grown food and, like our other two restaurants, offer 10% off to members. Click here to view their Green Alliance page.
Restaurant Week is a perfect way to sample some great food in the Seacoast area and this year provides the opportunity to visit a green restaurant. Between Poco’s, The Portsmouth Brewery and Robert’s Main Grill and Market, Restaurant Week attendees have a variety of both food and ways to help conserve our environment.
Nearly 3 years have passed since the Green Alliance (GA) first began bringing green-minded businesses and individuals together. Even today, the GA is continually searching for new opportunities to grow and strengthen the green community, and collaborate with other grassroots movements that share a common concern for protecting the planet.
The GA’s newest endeavor draws from the artistic community of the Seacoast, a region rich in art, music, and cultural offerings, by becoming something of its own gallery. In addition to working with its growing list of Business Partners, the GA will be spotlighting local artists through its Artist in Residence Program. The program seeks to link local artist with the Green Alliance network, as well as the local community as a whole. Last fall, the Green Alliance moved into a downtown Portsmouth office boasting high ceilings, beautiful natural light, and 1,000 square feet of potential gallery space. In short, this prime real estate in the Franklin Block Building on Congress Street is the ideal arena for artistic exposure.
“When we first moved into this building, I thought what an opportunity to cover the walls with art that connects with our mission to strengthen the local green economy; and of course the art community plays a crucial role in that mission,” says GA Director Sarah Brown of the initial idea for the Green Alliance’s new Artist in Residence program. “Additionally there are so many incredible artists out there that simply don’t get enough exposure. We have a very robust and engaged group of consumer members and partnering businesses – couldn’t we be promoting a local artist to the GA community and helping them to succeed financially as artists?”
The first local artist to receive the title of Green Alliance Artist in Residence is photographer and mixed media artist Suzie Goodwin of Eliot Maine. Her timely paintings, mainly of the partially deconstructed Memorial Bridge are simultaneously alluring, inspiring and authentic; they currently hang in the new Green Alliance community exhibition space. The GA guerilla gallery, as it has been called, is open Monday through Friday from 10-7pm with opportunities to meet the artist-in-residence on the first Friday of each month from 4-7pm. These “meet the artist” hours coincide with Portsmouth’s “Art around Town”, art walk each month.
A native Mainer, artist Suzie Goodwin has had her eye pressed to a camera’s view-finder for the much of the past fifteen years. Suzie’s unique vision translates into a variety of gorgeous still images. A self-taught artist, Goodwin immerses herself fully in the creation process, allowing emotion to flow through her and onto the canvas, finding joy in the solitary moments behind the glass layers of a lens.
“I could be in the middle of a crowded street, but once I bring the camera up to my face, suddenly it’s just me,” she explains. “I become immersed and for that moment all I feel is reflected in the lens”.
It’s hard to imagine an industry spoken of in more futuristic, 21st century terms than the renewable energy sector.
Indeed, given the enormous leaps – in terms of both efficacy and affordability – made by solar, wind, geothermal, and other green-driven technologies in recent years, such narratives would seem fitting.
But ask Jack Haritas, co-owner of the Seabrook-based Atlantic Green Energy, and he’ll tell you the ideas and concepts are as tried and true – and rooted in old fashioned American ingenuity – as it gets.
A native of Tewkesbury, Massachusetts, Haritas remembers spending quite a bit of time in the garage workshop of his father, who worked as a heating contractor. Too frugal to justify cranking up the heat in the virtually un-insulated workspace, the elder Haritas – along with his apprenticing son – would simply grin and bear hour after chilly hour toiling and tinkering away.
One day, Jack had an idea: Why not build a makeshift solar furnace, using little more than spare shop parts? An avid reader of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, the younger Haritas knew enough about the physics of solar technology to pull it off.
“Garages were never well insulated back then, and ours certainly wasn’t,” recalls Haritas. “We just needed something to help heat the space when the sun was shining – not much more than that.”
Using spare duct work and bent metal breaks, it didn’t take long for Haritas to come up with an early incarnation of a solar hot air system, today one of the world’s fastest-growing green technologies.
“When we finished, we were getting temperatures of 140-degrees at the top when it was sunny out,” says Haritas. “That was more than enough to make the workshop much more bearable during the winter.”