Blog : December 2015

Is the Christmas Goose Making a Comeback?

By Katelyn | Dec 23, 2015 | in

Sarah Brown, Director of the Green Alliance recently completed her second story on the rising popularity of the 'Christmas Goose' for National Geographic's 'The Plate'. Check out the story below or read it on 'The Plate'

A hundred years ago, a golden-browned goose was a familiar delicacy on December 25th. Scrooge thought it essential to add to poor Bob Cratchet’s table in A Christmas Carol, and a goose who lays golden eggs was a prize in the Jack In the Beanstalk story. But good luck finding one at your average American supermarket today.

The Christmas goose actually traces its roots back to the medieval European feast of Martinmas. St. Martin was revered in Roman times as a spiritual leader and patron of children and the poor. As legend goes, one evening, having learned of his consecration as Bishop, he hid in a barn to avoid what he saw as a title above his humble station, only to be revealed by the loud squawking of geese. Their punishment? Feast fare for centuries to come. But as farming life waned, so did the goose—an animal that requires a long maturation time, much grazing area and time and effort to cook. One New Hampshire farmer is working to bring them back.

“A decade ago, I started reminiscing about the geese we had at Christmas as a kid,” says goose farmer Jim Czack. “I couldn’t find one, and so decided to raise my own. Once I had these noble, engaging creatures on my land I knew this would be much more than just my own Christmas dinner.”

Thus was born Elevage de Volailles in Rye, New Hampshire, a small farm-to-table poultry, duck and goose farm on a tree-lined rural road surrounded by horse barns and country homes. Demand has been so robust that Czack doubled his goose gaggles last year and is tripling them this year.

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

By Mike Bellamente | Dec 16, 2015 | in

As I search for the tone that will no doubt act as the all-important first impression to many Green Alliance friends and supporters, I am at once hopeful of where the GA is heading and more than a little bummed by the departure of my dear friend, Sarah Brown.

As I am sure many of you will agree, Sarah is the Green Alliance, and it’s hard to imagine the organization without her passion and dynamic personality. To that end, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Sarah for the community of like-minded people she has established over the last seven years. I hope you will join me in raising a glass to the indelible legacy she leaves behind, while wishing her nothing but success in wherever her journey leads from here.

Less like an Acorn, More like a Giving Tree

By Mike Bellamente | Dec 15, 2015 | in

Local Preschool puts Nature and Giving at the Center of its Mission

Who or what a child becomes as an adult can often be tied directly to their upbringing. Their roots, so to speak. At the Acorn School in Stratham, New Hampshire, this is precisely why it is so important to instill values such as environmental consciousness and community giving into the little minds attending school every day. “We really focus on acts of kindness and generosity in our little universe,” says Crystal Hardy, Acorn School Board Member, “It’s important for us to reinforce the same value structure that they’re being taught at home.” Perhaps this is why, when the holiday season arrives each year, the Acorn School sets its sights on spreading their own brand of joy through a series of events focused on giving back to the community. 

Calling Mr. Bingle.  “Who” you ask? For those not as well-versed on the operational intricacies of the North Pole, Mr. Bingle is the caretaker and chief stall-mucker for all of Santa’s reindeer. While he doesn’t necessarily maintain the same high profile of his bearded, jolly ol’ boss, Mr. Bingle is an annual staple among the students at the Acorn School. Each year, Acorn, in partnership with the Exeter Adult Education program, work with Mr. Bingle and these young philanthropists on a community gift-giving effort that provides over 200 gifts, in the form of blankets, hats and gloves, to people in need throughout the community. The children, in turn, are each bestowed a bell from Mr. Bingle as a Thank You for their kindness.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving All Year Long!

By Katelyn | Dec 14, 2015 | in

How is your holiday shopping going? Are you at a loss of ideas for your environmentally conscious friend? Or have you spent far too much money and need a way to save? A Green Alliance membership makes the perfect gift for friends, family, or yourself, and right now a membership is only $20!

Join the Green Alliance as a new member, with a one year membership for $20 (regularly $35) and you (or the recipient) will get access to great deals and events throughout the year. A Green Alliance membership is not a onetime gift to be enjoyed during the holiday season, but instead a gift that keeps on giving for a whole year.

Members receive discounts at 100 local and sustainable businesses that aim to be more environmentally friendly while producing reliable goods and services. The wide variety of Business Partners means that every new member is sure to find a use for their Green Card.

Futuro Construction Builds an Energy Efficient "Passive House" in Newmarket

By Katelyn | Dec 13, 2015 | in

By Josh Rosenson

In Newmarket New Hampshire a “Passive House” is nearing its completion date as a Portsmouth based construction firm puts on the finishing touches.

Futuro Construction specializes in building high performance residential homes. This forward thinking company has been in business since 2011, and is continually pushing the boundaries by taking energy efficiency and sustainability to a whole new standard.

Since the company’s inception they have focused their efforts on a net-zero concept, which is a self-sustaining method essentially meaning that a home should produce as much energy as it consumes. Futuro’s newest project in Newmarket takes this concept even one step further by building what is called a “Passive House.”

A passive house takes into consideration the quality, comfort, and energy efficiency of a home. Matt Silva, general manager of Futuro, said that they are able to achieve this new standard by making the home more “airtight.”

“The aim is for almost zero air exchange that isn’t managed by the mechanical systems of the home which exchange fresh air into the home,” he said. “As a result, the home owner will not only be more comfortable, but the amount of energy their home consumes will become extremely minimal.”

Conservation, Construction, and Community

By Katelyn | Dec 13, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Living in a well-built space that’s just the right size. Being within walking distance to amenities. Knowing neighbors by name. “When it comes to choosing a home, traditional values are making a comeback,” says Jen Chinburg, Marketing Director for Chinburg Properties, the 30-year-old development and construction firm. “There’s a real interest in returning to priorities-driven, thoughtfully-constructed, community-based residences, downtown and beyond.”

Newmarket-based Chinburg Properties worked with its hometown on two developments to infuse tradition into modern living: Newmarket Mills, a downtown mix of rental apartments and commercial space, and Rockingham Green, a lifestyle community just minutes from the town’s center. “These developments have changed the way people look at Newmarket, and the way the people of Newmarket look at themselves,” says Steve Fournier, Newmarket Town Manager. “I am a New Hampshire seacoast native. When I was growing up, Newmarket was known mainly as a depressed mill town that provided inexpensive housing for students at UNH. Today, thanks in part to these developments, Newmarket is one of the hottest markets in the area.”

Apartment Living Grows Up, Goes Green, and Gets Connected

Newmarket Manufacturing Company constructed its first mill in Newmarket nearly 200 years ago, harnessing the power of the Lamprey River for textile production. Several mills were added during the century that followed and, during peak production, more than 700 were employed. The company closed in 1929 and the mills housed various tenants over the years, including Sam Smith Shoe Co. and Timberland. Though the mills dominated downtown, and long symbolized the town’s industriousness, they steadily fell into disrepair and, by the 1990s, became solemn reminders of Newmarket’s prosperous past.

Integrated Fitness Issues Health Challenge

By Katelyn | Dec 13, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69% of Americans age 20 years or older are overweight or obese. Yet, despite a booming diet industry and annual New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, that percentage is expected to reach 75% by 2020.

“It’s time for a different approach to weight loss,” said Jon Arnold, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Dover LLC. “Instead of going it alone or trying yet another fad diet, we encourage people to improve their health by losing weight through building muscle and eating better. That can be easier said than done, of course. So, for the last six years, we’ve held a semiannual Integrated Fitness Weightloss Challenge; it’s a unique, team-based program that really works.”

The next 10-week program begins January 11, 2016 at both Integrated Fitness locations, on Dover Point Road in Dover, NH and at Epping Commons on Calef Highway in Epping, NH.

“All participants are grouped into teams to compete together and this approach, though uncommon, is very important to participant success,” said Susan Brisson, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Epping.

Hungry Like the Wolf; Natural Pet Store Offers Healthy and Raw Alternatives

By Katelyn | Dec 12, 2015 | in

By Craig Robert Brown

Not long ago many pet owners purchased whatever food was affordable, often in economy packs of cans or large bags. The thought being, especially with dogs, that they’ll eat anything, with little consideration given to ingredients.

But as humans reconsider their own dietary habits, it’s apparent that pets should also eat a varied diet of healthy foods and not just kibble stuffed with filler by-products. For dogs especially, consuming foods rich in protein harkens back to their ancestral habits.

“Just like how we encourage ourselves to eat, or our families to eat, for our pets we want to look for foods that are less processed, that are free from chemicals and additives and colorings and artificial ingredients,” says Dawn Price, a registered dietician who has worked in the pet food industry since 2002. “Unfortunately, when foods get in the hands of these large companies that use those [artificial] ingredients, that’s what ends up getting put into some foods.”

Spruce Creek Woodworks Born Out of Business Common Sense and Sustainability

By Katelyn | Dec 11, 2015 | in

By Josh Rosenson

Chris Redmond and Jeff Stacy launched Little Green Homes (LGH) in 2007. In the fall of 2014, they recognized a need for and added a custom cabinetry and woodworking shop at their Greenland space called Spruce Creek Woodworks (SCW).

Redmond said LGH was running into too many complications with cabinet orders. Whether they were issues with lead times, deliveries or imperfections in the cabinets, the problems persisted. Enter the SCW solution.

SCW was built out of the love of craftsmanship, creativity, and the feel of doing something right.

“Many of our projects consist of kitchen renovations, we’ve also built new kitchens, and have had requests for custom built-ins and our clients could select their cabinetry from many different sources, but typically out of our area. Too many times, the products would arrive and we’d find that the finish wasn’t great or the piece wouldn’t fit,” Redmond explained. “We recognized the value in producing and offering these same pieces, but better quality and made locally, by us. This was a huge benefit for all parties.”

Newmarket Dental: A Leader in Green Dentistry

By Katelyn | Dec 10, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

Nate Swanson was trained to be a dentist but his green epiphany was prompted by a simple observation: it was all about the trash.

In Swanson’s case it was medical trash piled up in a back room of a dental practice he worked at years ago. He took a close look for the first time at what he was seeing and it reminded him of a movie scene. “The situation was reminiscent of the trash compactor in Star Wars,” Swanson said. “I thought of the other offices in the same complex, the number of complexes on that road, and so on… it was insane to think of the waste being generated. I thought there had to be a better way.”

Almost a decade after he purchased Newmarket Dental, Swanson has scripted a green approach to dentistry. In the process, he has created a working homage to both sustainability and the bottom line. “If there’s a green option that’s not ridiculously more expensive, I will take it,” said Swanson, a dental school graduate of The Ohio State University who moved to New England from the Midwest in 2002. “We have proven that patients appreciate what we are doing and it typically improves the overall quality of their care.”

Save Money This Winter with a Free Heating System from Aucella Heating and Cooling

By Katelyn | Dec 10, 2015 | in

Having an efficient home heating system is key for comfortable temperatures, and Aucella Heating & Cooling wants to ensure your comfort this holiday season, throughout the long winter, and for many years to come. Once again, Aucella is giving away a free heating system ($5,000 value) to a local family; enter before December 21 for your chance to win!

The contest is for owner occupied, single family homes and entrants must be adults and legal residents of New Hampshire. Entrants must also be homeowners and fully empowered to make purchase and home improvement decisions regarding their residence. Homes entered must be located within the Aucella Heating and Cooling service area, which is Strafford County and Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

Entries will be qualified by the owners of Aucella Heating and Cooling before entered into the random drawing. The entrant must have an existing heating system that is at least 15 years old and include a brief description of why the entrant would benefit from receiving a free heating system. Entrants may enter themselves or someone else as long as they inform the other person of the entry.

Local Bottler and Recycling Organization Team Up to Tackle Glass Recycling Problem

By Katelyn | Dec 7, 2015 | in

By Josh Rosenson

Bedford – A partnership between a large NH company and a state-wide non-profit has the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE) and New Hampshire the Beautiful (NHtB) leading the way in helping to solve the growing problem of recycling glass products.

Ray Dube, sustainability manager for CCNNE, is also a member of the NHtB Board of Directors. He summed up the glass recycling problem – an issue he says people are often shocked to learn exists – as consisting of two main challenges; public insistence on glass for certain products and the incredibly costly process of transporting and then recycling it.

The challenge glass poses begins with the marketplace, because while most vendors have been trying to move away from glass, they immediately run up against consumer preference for glass. CCNNE, for example, uses glass for less than one percent of its products. But the liquor industry, in particular beer and wine purveyors, continues to struggle to sell products that are not in glass bottles after decades of the perception that glass holds a more quality product.

But while consumers have come to expect certain liquids in glass containers, most don’t realize just how costly glass can be, and just how much glass can add to the carbon footprint of a product. Dube explains. “The first part of the problem is the weight of the bottles on the trucks for transport,” adding that about half of each truck carrying glass bottles is empty due to weight limits on highways. While trucks can only be half-filled with glass, a truck can be filled full with plastic bottles.

900 Degrees of Giving Back to the Community

By Katelyn | Dec 5, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

The award-winning 900 Degrees Neopolitan Pizzerias restaurants in Manchester and Epping have already gained recognition for consumer popularity and for leadership in green business practices. But owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau said that giving back to the community has been a core of the business she started in 2007 and the program of Raising Dough has been a success that has benefited hundreds of large and small organizations.

“The main reason we started it is that it’s wonderful to connect with people who support 900 Degrees everyday,” Lane-Rondeau said. “It’s one of the cool things about owning a restaurant, the ability to give back to the community on a whole new level.”

Recently, 900 Degrees hosted an evening fund-raiser in Epping for the Mark Kay Foundation, the national organization which was founded in 1996 and dedicated to eliminating women’s cancers and domestic abuse. The organization has awarded more than $60 million to various programs over the past two decades. Though the 900 Degrees proceeds for the event were modest in comparison, Lane-Rondeau said that the reasons for all the events boil down to simple formula.

“We raise awareness and money for great causes and our customers have a great time and a great meal,” she said. “So many groups have reached out to us and they are usually over the moon with how the events have turned out. They have really taken charge with publicity and spreading the word.”

Integrated Fitness Offers Course for Aspiring Personal Trainers

By Katelyn | Dec 4, 2015 | in

Do you have a love for fitness and always dreamed of becoming a personal trainer? Well here is your chance. Jonathan Arnold, Founder and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Dover and Epping, introduces his new program “So You Want to be a Trainer?.” This weekend course is designed to help both those new to personal training and those looking to build a better business.

Jon Arnold will explain how he became a top trainer in the field and how he was able to leave his traditional gym job paying only $11 per hour to running a personal training business that thrives from personal training and fitness programs! The success of Integrated Fitness of Dover has led to the development of multiple fitness facility locations and aided a handful of personal trainers in the development of their own successful and profitable personal training businesses.

Integrated Fitness is a fitness facility focused on whole body wellness and aims to help clients not only lose weight, but also build muscle, develop better nutrition habits, and meet their own personal goals.

Give a Green Alliance Membership for Only $20 or Keep it for Yourself!

By Katelyn | Dec 2, 2015 | in

The holiday season is in full swing and many of us are contemplating what to get for those hard to shop for people on our lists. A membership with the Green Alliance is the perfect present for environmentally conscious friends and family members and will allow them to take advantage discounts all year long with their new membership. Or buy one for yourself to take care of all your shopping needs with the $20 discounted membership!

A Green Alliance membership is not a onetime gift to be enjoyed during the holiday season, but instead a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Members receive discounts at 100 local and sustainable businesses that aim to be more environmentally friendly while producing reliable goods and services. The wide variety of Business Partners means that every new member is sure to find a use for their Green Card.

A GA membership is an affordable gift for everyone on your list, and for the discounted price of $20 (regularly $35), it is sure to pay for itself over and over.