Table of Contents | Appendix
Alabama - Maine
Land Assistance Fund
Contact: Gus Townes, Director; Rural Training and Research Center; P.O.
Box 95; Epes, AL 35460; Tel: (205) 652-9676
Inception Date: 1971
Participants: Cooperatives, individuals, farmers
Project Type: Environmental justice/equity, sustainable agriculture,
community economic development
Methods Used: Training, cooperative development
Lessons Learned: It is difficult for organizations to conduct long term
planning when the funding available to them may change considerably from
year to year. Family farmers can make a living if they have access to the
right skills and resources.
Since 1967, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance
Fund has organized a multi-racial, community-based cooperative economic
movement among 25,000 low income families in over 100 communities throughout
the rural South. Through its efforts, the Federation and its 125 member
cooperatives and credit unions have worked to generate new income, jobs,
services, training, awareness and a spirit of self-help and change for
people in some of the most persistently poverty-stricken rural counties
in the United States.
The cooperative movement
The Federation itself is a cooperative that is composed of both organizational
and individual members. Nearly all of the member cooperatives were originally
founded by the Federation and then spun off as separate organizations.
Cooperative members in Alabama include the Freedom Quilting Bee, the Tuskegee
Panola Land Buying Association, the Prichard Claiborne Catfish Cooperative,
and the York Marengo County Farmers Association.
The mission of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives is two-fold:
One, to help poor people help themselves. Two, to adapt the classic cooperative
principlesmembership, one person-one vote, benefits returned according
to use and participation, limited returns on investment, constant education
and constant expansionto solving the problems of poor black farmers and
Helping black farmers stay on the land
The Federation is the leading group in the nation actively involved
with the problems of land loss and displacement of family farmers of color.
Black farmers are still losing land at an alarming rate in the South, although
in the counties where the Federation is active they have significantly
reduced the rate of loss.
According to the Federation, land retention is the key to rural economic
development, especially for African-Americans. There are few other viable
options for residents, especially young people, in the rural south. Furthermore,
when land is lost by farmers and developed for other uses the results often
include negative environmental impacts.
In 1993-94, the Federation provided direct land retention assistance
to over two hundred landowners who owned a combined total of over 24,000
acres of land. Of that amount, they were able to save nearly 17,500 acres
that have a conservative value of $8.75 million. The Federation also held
over 400 community meetings and workshops across the rural South for more
than 5,000 small family farmers who collectively own over 300,000 acres.
Strengthening and connecting rural and urban communities
The Rural/Urban Market Program helps black farmers retain their land
by providing them with a source of consistent income. The program connects
rural farmers lacking access to markets with residents in inner cities
where quality, fresh, nutritious produce is not always available for a
In 1994, approximately 800 family farmers from throughout the South
and 200 farmers in Alabama participated in the Rural to Urban Direct Marketing
Project. Participating farmers sold over $300,000 in produce through Rural/Urban
markets throughout the south. In addition, many of the markets provided
part-time jobs for youths and other community residents.
The Federation also organizes farmers to participate in selling to commercial
markets. In 1994, over $1.4 million in produce was sold to commercial markets.
Many of the farmers that the Federation works with have been organic farmers
for years but did not know that they could make more money by marketing
their crops as organic. The Federation is showing farmers how to shift
from chemical-based to sustainable farming and how to market organic agricultural
Community owned and controlled banking
The Federation's five credit unions in Alabama have combined assets
of over $700,000, over 2,200 members and have made nearly $6 million in
loans. During 1994, a new community development credit union, the Stillman
Community Federal Credit Union in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama was chartered
by the National Credit Union Administration. During its first week of operation,
$60,000 was deposited by new members. The Federation is currently applying
for charters for five more credit unions in Alabama.
Unlike conventional banks, credit unions are controlled by their members.
Depositors elect the members of the board and the different committees
that govern the credit unions. The Federation's credit unions make loans
to people in the community who often cannot get loans from other sources.
According to Gus Townes, Director of the Federation's Rural Training and
Research Center, "The credit unions are not only financial institutions
but also are vehicles to pull people together and force them to plan about
community issues and organize around other issues."
Cooperative training and leadership development
In 1971, the Federation established the Rural Training Center on almost
1,000 acres near Epes in Sumter County, Alabama. The Center provides training
to individual and cooperative members in the following areas:
Cooperative Economic Development,
Operation and Management of Credit Unions,
Specific skill areas for Agricultural, Handicraft and Consumer
Housing production, development, rehabilitation and weatherization,
Youth development and leadership,
Business development and loan packaging,
Community organizing and development,
Approximately 30 people each month and 350 to 400 people each year will
be trained at the Center when renovations are completed in late 1995.
Rural Enterprise Community (EC)
Greene and Sumter Counties in Alabama were among 30 rural areas designated
as federal Enterprise Communities based on a proposal submitted earlier
in the year by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives on behalf of the
county governments and community groups.
The Federation will serve as the lead agency in administering approximately
three million dollars in EC funds. Three flexible funds will be established
with $2.6 million:_a Revolving Loan and Equity Investment Fund ($1.5 million),
an Infrastructure Investment Fund ($500,000) and an Education, Training
and Supportive Services Fund ($600,000) to facilitate moving the EC area
forward in a positive direction.
The primary purpose of the Enterprise Community is to provide business
opportunities and create 1,000 jobs over 10 years in Sumter and Greene
Counties, as well as to provide infrastructure funds to rural towns in
the two county area.
Consistent funding a problem
According to Gus Townes, the biggest barrier to the Federation's success
is consistent funding. "Getting people to understand exactly what our mission
is and getting funding on a consistent basis, those are our challenges.
We never have been able to get a substantial amount of funding for five
or ten years. If we knew we would have funding for the next five or ten
years, we wouldn't have to cut corners and we could hire sufficient staff."
The Federation is attempting to overcome this problem by moving toward
greater reliance on self-generated resources from its membership and from
the communities it serves.
Showing farmers how to be successful
The Federation has a history of showing small family farmers how they
can make a living and stay on their land.
"The challenge is how to take a farmer and move him from point a to
point b," says Gus Townes. "We've been doing the same thing for almost
thirty years. What we have done demonstrates the need for this kind of
thing and that if a person really wants to do something they can with
the right resources. If a farmer really wants to farm and make money and
hold onto his land, there's a way to do that."
Alaska Citizen Initiatives
Sitka and Wrangell, Alaska
Contacts: Sitka- Larry Edwards; P.O. Box 6000; Sitka, Alaska 99835;
Tel.: (907) 747-8996
Wrangell- Bob Gorman, District Agent; Alaska Cooperative Extension Service;
1297 Seward Avenue; Sitka, Alaska 99835; Tel.: (907) 747-6065
Inception Date: Sitka -1993 Wrangell - 1991;
Participants: Townspeople, fishermen, loggers, Native Americans;
Project Type: Citizen-led initiatives, natural resource conservation,
local business development;
Methods Used: Public education, local organizing and planning, collaboration
with other jurisdictions;
Lessons Learned: Public processes need to be inclusive. Anticipatory
planning works best. Participatory processes help citizens develop new
The town of Sitka, located in southeast Alaska on the coast of Baranof
Island, was the first capital of Alaska. This deep water port of 8500 residents
is set against a backdrop of mountains to the east and Sitka Sound to the
west. Many on this island and neighboring islands rely on the bay and the
forests for their subsistence. Other residents depended on employment at
a local pulp mill. For years, it was the town's largest single employer
of 400 people.
Two years ago, the Alaska Pulp plant was closed down. Local officials
and residents alike feared the worst, anticipating economic collapse and
high unemployment. The city administration took a traditional route in
devising an economic recovery plan. It formed a task force and held meetings
to decide what the future of the community might be and to develop a set
of recommendations, which included attracting another large employer.
In contrast, the reaction of many citizens proved to be quite different.
Initially they too were concerned about the loss of the mill on their jobs
and Sitka's economic future. As time went on, they became more interested
in developing an economy that was more diverse as well as environmentally
sound. They wanted more small businesses employing a few employees rather
than large single businesses that might have an adverse affect on the environment.
Recent economic trends
Despite the initial gloomy predictions from local officials after the
mill closed, the town has continued to prosper tax revenues are $85,000
higher than expected, housing starts are up, business revenues and startups
have increased, land values are higher, and job creation is strong as evidenced
by the public health hospital planned expansion with new jobs for 160 people.
Although the timber industry is declining, other economic areas are expanding.
Tourism is now a billion dollar per year industry in Alaska and an important
part of Sitka's economy. Small businesses, health care and especially construction
are growing. Since the plant was closed, air and water quality have improved
In early 1994 a citizens comprehensive plan was developed to help citizens
envision their future and make recommendations to the City Council. It
has informally prompted a series of citizen action steps.
Many citizens are seeking a diversified economy that produces jobs while
protecting the environment. They emphasize the need for:
are looking at examples of businesses that are, according to Kathie
Wasserman, the director of a new marketing alliance for value-added products,
"forest-related, not timber-dependent." It would correspond to the work
of WoodNet, located in Washington state, which supports a collaborative
effort among artists, artisans and timber interests. Other examples of
value-added enterprises would include a company in Vancouver that produces
wooden outdoor furniture and has created 20 jobs using as little as 500,000
board feet per year.
One of the grassroots organizations, Friends of Southeast's Future,
is taking steps to insure that sustainable logging practices are employed.
They have drafted, circulated and presented the town's first citizens'
initiative, scheduled for inclusion on the ballot this fall, which will
call for a change in timber extraction practices. Specifically, it calls
for an end to clearcutting and to all comparable logging methods in the
"Sitka Local Use Area" in order to prevent habitat destruction.
Maintaining ecosystems and protecting habitat is especially important
for natives and non-natives alike who subsist on game and fish. The livelihood
of commercial fishermen is at stake as well. They catch as much as 800,000
pounds of salmon each year and are equally dependent on maintaining a clean
environment. Any major impact, such as deforestation, affects their survival.
This wholly grassroots effort has taken this initiative directly to
the people of Sitka and has been effective in publicizing it in the local
paper, on radio and television spots, and through word of mouth. They are
persuaded that this effort is critical to assuring a sustainable future
for their community.
Citizens from all walks of life have gathered signatures from their
neighbors, in stores, at schools and even from fellow fishermen on the
water, in numbers far more numerous than required by law. If the initiative
receives a majority of votes, it will have legal authority.
This initiative and the process citizens are employing is proving to
be an inspiration for other small communities in Southeast Alaska such
as Craig, Elfin Cove, Gustavus, Hoonah, Kiawock, Kupreanof, Pelican, Tenakee
Springs, Yakutat, and the Haida Tribe/Hydaburg Cooperative Association.
They are also developing resolutions, with similar emphasis, for adoption
in their jurisdictions.
The potential loss of a saw mill, which in fact closed in 1994, also
prompted this fishing and timbering town of 2,300 located at the middle
of the Panhandle in Southeast Alaska to reexamine its future. Local townspeople
came together to address their needs and to develop a plan that was different
from their traditional reliance on logging.
Beginning in 1991, a series of strategic planning meetings were held
involving a broad cross-section of the townspeople from business, government,
fishing, health care facilities, schools, the former mill, and from native
tribes. This effort was coordinated by Bob Gorman, district agent for the
Alaskan Cooperative Extension Service and Keene Kohrt, Wrangell district
Ranger for the US Forest Service.
The goal of these meetings was to encourage the expression of the vision
and ideas of the stakeholders. They attracted a large number of residents
with diverse points of view. After the first year of meetings, in order
to gather a wider input of opinions, the organizers solicited views through
a community survey on economic, infrastructure, and socio-economic issues.
Some of the issues the respondents considered as priorities were ways
to enhance the fishing industry, maintain timber interests, provide education
for all, expand the visitors' center, and improve the infrastructure. The
discussion ground rules were clearly presented to insure respect and full
consideration of all views. The main recommendations include:
opportunities for small businesses engaged in value-added specialty
a unified approach to dealing with naturalresource issues;
support services for the fishing industry to encourage fishermen
and fish processors to stay in Wrangell.
Apart from developing the action plan of economic diversification focusing
on timber, fishing, tourism, and a strengthened infrastructure for fisheries,
they convinced the City Council to hire an economic development planner
to help implement the plan. Another benefit for the community was a generation
trained in leadership and facilitating skills. They learned the importance
of working together, developing consensus, and thinking long-term. Bob
Gorman stated the most important aspect of this effort, and that of Sitka,
has been the process.
The residents of both Sitka and Wrangell have chosen to take an active
part in rebuilding their economy in ways that look at the long-term health
of their communities. These are new concepts and ones that require the
participation of all the stakeholders. Perhaps the greatest challenge in
Sitka is finding consensus on its economic future. Wrangell faces a similar
situation but rebuilding a solid economic base may take more time. As a
result of both these planning processes the future will reflect the vision
of many rather than a few.
Civano-tucson solar village
Contact: John Laswick, Project Manager; City of Tucson; Tel.: (520)
791-5093; Fax: (520) 791-5413; Office of Economic Development; P.O. Box
27210; Tucson, AZ 85726-7210
Scope: Local, urban
Inception Date: 1989
Participants: Local, county, state and federal government agencies,
key utilities, citizens groups and individuals, and a university
Project Type: Community design, energy efficiency, green building
Methods Used: Multi-stakeholder process with extensive involvement of
public and private agencies and organizations in an innovative planning
process; preparation of master development plan and zoning ordinance revisions,
preparation of performance targets, selection of master developer, provision
for community monitoring of performance.
Lessons Learned: The lack of a full-time advocate for the project has
slowed down its progress.
Summary of Project
The Civano Tucson Solar Village (Civano) is a major real estate development
that will be built using the principles of sustainable development and
traditional neighborhood design. Planned for 820 acres (owned by the Arizona
State Land Department within the southeastern city limits of Tucson, Arizona),
Civano is intended to be an exemplary demonstration of cost-effective,
resource-efficient development practices, where energy use and waste will
be reduced while economic efficiency is increased. The overarching goal
of the Civano project is to demonstrate the marketability of sustainable
community design, on a large scale at affordable prices. Specific objectives
build a model sustainable community for an arid climate;
use sun energy, conserve water, use land efficiently, reduce waste
products and conserve time;
promote a sense of community and place; and
demonstrate that conservation can be both economic-ally viable
and socially relevant.
The village is planned around a compact core with a full mix of employment
opportunities, shops, services and recreational activities. Both homes
and multi-family dwellings will be built and will accommodate persons with
a wide range of incomes.
Broad Public / Private Partnership Creates Civano
Civano was originally a joint project of the Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan
Energy Commission and the State of Arizona Energy Office. The project is
currently being managed by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Development.
Active planning for the project began in 1989 and involved the creation
of a Master Development Plan presented in February 1992. It is expected
that the state land will be sold during the Fall of 1995 to a private master
developer, who will agree to the designated performance standards. Zoning
is approved for the project. Civano was planned in a highly cooperative
framework of public, private, and community interests at the local, state
and national levels. Organizations involved in the process, past and present,
include: City of Tucson (key agencies), Civano Advisory Committee (composed
of 16 community advocates and business people), citizens groups and representatives
of Metropolitan Tucson, the U.S. Department of Energy's Urban Consortium
Task Force, Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Solar Energy Advisory
Council, Environmental Research Lab, Greater Tucson Economic Council, National
Research Center, National Association of Home Builders, Pima County, P&D
Technologies, Community Design Associates, The Planning Center, Public
Technologies Inc., Sandia National Labs, Southern Arizona Home Builders
Association, Tucson Local Development Corporation, Tucson Electric Power,
University of Arizona, Greater Tucson Economic Council, County Wastewater
Management, Sun Tran, Pima Association of Government, and Southwest Gas.
Key to the Civano Village concept are the performance targets developed
for the village. The original targets, as expressed in the 1992 Master
Plan, are to:
reduce energy consumption by 75%;
reduce the consumption of water by 65%;
reduce the production of solid waste by 90%;
reduce air pollution by 40%;
provide one job for every two residential units built;
limit auto access by developing an internal transporta-tion circulation
pattern that encourages pedestrian and bicycle, or (with permit) electric
golf cart; and
provide affordable housing within the village.
In 1994, updated performance targets and the requirements/guidelines
for meeting them were developed for the city by a team of leading U.S.
environmental specialists, Criterion Planners/ Engineers and McKeever/Morris,
Inc. of Portland, Ore., and their subcontractor, the Center for Maximum
Potential Building Systems of Austin, Texas. The teams approach is referred
to as the IMPACT system (Integrated Method of Performance and Contribution
Tracking), which is a means of organizing resource efficiency goals and
stakeholder cooperation for sustainable community development, and for
measuring progress toward those goals over time. The general goals for
the targets are presented, for the most part, in terms of "reducing (energy,
water, etc.) demands beneath Metropolitan Tucson baseline levels." Specific
detail is presented for each. In the case of energy, targets are broken
down according to building type. The goals and targets will be updated
every two years.
Each goal is accompanied by building requirements designed to help achieve
the performance target. A sampling of requirements (as worded) in the plan,
Street and lots are to be designed so that all structures can
be oriented to optimize solar exposure;
Landscape and hardscape coloration and vegetation is to be used
to reduce microclimate temperatures adjacent to buildings. The average
reflectivity of all major exterior surfaces must be 0.5 or greater on the
Consideration will be given to district heating and cooling of
the Villages high-density core areas; and
All landscape irrigation will be accomplished with non-potable
water and / or rain harvesting.
In summary, the guidelines also require the:
use of solar technologies in building construction, including
the use of shading, daylighting, and high performance windows.
layout of the village and the design of individual buildings that
anticipates the future economic use of photovoltaic energy generation;
a land set-aside for a photovoltaic field and using building designs that
can accommodate solar equipment in the future.
use of city xeriscaping standards in the village to save water;
the use of high-efficiency irrigation systems, normally located below grade,
and the use of water conservation standards for fixtures and appliances.
developers to contribute to the reduction of solid waste by providing
land that is set-aside for a Recycling Center and community composting
facility; builders to provide recycling separation areas and hazardous
material storage in private homes; and the use of recycled building materials
and recycled materials in roadway and pathway construction wherever possible.
limited use of automobiles to reduce air pollution by: using through
streets rather than cul-de-sacs; requiring all streets to have either sidewalks
or parallel bike or multi-purpose paths; locating retail services and employment
areas near residences; creating residential and commercial areas that are
pedestrian-friendly, with tree canopies, benches, and signage; the use
of bicycles and electric carts; siting recharging stations for electric
vehicles within the village; and, providing a shuttle service from the
village to the nearest transit stop or park and ride lot.
emphasis on local employment, with the requirement that a percentage
of commercial space be constructed for every residential unit (the goal
is that the local business district employ a minimum of 1200 people). Builders
are encouraged to provide home office spaces in residential units with
appropriate space, daylighting, and electrical connections.
wide mix of housing types, including multi-family housing, in
the core area closest to the central commercial area, with the overall
requirement is that 20% of the units be priced for low-income households.
The methods that have been developed to achieve the environmental performance
goals are the most innovative aspect of this ambitious program. The Civano
Community Association (CCA), to be composed of future village residents,
and its CCA Development Review Committee, will share the responsibility
with the City of Tucson for monitoring and approving builder performance
in meeting the standards. The "Performance Target Compliance Workbook,"
based upon the "Measurement and Implementation Plan," is intended to help
land developers and builders achieve the goals and targets of Civano. It
will also be used by the City of Tucson and the Civano Community Association
to check compliance and determine whether land development and building
permits should be granted. The city is working with educational institutions,
utility companies and industry associations to develop an educational program
that will be used as part of a process to certify builders and designers
for work on Civano and to meet its performance standards. The city also
plans to make this program available to other construction projects anywhere
in the Tucson area, on a voluntary basis, as soon as possible.
Making Vision a Reality
The development of this visionary project has spanned six years, and
is going into its seventh. The plan called for the sale of the land to
a master developer a year ago, which did not materialize: The states goal
to get top dollar for the land may be a barrier to finding a buyer. The
project, which hit a lull as a result, is moving forward once again. The
city's Office of Economic Development has ordered a new marketing study,
is developing a high quality advertising brochure to meet the needs of
potential master developers, builders, and consumers, and is completing
the review and approval of the performance standards, with the goal of
finding a buyer/master developer in the Fall of 1995.
Meadowcreek local food project
Contact: Gary Valen, Executive Director; Meadowcreek, Inc.; 1 Meadowcreek
Lane; P.O. Box 100; Fox, AK 72051; Tel.: (501) 363-4500; Fax: (501) 363-4578
Scope: Local/county, urban/rural
Inception Date: 1986
Participants: Farmers, gardeners, livestock producers, food service
oerators, local consumers, transportation operators, canning kitchen and
restaurant workers, local governments, service clubs, non-profits and Chambers
Project Type: Economic development, food production, value added business,
Methods Used: Demonstration projects, education, training
Lessons Learned: The need for cooperation among producers and consumers
to overcome institutional barriers; inflexible bidding requirements keep
state school from participating.
Summary of Project
The Meadowcreek Local Food Project links institutional food services
(such as cafeterias or restaurants) to local sources of food. It utilizes
a holistic and comprehensive approach, based on sustainable community development
principles. The overarching objectives of the program are rural community
revival and the reestablishment of food production as a meaningful, profitable,
and desirable occupation. Goals of the program are to:
provide occupations for rural people
connect consumers with persons who grow food in the local community;
promote agricultural methods that are healthy to the consumer,
environmentally-sensitive, and humane to farm animals and wildlife;
empower institutions with food service operations to support community
development through the purchase of food items from local sources; and
feature local food items in area supermarkets, food outlets, and
The benefits derived from Local Food Projects include:
fresher, healthier sources of food for food-service patrons;
new markets for farmers, which help sustain the small- farm way
new partnerships among groups within the community; and
an infusion of money into the local economy, money that can be
reinvested in the community many times over.
The project sponsor, Meadowcreek, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Its outreach programs focus on sustainable community development, environmental
concepts and practices, and alternative energy strategies and implementation.
Headquartered in the Ozark Mountains, its facilities serve as an education
and conference center. On its 1500 acres, Meadowcreek also demonstrates
local food production, environmentally sensitive lifestyles, alternative
energy methods, and rural community development. Meadowcreek, Inc., derives
most of its income from the use of its facilities for conferences, retreats,
and youth programs. The use of its own food products provides an income
from the garden as well as from the food operation. It received major financial
support (which is currently winding down) for three years from the Kerr
Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma. A portion of the Local
Food Project is sustained by the everyday activities at Meadowcreek. The
projects described belowHendrix College and the Leslie community projectreceived,
or are receiving initial sponsorship from private foundations, the Rural
Economic and Community Development Services of USDA, and private donations.
The Hendrix project is self-sustaining. The Leslie project is designed
to be so within three years.
College Supports Local Economic Development
In 1986, Meadowcreek, in cooperation with Hendrix College in Conway,
Ark., began a collaboration that led the college to establish the Hendrix
Local Food Project. Students, as part of a campus wellness program, focused
on student nutrition and conducted a study that gathered information on
the sources of the food served at Hendrix. They discovered that wholesalers
filled campus food orders with products obtained from across the United
States and Mexico, with only seven percent of the cafeterias meal items
coming from Arkansas. Meat, vegetables, and dairy products came from long
distances, even though such commodities were produced within a few miles
of the campus. Hendrix, a private, four-year liberal arts college, is "committed
to encouraging not only the intellectual development of the state's young
people, but also the economic development of its home community and the
state as a whole."
So the administration took the position that commodities produced locally
were preferred to those produced outside the state and, in June 1987, directed
the food service to buy its food supplies as close to home as possible.
Challenges Met With a Variety of Strategies
Following through on this good intention presented some immediate challenges,
including a kitchen that was organized and equipped to use mainly processed
foods, and farmers that weren't prepared to supply products in the form
and amounts needed by an institutional food service. Local foods were actually
more expensive, especially if they carried the "organic" label. Students
raised on fast foods (common meal choices in the modern era of working
families, shopping malls, and large institutional foods operations) had
to readjust their tastes. These barriers required strategies to educate
the producers, consumers, and meal preparers. New systems and procedures
had to be developed to facilitate the use of local commodities. The Hendrix
Local Food Project was successfully created to meet those needs. The project
was directed by a coordinator and a small advisory group so that problems
could be addressed and new ideas incorporated. Strategies implemented included:
preparing menu plans that utilized food from local producers;
preparing a list of menu items at the beginning of the season
so the farmers could adjust their production to a known market;
designating one farmer as the delivery person so that the local
produce arrived on one day each week at the food service; and
labeling menu items so the students would know what came from
local sources, as well as nutritional information.
The college, with the advice and help of Meadowcreek, was able to bring
its utilization of local food from seven percent to thirty percent in three
years. As a result, over $200,000 in food-generated revenues were spent
in the local community each year. The yield would have been higher if permanent
distribution systems and more farmers could have been added. The Hendrix
Local Food Project, while it is still in effect, is challenged by the lack
of a community-based supply system and the failure, as of yet, to gain
support from other institutions in the same area. A state school in the
same community is unable to utilize local produce due to a complicated
bid structure mandated by state government. Although the Hendrix Local
Food Project experienced success, projects at several other colleges have
remained less successful at overcoming the barriers of food service personnel
resistance, distribution problems, and the lack of producers who can supply
commodities at the times and in the ways that are useful to institutional
dining operations. College administrators tend to view their dining halls
as auxiliary services that have little relationship with educational missions.
Most institutions hire outside vendors who have special relationships with
large food distribution companies. Local farmers seldom gain access to
these nationally organized markets. To be successful, local food projects
require an interdisciplinary/cross-sectoral team approach. In the case
of Hendrix, the team included the college's administration, the food-service's
administration, kitchen staff, patrons (students, faculty, staff), funding
agencies, rural development leaders, agricultural extension service agents
and farmers and farmer groups. Students were integral to the success of
the Hendrix project. The project provided a vehicle for hands-on experience
in research, market analysis, agricultural production techniques, reporting,
institutional food systems, and community development.
The Meadowcreek Local Food Project is now entering its next stage of
development through a community-based project that will link producers
and consumers in a three county area of the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas.
The area, the location of Meadowcreek, qualifies as an economically distressed
region by almost every criteria. The new project will begin with a restaurant
and organic canning kitchen combination in the small tourist town of Leslie.
The restaurant will feature menu items that utilize locally raised or grown
organic foods. Patrons will be area residents and tourists who frequent
the Ozark region. During the late evening or slow times the kitchen of
the restaurant will be used to can organic food items for marketing and
distribution to other outlets such as schools, grocery stores, hospitals,
and industrial plants. Additional food operations will be located in other
areas of the three county region. Several school districts plan to operate
gardens on the school grounds as a learning device for students and a source
of menu items for their cafeterias. Already, the increased production of
local foods has stimulated new farmers markets and the potential of a community
supported agricultural (CSA) project. Meanwhile, Meadowcreek has joined
forces with another non-profit organization to work on the Leslie component
of the Local Food Project. Six VISTA Volunteers are working on the project
to promote the concept in the region and to implement the various stages
of development for the restaurant and canning kitchen. The VISTA Volunteers
have found high levels of support for the local food concept among leaders
and other residents of the region. The list of farmers interested in supplying
food products to the initiative continues to grow. Meadowcreek will be
able to ease the Leslie process with the lessons learned from its experience
with the Hendrix College Local Food Project and its own kitchen/food operation.
The Leslie project will in turn serve as a model for other communities.
The Meadowcreek Local Food Projects manualLocal Food Production for Local
Needs: a Manual for the Analysis of a College or University Food Servicewill
be available early Fall 1995. Other materials specifically on the Hendrix
experience are also available through Meadowcreek.
Santa Monica sustainable city program
Santa Monica, California
Contact: Craig Perkins, Director; Tel.: (310) 458-8221; Fax: (310) 576-3598;
City of Santa Monica; Environmental Programs Division; 200 Santa Monica
Pier; Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dean Kubani, Administrative Analyst; Tel.: (310) 458-8972; Fax: (310)
Scope: Local, urban
Inception Date: August 1991
Participants: Volunteer Citizen Task Force, City Departments, City Council,
Santa Monica citizens
Project Type: Sustainable indicators, natural resource conservation,
Methods Used: Task Force with diverse fields of expertise, public survey,
neighborhood presentations on program and community participation in revisions/recommendations,
draft report for public comment, defining benchmarks and indicators of
Lessons Learned: Through a multi-stakeholder process and strong local
government leadership and example, much can be done without changing laws.
Summary of Project
In August 1991, the City Council of Santa Monica established the Santa
Monica Task Force on the Environment as a working group comprised of seven
volunteer citizens. They were nominated by city staff and City Council
members based upon their specific expertise in environmental issues. Working
with staff from the city's Department of Environmental and Public Works
Management, Environmental Programs Division, the Task Force identified
sustainability as a fundamental vision to guide the city's environmental
policies and programs. The Task Force then worked to create the Santa Monica
Sustainable City Program, with the purpose of providing the city with a
coordinated, proactive approach to implementing the city's existing and
planned environmental programs.
Developing Community Consensus
Over a year and a half, the Task Force sponsored an extensive period
of public review, community outreach, and consensus-building related to
the Sustainable City Program. The draft of the proposed program was initially
distributed to City Council, city departments, Housing and Planning Commissioners,
Chamber of Commerce Environment Committee members, and interested citizens.
A formal survey process, designed to identify areas of consensus, was conducted
through a mailed questionnaire. A larger community-based public participation
process was conducted with the assistance of the Neighborhood Support Center.
A community-wide meeting held on June 2, 1994 generated participation from
over 100 Santa Monica citizens. Task Force members also made presentations
at annual and/or board meetings of most of the city's neighborhood associations.
The revised program document was made available for public comment. Final
revisions to the document incorporated and addressed the several hundred
responses received. On September 20, 1994, the City Council officially
adopted the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program founded on eight guiding
The concept of sustainability guides city policy;
Protection, preservation and restoration of the natural environment
is a high priority of the city;
Environmental quality and economic health are mutually dependent;
All decisions have environmental implications;
Community awareness, responsibility, involvement and education
are key elements of successful programs/ policies;
Santa Monica recognizes its linkage with the regional, national,
and global community;
Those environmental issues most important to the community, should
be addressed first, and the most cost- effective programs and policies
should be selected; and
The city is committed to procurement decisions that minimize negative
environmental and social impacts.
The Sustainable City Program is carried out in four major policy areas,
representing the focus of both current and future city programs that adhere
to the guiding principles and strive to attain specific targets established
for each area. The policy areas include:
Community and Economic Development;
Pollution Prevention and Public Health Protection; and,
One of the first successes of the Sustainable City Program was establishing
the Household Hazardous Waste Consumer Awareness Ordinance, also called
the "Labeling Ordinance." To discourage dumping of hazardous waste, the
Sustainable City Program brought retailers, city officials, and community
members together to develop the Labeling Ordinance. It requires retailers
to display labels that educate consumers on hazardous waste and encourages
the use of non-hazardous substitutes. The Sustainable City Program will
conduct public surveys to determine the success of the labeling. Other
programs that are in progress include a comprehensive energy retrofitting
of all city facilities and a sustainable schools project. A working group
of the Sustainable City Program is defining sustainable construction guidelines
for the civic center redevelopment project. These regulations will then
be applied to all future city construction. Other projects include an environmental
awards program for businesses and an environmental audit (including water,
energy, recycling and waste evaluations) of businesses that is provided
by the city for free.
Indicators of Effectiveness
To assess the programs effectiveness, benchmarks and quantifiable targets
for measuring progress were established. Sixteen specific targets, or sustainability
indicators, were selected. Each indicator has a base year value in 1990,
a 1993 value and an assigned target for the year 2000. For example in 1990,
water use was 14.3 million gallons per day (gpd), in 1993 it was 12 million
gpd and the year 2000 target is 11.4 million gpd. As work continues on
the Sustainable City Program, it is envisioned that new indicators will
be added and existing indicators will need to be revised or replaced.
The Task Force on the Environment and the city staff will prepare an
Annual Sustainable City Report for the City Council that will assess progress
made during the past year, evaluate overall program effectiveness, and
recommend any program modifications that might be necessary. The Sustainable
City Program is presently collecting data and developing measures of achievement
for the first Annual Report to be submitted September 20, 1995.
City to Set Example
The Task Force on the Environment and many others in the community believe
that city operations themselves should be the first to take the practical
steps toward sustainability. The city will serve as a model for other institutions
and organizations in the community as well as for other cities in the region
and nation. In its first year of implementation, the Sustainable City Programs
Procurement Working Group has developed a checklist to be utilized by all
city departments to ensure that broad environmental implications of decisions
are considered, and that decision-making occurs in conjunction with its
goals. The checklist targets three areas that encompass sustainability
issues in the city decision-making process: purchasing, construction and
development, and programs and services.
Within each area, a decision tree categorizes the type of decisions
and subcategories with a list of specific considerations important to the
process. For purchasing durable and consumable goods, for example, the
list of considerations includes cost, effectiveness, durability, recyclability,
material source (virgin or recycled), resources used during manufacturing,
local economic benefits and existing city purchasing guidelines. Once complete,
the checklist will be supported by two databases. The first will provide
city departments with information on environmentally acceptable products,
suppliers, consultants, sustainable policy options, best available technologies
and best management practices. The second database will include existing
and proposed city regulations, and policies as well as environmental and
A Volunteer Effort
Up to this point, the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program has operated
without a formal budget. Task Force members work as volunteers and administrative
overhead has been absorbed by the Environmental Programs Division of the
City of Santa Monica. Because the program designs new policies for existing
city programs, the costs of implementation are being covered by each individual
department. The projects implemented under the program, such as water usage
reduction and waste reduction have already resulted in an overall savings
for the city.
Funding for non-city projects is being secured from foundations and
other forms of grant support. For instance, the Santa Moncia Bay Restoration
Project will fund an educational project on urban runoff and bay contamination.
The lack of a formal budget has restricted the number of personnel who
can work directly on the program. To alleviate this problem, the program
has developed a working group with individuals from all city departments
who will assist with data collection and evaluation of progress for the
Key to the continued success of this project has been the support and
active involvement of all key players in the program. Including the City
Council, city departments, businesses, and citizens in the decision-making
process has allowed the Sustainable City Program to move as quickly as
The first year of the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program has been
primarily organizationaldefining the priorities of the program and how
those will be implemented. With a number of programs underway, such as
the Procurement Working Group and the Labeling Ordinance, the Sustainable
City Program envisions that this next year will focus on programming. The
Sustainable City Program already serves as an umbrella organization for
existing city departments and is working to strengthen its relationships
with community groups and businesses.
A 21 minute video, "Sustainable City: A city meeting its current needs
without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same"
that features citizen activism in sustainability, is available from the
city for a nominal charge.
Boulder county healthy communities initiative
Contact: Susan Q. Foster, Project Administrator; c/o The Walter Orr
Roberts Institute; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; P.O.
Box 3000; Boulder, CO 80307; Tel: (303) 497-2108; Fax: (303) 497-2100
Inception Date: 1995
Participants: Coalition of county residents from public and private
organizations representing business, government, the media, education,
environment, arts, health and human services, and religious institutions
Project Type: Community-wide visioning, sustainable indicators, comprehensive
Methods Used: Community-wide collaborative problem-solving process:
public meetings; information sharing; research
Lessons Learned: Importance of strong leadership from the beginning.
Difficulties of keeping the focus on issues of sustainability and of increasing
"To develop and implement an inclusive action plan that, by integrating
common evolving values, honoring diversity and creating a shared vision
of a healthy and vital community, sustains such a regional community for
generations to come."
Initiative Mission Statement
Boulder County, Colorado is located along the foothills of the Rocky
Mountains 30 miles northwest of Denver. Its spectacular scenery, encompassing
peaks on the Continental Divide to rolling eastern plains, and high standard
of living has lured an increasing number of new residents. Between 1980
and 1990 the county's population grew by 36,000 people. Between 1990 and
1995 another 16,000 people were added along with 13,810 new jobs.
In the late 1950's the city of Boulder foresaw the pressures uncontrolled
growth might bring on its natural environment and quality of life, the
very resources that brought people there in the first place. In 1959 it
enacted a "blue line" - an elevation line across the foothills above which
development could not occur. Eight years later the city voters approved
a special sales tax to fund the purchase of eventually 26,000 acres of
open space, many of which were outside city limits in unincorporated areas.
In 1976, based on a task force's projection that Boulder's population could
grow to 300,000 - 400,000 in 20 years, voters approved an annual growth
cap of two percent for the city to be enforced through a limitation on
These measures have kept the city's population to under 100,000, but
have caused housing costs to skyrocket, making living in the city unaffordable
to many, and have had a profound impact on the surrounding jurisdictions.
Boulder's residential building restrictions and the rise in housing costs
have forced many who work there to live in the neighboring communities
of Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, and Broomfield.
Forty-three percent of the work force now commutes, creating traffic
congestion and air pollution and spreading sprawl development to the outer
edges of the county. Boulder's open space purchases have insulated the
city from the rest of the county but, at the same time, removed land from
the market that other jurisdictions might have bought for retail space
to enhance their tax base.
Recognizing that some form of regional planning was necessary if the
quality of life was to be sustained for all county residents, a group of
38 county leaders formed a committee in 1994 to apply for a planning grant
from the Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI). In order to be
considered, a community must demonstrate broad-based community support
and prove that it is a community as defined by the CHCI: " a geographically
delineated area defined by the shared interests of all its inhabitants."
The proposal was approved in November 1994 and the Boulder County Healthy
Communities Initiative was launched in January 1995.
The Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative
The Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative is a statewide, five-year
$6.8 million program sponsored by the Colorado Trust and designed and directed
by the Denver-based National Civic League. It gives technical and financial
support to up to 30 Colorado communities to establish community-based approaches
to health and quality of life issues. Health is defined broadly to include
issues that address the underlying factors that affect the quality of life
beyond the absence of disease: a clean, safe physical environment and sustainable
ecosystem, the provision of basic needs, quality education, and a diverse,
vital and innovative economy.
Collaboration and consensus-based decision-making are key elements that
characterize this work. Communities are encouraged to find new ways of
doing things, of providing services, sharing information, and operating
local governments. They are encouraged to develop indicators of performance
and benchmark goals on a wide variety of community issues such as: air
and water quality, educational performance, population density, green space,
and economic criteria.
Once selected, the community follows a specific community-wide collaborative
problem-solving process developed by the National Civic League that takes
the community through a 12-14 month planning phase and a two-year implementation
phase. Each community can adapt this process to reflect its own character
- its geography, resources, culture, values, and visions. It is also expected
to raise matching grants. To date the Boulder Initiative has raised support
from foundations, municipalities, hospitals, the media and the county government.
The Boulder Plan
In January 1995 an Initiating Committee of community leaders from business,
government and non-profit sectors began to design the framework for the
initial planning phase. Following the National Civic League's guidelines,
one of its first tasks was to select "stakeholders", a core group of approximately
120 people representing every sector of the County. This group was charged
with the overall task of defining a vision for the county, beginning the
process of finding a set of regional indicators of long-term health, and
developing a plan of action to achieve these goals. The Initiating Committee
dissolved in April.
Monthly meetings began in May and will continue until April 1996. They
will be held in different parts of the county and the public is encouraged
to attend. A plan of action and implementation strategies will be completed
by the final session.
The first meeting was held in May 1995. Participants were asked to express
the values and visions they felt are necessary and important for a healthier
future for the county. After the meeting, the comments were compiled by
theme: social values; neighborhoods; environment; education; economy and
business; children, youth, elders, and family; transportation; leadership/government;
health care/human services; housing; arts and culture. These were then
summarized and assimilated in a draft vision paper for review and discussion
at the next monthly meeting. As an integral part of the process the Initiating
Committee hired Neal Peirce, a nationally-syndicated columnist and urban
affairs reporter, to interview Boulder County residents and assess the
county's problems, strengths, and options for action. The report served
as a springboard for discussion. It was published in its entirety by The
Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call, the county's two leading
newspapers, distributed to participants present at the June meeting, and
discussed further at neighborhood pizza parties hosted by volunteers during
the months of July and August.
The media has played an important role in publicizing the progress of
the Initiative and keeping the public informed. Members of the press have
attended meetings and reported on the discussions. The Daily Camera and
the Times-Call carry announcements of the meetings and report extensively
on each one.
The August session focused on the selection of priority areas and on
a draft community profile entitled "Roadmap for Collaboration". Within
the overarching themes of sustainability, diversity and communication six
primary issue areas have emerged from the meetings: education; children,
youth, elders, and families (38% of the county's population is under 24);
civic discourse; regional governance; community design, land use and accommodation;
and materials allocation and energy use.
In the draft report the Research Subcommittee presented possible indicators,
based on research into current, available, reliable data, in each initial
theme category. The final set of indicators, to be chosen once the community's
vision and goals have been established, will be used to measure progress
and success in achieving these goals. This list might also include additional
indicators that address linkages between the vision categories, indicators
for which original research will be necessary. Subsequent monthly meetings
will refine the list of priorities, form committees to develop actions
to achieve these goals, and, finally, develop and reach consensus on an
action and funding plan.
The critical challenge is to continue to frame the process in the context
of sustainability and long-term health, keeping the participants focused
on what is best for the county as a whole rather than for each individual.
Although several hundred people have been involved to date, the Initiative
is still seeking ways to increase participant diversity. They want to involve
youth, who have a great deal at stake, and plan to hold youth focus groups.
Another challenge will be to strike a balance between a regional vision
and the desire for strong, independent local communities - an issue much
on the minds of many of the county residents.
For an area the size of Boulder County the Healthy Communities Initiative
process provides a valuable framework for residents to envision and create
a sustainable future. It gives the many communities within the county a
structured opportunity to work together on a regional vision rather than
working independently of each other or in ad hoc collaborations as they
have done in the past. It comes at a time when people are beginning to
realize how interdependent their neighborhoods have become and that a comprehensive
regional plan may be a necessity in order to preserve their environment
and quality of life for future generations.
Vision for a greater New Haven
New Haven, Connecticut
Contact: Heather Samson Calabrese, Director; 195 Church Street, 15th
Floor; New Haven, CT 06510; Tel.: (203) 782-4310/80; Fax: (203) 782-4329
Scope: Greater New Haven area
Inception Date: 1993
Participants: Local citizens, agencies, businesses
Project Type: Community-wide visioning, citizen-led initiatives
Methods Used: Visioning process, community organizing
Lessons Learned: Maintaining an open and representative process is critical
to success. It is equally important to balance this process with concrete,
Vision for a Greater New Haven is a community-wide, citizen-driven process
for developing and implementing shared community goals. The process consists
of three phases: generating ideas for a citizen's agenda; developing short-,
medium- and long-term objectives; and implementing the plans, all with
continued participation from local citizens.
The New Haven effort is based on the citizens' vision concept that began
in Chattanooga in 1984 and has been successful in a number of cities throughout
the United States. Chattanooga, for example, estimates that its vision
process over nine years produced $793 million invested in the city through
223 projects generating 1,500 permanent jobs, 7,000 temporary jobs, and
providing services for 1.4 million people.
A Broad Concept of Citizenship
Vision for a Greater New Haven began in the spring of 1993. Members
of the religious community and the Chamber of Commerce organized a group
of area leaders to think about an alternative planning process. The initial
informal group formed the core of the current steering committee, 22 people
representing business, government, the arts, religious organizations, grassroots
organizing efforts and individual citizens.
Nearly 2,500 people from the greater New Haven area participated in
the initial stage, the visioning process. Ten community meetings were held
in February and March of 1994; seven meetings were held in neighborhood
schools, two in senior citizens complexes, and one meeting brought together
85 high school students.
The meetings were preceded by three months of aggressive outreach based
on two months of planning. The goal of the outreach efforts was and is
to involve the broadest range of citizens in Vision, including those with
the most power and those with the least power in the community. Vision's
Director, Heather Calabrese, recounts that "at one of the early meetings
at a neighborhood high school, we literally had a major utility president
sitting with an ex-gang member, talking together about their vision for
The ideas generated at the community meetings were divided into 33 categories
ranging from drugs and crime to transportation, economic development and
the arts. Over 500 people met to discuss specific topics of interest and
develop concrete goals and recommendations. In June 1994, the results were
presented on the New Haven Green; citizens were asked to "vote" for the
goals they thought most urgent for the city and the region and to sign
up for citizen action groups to work on achieving those goals.
The citizen action groups developed short-, medium- and long-term objectives,
the second phase of the process, while continuing to work on outreach and
seek opportunities for collaboration with efforts already underway in the
city. Early in the implementation process, citizen action groups have also
accomplished a number of concrete successes.
The most visible achievement to date is the mile-long pedestrian pathway
to connect downtown with the Long Wharf waterfront created by Vision's
Waterfront citizen action group. The group forged an alliance with the
U.S. Post Office, the office of Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., Congresswoman
Rosa DeLauro's office and the Special Olympics World Games to create the
wheelchair-accessible walkway in time for the Special Olympics in the summer
of 1995. The next steps will be interim goals of creating signage, lighting
and recognition for the "Vision Trail"; long term goals are to create access
along all waterfronts, including rivers, and to enrich these areas with
recreational and cultural activities.
The Image citizen action group created a Council on Public Relations
that produced a press kit distributed during the Special Olympics and an
Internet site with New Haven information. The Youth citizen action group
implemented a short term goal of a roller skate donation drive with drop
off at local libraries and organized roller skating parties at school gyms.
The Economic Development citizen action group is building a coalition of
groups interested in establishing a summer camp for youth entrepreneurs
Priorities for the Next Nine Months
The citizen action groups continue to forge ahead in specific areas,
with support from Vision staff. Meanwhile, a strategic planning process
in the summer of 1995 brought together steering committee members and citizen
action group leaders to decide on Vision's priorities for implementation
in the next six to nine months. The Vision Trail is one of four priorities;
the others are:
Housing: The Homestead Act for New Haven
Vision's long-term goal is the rehabilitation of 600 units of blighted
housing in New Haven. In the next year, Vision will create a formal consortium
with city agencies, nonprofit housing developers, banks and intermediaries.
The consortium will develop a plan for rehabilitation, ownership and residence
and will also rehabilitate 25 units of housing this year.
A regional transportation authority is the project's long-term goal.
In the next year, Vision will develop and implement a transportation action
plan that demonstrates visual progress. Examples include placing bike racks
downtown and on buses.
The International Festival of Arts and Ideas
Vision's long-term goal is to support the creation of an international
arts festival in New Haven, linking it with the New Haven Register's Waterfront
Festival. In the next year, Vision will work with city schools to develop
curriculum relating to the festival. Vision will also develop a plan with
city artists and neighborhood organizers for local economic and performance
opportunities related to the festival.
Promoting Understanding Among Current and Future Leaders
Vision is working with the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference
program to create and implement a 6-hour training for 150 leaders in the
community who represent diversity in experience, culture and race. This
training will launch an ongoing dialogue to contribute to cultural understanding
and respect in the community, and thus to increase diversity within Vision
Maintaining integrity and trust
Heather Calabrese believes Vision has worked hard to move from a leadership
model of planning into a "true citizen's model that strives to give every
participant an equal voice." The challenge is to keep moving in that direction.
She notes that the two ways that Vision might lose its integrity and fail
would be if it does not stay an open process and if it does not continue
to reflect the way the community looks. Calabrese recalls a conversation
with an outreach worker in the African-American community, a long-time
activist who told her "I'm involved in Vision because I trust that you
won't just pick my brain, say thank you, and go away and do whatever you
want." Calabrese feels that Vision has been successful so far in demonstrating
that "this is not a white, middle class, warm and fuzzy effort. In New
Haven, people who have been involved in social change for a long time feel
really used and abused. Vision will not just use them for legitimacy without
allowing them to remain in the decision-making process." Vision's biggest
challenge, however, remains the struggle to keep the process as diverse
as possible as it moves to a focus on implementation.
Calabrese emphasizes: "This process is not touchy-feely. It is very
strategic, with clear short-term, long-term and intermediate goals. But
it moves slowly to allow open participation. The challenge is how to communicate
that to the community and to funders." Participants and funders both expect
to see concrete, visible results quickly, and neither group is used to
this kind of alternative, participatory process. Vision must balance the
need to show successes, like the Vision Trail, while continuing education
about the process.
Northern Delaware greenway council
Contact: Edith Carlson, Executive Director; Northern Delaware Greenway
Council, Inc.; P.O. Box 2095; Wilmington, DE 19899; Tel: (302) 762-7237;
Fax: (302) 762-7907
Scope: Local, urban
Inception Date: 1990
Participants: Volunteer staff, government agencies, county and state
park agencies, citizen groups
Project Type: Greenways, land use planning, community design
Methods Used: Educate citizens through civic groups and park groups;
speak at planning board hearings; work with public agencies, develop public-private
partnerships between businesses, citizens groups and government agencies
Lessons Learned: Persistence of a staunch volunteer core and cooperation
of and between government agencies, political leadership, and business
sector creates success.
Summary of Project
In 1987, the Presidents Commission on American Outdoors called for the
establishment of greenwayshuman and animal accessible corridors that connect
larger natural areas. Greenways provide a solution not only to the problem
of limited recreation in urban areas, but also a means of protecting water
supplies vital for public health and economic growth; a means of preserving
the environment for future use and enjoyment; and a fundamental planning
tool to create more livable communities. Recognizing the need for a massive
grassroots effort, the Commission called for a "prairie fire of Community
action" to create a network of greenways across the USA.
The Northern Delaware Greenway Council, Inc. (NDGC) responded to that
challenge and is, today working to build a Greenway network in Delaware.
Founded in 1990, the NDGC is a non-profit organization with over 400 members,
an Honorary Board that includes former and current political representatives,
an Advisory Board, and a core volunteer staff. The Northern Delaware Greenway
Council brings together federal, state and local agencies; elected officials;
private foundations; businesses and corporations; and private individuals
to create greenways.
At present there are over five miles of completed greenway trails. The
NDGC is now working on Phase One of the Northern Delaware Greenway connecting
over a dozen city, county and state parks from the Delaware River to the
Greenways are multi-objective, resulting in a wide range of benefits,
incorporating all facets of sustainability. They:
are attractive tourist destinations;
add value to nearby homes and offices;
create a "quality-of-life" that attracts relocating and new businesses;
add new opportunities for recreation close to homes, schools,
encourage new recreation-related businesses;
link important cultural and historic sites;
foster local pride and unify communities;
provide refuge and safe migration routes for wildlife;
help preserve the biological diversity of plant and animal species
by connecting isolated natural areas;
improve water quality by buffering streams and trapping pollutants;
reduce flood damage and help recharge under-ground water supplies;
serve as car-free routes to and from schools, shops, workplaces
and parks; and
help improve air-quality.
Designed to support an improved quality of lifesocial, economic and
environmentalthe Northern Delaware Greenway, when complete, will be a
ribbon of green that ties together the natural, cultural, and historical
resources of Wilmington. State, county and city parks will be linked to
museums (such as Rockwood, Hagley and the Delaware Art Museum), schools,
cultural institutions (such as the Wilmington Drama League and Wilmington
Music School), churches, synagogues and workplaces. The greenway will protect
vital watersheds along the Brandywine River and the Delaware River north
of Wilmington. When the Cross County greenway connections are made, the
regional greenway system will serve over 440,000 residents of Northern
To serve recreational, transportation and preservation purposes, greenways
can be either paved or unpaved depending on the location. All trails are
pedestrian and bicycle accessible. In accordance with the American Disability
Act, many of the trails are built for handicap accessibility.
The purpose of a greenway is to connect all aspects of a community through
a land corridor that will also serve as a social, economic, and environmental
corridor. The NDGC has found citizen involvement critical in the development
of greenways. The NDGC speaks to neighborhood civic groups, educating them
on the purpose of greenways and encouraging their involvement in the development
process. The NDGC also talks to "friends of" park groups, environmental
groups, planning boards and various public and private agencies. NDGC maintains
an on-going public presence, reaching individuals on a personal level,
and larger audiences through mass media.
Public and Private Partnerships
Currently, all greenway trails are built on public property including
a combination of park land, transportation land, and public works land.
One advantage of utilizing public property is that the NDGC can piggyback
government projects. For instance, construction of a new sewer line provides
ideal conditions for a greenwaya cleared, levelled area that connects
major urban centers. A finished sewer line needs only a trail surface to
become a working greenway corridor.
The use of public lands has enabled the NDGC to leverage funding from
government sources more easily. In 1990, NDGC encouraged the City of Wilmington,
New Castle County and the State of Delaware to establish Greenway programs
and policies. In June 1990, the General Assembly slated $500,000 for a
state-wide Greenway program as part of open space legislation. In 1991,
public agencies were awarded a $98,000 planning grant for the Northern
Delaware Greenway Project from the State of Delaware's newly instituted
Statewide Greenway Program. In 1992, the first segment of the Northern
Delaware Green opened. This 2+ mile trail that was a cooperative effort
of the Division of Parks and Recreation, Woodlawn Trustees and the NDGC.
The NDGC worked cooperatively with state and county parks departments
to obtain $650,000 in funds under the Intermodal Surface Transportation
Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1990. Under the provisions of the act, a certain
percentage of transportation money must be spent on enhancement of bicycle
and pedestrian pathways. In this case, the money is being applied to enhancing
those features within the greenways. Offering alternative forms of transportation
to and from work and other destinations not only cuts down on traffic congestion
and air pollution, but enhances the health of people who use them.
In addition to benefiting the environment and the social well-being
of the Wilmington community, the greenways are capturing the support of
local businesses and developers. The construction of a greenway increases
the real estate values of bordering lands and, therefore, their marketability
for future development. In 1995, NDGC began working with the New Castle
County Board of Realtors to encourage incorporation of greenways into development
projects. And the NDGC has received sponsorship from local companies for
trail amenities such as benches and kiosks.
Bridges Through Cooperation
The NDGC realizes that there is an overarching purpose of greenways:
to ensure the quality of life of citizens through both growth and preservation.
Only by striking a balance between these two has NDGC succeeded. The economic
value of NDGCs work has been proven through the support of the business
community in the creation of greenways. Likewise, the greenways protect
the areas water supply, thereby benefiting the entire community. Working
in a cooperative, non-adversarial way toward common goals, the NDGC has
succeeded in building a unique and very strong bridge linking the environment,
business and government sectors.
Because NDGC works with the concerns and motivations of both the environmental
and business sectors, it has maintained a positive working relationship
with the political leadership. The greenways are working to connect not
only sections of land, but create interconnections between the social and
economic elements of the state.
Meeting the Challenges
The interconnected nature of NDGC, while one of its greatest assets,
has presented the organization with its toughest challenges. The creation
of a greenway demands cooperation between not only citizen and business
groups but also cooperative efforts between a multitude of government agencies.
For instance metropolitan planning agencies mandate the integration of
the transportation departments with land-use planning. While agency cooperation
should result in a more constructive process, there are often questions
such as which agency has the prerogative in a particular issue. To facilitate
the coordination of efforts, NDGC created the Technical Advisory Committee
(TAC) in 1994 to coordinate greenway construction between state, county
and municipal agencies. Finding the means to develop partnerships between
government agencies in an efficient manner has been the greatest challenge
for the NDGC.
The Northern Delaware Greenway Council was recently one of 10 recipients,
out of 2,000 participating groups, selected to receive the "Trails for
Tomorrow Award," sponsored by DuPont Cordura® Nylon. As part of the
National Trails day event, this award has helped build the confidence of
the business community in the work of NDGC.
The NDGC is presently in transition from an all volunteer organization
into a staffed non-profit. At this time the NDGC has a part-time development
person as well as 14 board members who contribute substantially to the
volunteer efforts. For special event projects, the NDGC generally pulls
in an additional 30-40 volunteers. In 1994, the NDGC received a $20,000
grant from the Laffey-McHugh Foundation as seed money to further the organizations
goals for expansion.
The NDGC is also changing its focus from a locally-driven organization
to one with a state focus. Goals include creating a "Cross County" greenway
system that links to the White Clay Creek, the C&D Canal, Delaware's
Coastal Heritage Greenway and to greenways being formed in Pennsylvania
and Maryland. In June 1995, NDGC received $6,000 from the State Legislation
Grant & Aid Program to expand its work to a state-wide level.
Marshall heights community development organization
Contact: Lloyd D. Smith, President and CEO; Marshall Heights Community
Development Association, Inc.; 3917 Minnesota Avenue, NE; Washington, DC
20019; Tel: (202) 396-1200; Fax: (202) 396-4106
Inception Date: 1978
Participants: Civic organizations, residents, businesses, religious
Project Type: Economic redevelopment, job creation/training, comprehensive
Methods Used: Developing strategic plans, demonstration projects, public
education campaigns, provides training, use of for profit corporations
Lessons Learned: Value of comprehensive approaches in all activities.
Importance of collaboration with public and private institutions and neighborhood
organizations. Restraint in not undertaking projects if there is a lack
of expertise or experience.
"MHCDO's mission is to build hope, people, neighborhoods, homes, businesses,
jobs, and expand the economic opportunity for the citizens of Ward 7 of
the District of Columbia."
The Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, Inc. (MHCDO)
was founded in 1978 with the philosophy that residents could define and
control the quality of their community. Since that time it has worked to
reverse the decline of a deteriorating neighborhood through a comprehensive
approach to economic, human and community development.
MHCDO is located in southeast Washington, in an area that, although
historically the poorest of Ward 7, nonetheless has had a history of civic
activism. In the mid-1970s, however, its stabilizing middle class population
and retail businesses began to leave and the neighborhood began to decline.
In 1976 a group of concerned citizens came together to address such issues
as housing rehabilitation and deteriorating infrastructure and, in 1978,
Since that time MHCDO has employed an integrated approach to community
building through a series of initiatives based on collaborations, partnerships
and joint ventures.
MHCDO's goals are threefold: to create new and diverse economic opportunities;
to ensure that all residents have access to affordable housing; and to
help area residents overcome barriers to self sufficiency. Its 72-member
Board of Directors represents community members from civic associations,
the faith community, businesses, public housing and many others. This inclusive
mix of board members ensures a strong attention to the needs and desires
of the community.
According to its President, Lloyd Smith, "MHCDO's most significant function
is to act as a facilitator in bringing its disadvantaged community into
the mainstream of U.S. economic activity through marketable projects that
bridge the gap between capitalism and community development." Its activities
are funded through government contracts and grants, foundation grants,
and profits from its economic activities carried out through three wholly-
owned, for- profit subsidiaries: East River Park, the Citizens' Housing
Development Corporation, and the Burroughs Development Corporation.
East River Park, Inc. is a commercial real estate development corporation
which co-owns and manages a shopping center. The center began with a $25,000
venture capital grant from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community
Development, and is now worth more than $10 million. The Citizens Housing
Development Corporation (CHDC) develops rental and for-sale housing. The
Burroughs Development Corporation (BDC) focuses on industrial development
and has recently begun work on the Kenilworth Light Industrial Park and
is planning development of an office complex. These three corporations
are involved in the various other projects and all their profits are fully
reinvested into MHCDO.
MHCDO's various projects are organized under the areas of housing, economic
development, human development, and drug and alcohol abuse programs. Within
each a wide range of processes and strategies have been used.
Since the inception of its HomeSight Housing Development, the CHDC has
renovated and sold 69 units totaling over $4 million. These have included
renovated single family homes, new modular houses, and condominiums. The
CHDC also owns units which it rents. The Transitional Housing Program gives
homeless individuals and families a place to stay while MHCDO provides
job counseling and placement services. In another effort to make housing
affordable, MHCDO has initiated its Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing
project, a building where individuals have private bedrooms while sharing
common rooms and kitchen and bathroom facilities with other residents.
MHCDO's Business Development Services (BDS) program, established in
1994 and funded by the city, works to expand business development and job
creation in order to increase and diversify the local economic base. As
a full-service business incubator, BDS offers not only a location for businesses
but also consulting services and seminars on subjects as the different
kinds of insurance businesses need. The BDS includes a micro-loan program
for local businesses which otherwise may have difficulty raising capital.
The loans range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are made in conjunction with
The MHCDO is undertaking other business ventures aimed at community
economic development through East River Park, Inc. One such project is
the construction of a new bank branch. It has also established several
funds aimed at attracting new businesses to the area and providing affordable
housing. As a result of MHCDO's economic development efforts, residents
now spend 50% of their disposable income within the community, up from
The mission of the MHCDO's Human Development Division is to help people
overcome barriers and move toward self-sufficiency. Its strategy includes
employment counseling, crisis intervention, housing and financial counseling,
education, senior day care, telecommunications training and an integrated
service delivery model using a telecommunications system to bring services
to low and moderate income residents of Ward 7. This past year the Human
Development Division provided services to the equivalent of 24,250 clients.
Moving into the forefront of human services delivery, the Division is spearheading
initiatives regarding family services, sustainable community education
opportunities and job development.
This holistic approach to social change is not only helping residents
improve their quality of life, but in some cases is helping residents rebuild
their lives. One story illustrates the range of services residents can
receive. One resident, the mother of two young children, decided to confront
her addiction to crack cocaine and after receiving medical treatment turned
to MHCDO's John Wilson Center where a counselor helped her organize her
life. She received help in finding food, an apartment, and furniture. She
also received job training, help in locating a job and one-on-one training
in dealing with her personal finances. Today she is working toward self
sufficiency and her children, who had been in the juvenile system, will
shortly be returned to her.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs
The Fight Back Initiative is MHCDO's campaign to improve the health
of Ward 7 residents. To raise public awareness it has sponsored a number
of events from seminars to walk-a-thons. Its prevention, intervention and
early identification component includes curriculum development for seventh
and eighth graders and the annual Shoot Hoops! Not Guns! three-on-three
The environmental improvement component motivates and empowers residents
to better use the resources available to them and improve their community's
quality of life. MHCDO acts as a conduit for environmental activities:
its staff and board members along with community residents have participated
in cleanups of the Anacostia River, the Richardson elementary school and
Treatment is another focus of the Fight Back Initiative. In partnership
with the D.C. Department of Human Services, this program provides services
from counseling and child care to HIV/AIDS testing.
Rebuilding Communities Initiative
In the fall of 1995, with a planning grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation,
MHCDO began its new Rebuilding Communities Initiative. This initiative
is a process in which all the community's stakeholders businesses, residents,
organizations are actively involved in developing a comprehensive approach
to improve the neighborhoods in which they live. Beyond the tangible results,
the ultimate goal of the initiative is to further strengthen the network
of bonds between community organizations and the individuals who reside
in the community. The initiative is guided by an 88-person steering committee
and four working groups. It has five components: 1) Education, 2) Jobs
and Training, 3) Health and Community Wellness, 4) Housing, and 5) Systems
Reform and Resource Development.
Many parts of Ward 7, however, remain underdeveloped and disadvantaged.
Crime and drug use continue and the infrastructure is still inadequate.
The community needs to attract a greater proportion of city funding given
its population and would benefit from greater community recognition of
its needs. It would also benefit from a strong economic base that can encourage
middle class residency and leverage other business activity.
MHCDO is distinctive in its holistic approach to community planning
and development. It has been extraordinarily successful in simultaneously
addressing a broad array of issues. MHCDO's most important role has been
in attracting new businesses, programs and services to the community.
Quality indicators for progress
Contact: Lois Chepenik, Executive Director; Jacksonville Community Council;
2434 Atlantic Boulevard; Jacksonville, FL 32207; Tel.: (904) 396-3052;
Fax: (904) 398-1469
Scope: County, urban
Inception Date: 1985
Participants: Jacksonville Community Council Inc., Jacksonville Chamber
of Commerce, City of Jacksonville (City Council, Mayor, government agencies),
other small municipalities in the county, local citizens
Project Type: Sustainable indicators, public education
Methods Used: Multi-stakeholder cooperation; coordination by non-profit
organization; citizen participation in committees and task forces; assembly
and presentation of data from standard reference sources and a special
Lessons Learned: The broad-based interest in indicators, including that
of the Chamber of Commerce and a local non-profit, has lead to diverse
support and funding for the indicators project.
Summary of Project
Each year, since 1985, a report on Life in Jacksonville: Quality Indicators
for Progress (QIP) has been produced in the community of Jacksonville,
Fla. The report contains current and historic values for a set of statistical
measures that have been selected to reflect changes in the city's quality
of life. The information is used to monitor community performance in a
number of key areas including: education, the economy, public safety, natural
environment, health, social environment, government/ politics, culture/recreation
and mobility. The indicators report is specifically intended as a tool
to help in building a sustainable future for the community.
The reports features include:
data that shows both where the community has been as well as the
progress that has been made in moving toward target values for each statistical
priorities among the statistical measures;
text that includes explanatory information concerning the significance
and the source of data for each measure;
graphic charts showing trends over time;
"gold star" indicators for significant progress;
"red flags" for current or emerging problems; and
recommended community actions for achieving target levels.
Specific objectives of the Jacksonville QIP report include:
producing an annual report card on community progress;
highlighting community success stories and giving credit for work
identifying areas of decline or concern where community action
educating residents about their community and the factors that
citizens consider important to their quality of life; and
encouraging citizens to take an active part in addressing community
The target audience for the indicators is broadly defined and its information
is used in a variety of ways:
Citizens use the report card to gain knowledge about their community;
Elected and appointed officials use the information for planning,
legislative and budgeting activities;
Professional planners, both in government and private institutions,
use the data as reference material to guide their decision-making;
Journalists and media representatives use the community information
in research, reporting, and editorials;
Business and community organizations use the information for strategic
planning and developing annual work plans;
Foundations use the data to gain understanding of the community
needs and to guide grant-making decisions; and
Local governments and Chambers of Commerce use the data as an
economic development tool.
Citizen Involvement in QIP
The QIP project was initiated by the Jacksonville Community Council
Inc (JCCI), a non-profit organization of citizens concerned about the future
of their community. At the beginning of the project, the President of JCCI
sought and obtained initial funding from the local Chamber of Commerce.
A 10-member steering committee was selected whose participants served as
the chairs for subcommittees organized to develop indicators in specific
topic areas. Participation on the subcommittees was open to members of
the JCCI and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as to other interested citizens.
Each subcommittee met four times on a weekly or biweekly basis. Subcommittee
members had access to background information obtained and organized by
the JCCI staff. This included responses to a questionnaire published in
the local newspaper as well as suggestions sent in by community members
in response to public interest announcements on the local television stations.
The subcommittees selected specific indicators that conformed to agreed
upon criteria. Initially, background data for each indicator was collected
from the mid 1970s through 1984 or 1985. Once the project was initiated,
the data was gathered on an annual basis. Data on personal perceptions
was obtained in telephone surveys. The surveys were conducted by AT&T
American Transtech from 1985 through 1992. In 1993 and 1994, the surveys
were conducted by Populus Research. Both survey groups donated the costs
for these surveys.
Indicator Development Process
In 1991 an additional 140 citizens were organized into task forces to
review and enhance the indicators used in the project. This followed a
process similar to that used in 1985. The task forces eliminated several
indicators because of questionable validity or unavailable data. For purposes
of clarity, several other indicators were revised. New indicators were
added, including four new telephone survey questions.
The task forces identified target values for each of the indicators.
The JCCI collected and summarized research and reference data on generally
accepted standards and goals for each data category supported by Community
Development grant funding provided by the Jacksonville Department of Housing
and Urban Development. This data was then used in selecting target goals
for the year 2000. Task forces prioritized each of the nine subject categories,
selecting a key indicator within each category for reference purposes.
In addition to the planning groups, the annual compilation of indicators
is generally overseen by a citizen Quality of Life Committee. Its members
are selected to represent a range of interests and expertise, including
members with specific background in demographics and statistics. The Committee
helps oversee the data collection process and provides comments and recommendations
on the specific results. Currently, the compilation of the annual report
and the work of the committee are being supported by funds from the City
What the Community Learns
A total of 74 indicators in nine categories are included in the most
recent November 1994 report. The main categories, the key indicator for
each, and examples of the other indicators in the category are listed below:
Public High School Graduation Rate achievement-test scores, expenditures
per student, and participation in higher-education programs.
Net Job Growthblack unemployment, effective buying income and retail
sales, taxable real- estate value, new housing starts, students in free/reduced
lunch program, tourism/bed tax revenues.
People Feeling Safe Walking Alone At Nightviolent and nonviolent crime
rate, people reporting being victims of crime, response times for rescue,
fire, and police calls, motor vehicle and other accident deaths.
Days of Air Quality Index in the Good Rangeriver and stream compliance
with water quality standards, water level in aquifer, septic tank permits,
tons of solid waste.
Infant Deaths Per 1,000 Live Birthsdeaths from heart disease and lung
cancer, number of packs of cigarettes sold, new AIDS cases, student fitness
test scores, rating of local health-care system.
People Believing Racism Is A Local Problemsubstance-exposed newborns,
child abuse/neglect reports, births to females under 18, city human services
expenditures, contributions to charities.
People Rating Local Govern-ment Leadership Good/Excellentpercent 18
and older registered to vote, percent registered who vote, percent of elected
officials nonwhite and female, rating of local public services effectiveness.
City Financial Support of Arts Organizationsparks and recreation expenditures,
public park acreage, public library materials and circulation rate, attendance
at museum , symphony, and zoo.
People Reporting Commuting Time of 25 Minutes or Lesscommercial flights
and destinations with direct flights, bus ridership, miles of bus service,
The fact that the Quality Indicators of Progress reports have continued
to be produced annually for ten years confirms their usefulness for Jacksonville
citizens, government and business. As mentioned earlier, the reports can
be used by a wide variety of individuals and groups for different purposes.
Two specific examples of successful applications are cited here: A continuing
decline in water quality indicators from 1983 to 1987 resulted in a city-wide
campaign and the establishment of a group, Stewards of the St. John's River,
which worked with local jurisdictions and private citizens to improve water
quality; similarly, a decline in high school graduation rates from 1984
to 1989, led to the development of a very successful "Cities in Schools"
program in which local citizens and businesses worked with school personnel,
students, and parents to improve educational performance.
Today, the Quality of Life Indicators program can be adapted by other
communities. The Jacksonville Community Council Inc. offers a replication
package for sale, complete with educational video tapes, instructional
and guidance materials, and support services. Although this package is
not inexpensive, it could prove to be of significant value to communities
who want a head start in developing similar programs for themselves.
Carver hills neighborhood project
Contact: Arnold Weathersby, President; Carver Hills Neighborhood Association;
1586 Mary George Avenue, NW; Atlanta, GA 30318; Tel.: (404) 799-5382
Olin Ivey, Executive Director; Georgia Environmental Organization; 6750
Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite 802; Atlanta, GA 30360-2218; Tel: (770)
447-4367; Fax: (770) 447-5668; E-mail: email@example.com
Scope: Neighborhood, Urban
Inception Date: 1964; Carver Hills Civic League formed; revitalized
as Carver Hills Neighborhood Assoc., Inc. in 1989
Participants: Neighborhood residents, non-profit organizations, public
Project Type: Leadership development, redevelopment, urban forestry
Methods Used: Citizen empowerment and participation through monthly
meetings, door-to-door canvassing, civic participation, community events
and fund-raisers, annual events, clean up campaigns
Lessons Learned: Strong leadership, tenacious and active community participation,
and assistance from local and national grassroots organizations are important.
Summary of Project
Carver Hills is a low-income, African-American subdivision of single-dwelling
units enveloped by several government and subsidized apartment complexes
in the Northwest, inner-city section of Atlanta. The residents have for
the most part maintained their homes in good condition with attractive,
though simple yards.
In 1964, residents formed the Carver Hills Civic League. In 1989 the
community revitalized itself in the face of mounting environmental and
social injustices resulting from the neighboring, city-owned Gun Club Landfill.
The landfills blowing trash and lumbering trucks were a constant presence
in the community, creating unsanitary conditions and pollution that is
thought to have contributed to an increase in health problems in the community.
Discouraged by seemingly insurmountable challenges, apathy settled in among
the Carver Hills residents. In response to this, and with hopes of mobilizing
community residents as well as improving poor environmental conditions,
the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association, Inc. (CHNA) emerged.
The overarching goals of the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association are
empower community residents;
increase the awareness of the city government and its citizens
regarding problems of health and environment as they impact on the community;
train the citizens of the community in the process of critical
thinking and analysis so they are able to identify problems and the means
to solve them;
create new and stronger organizations within the neighborhood
as well as strengthen existing ones so that the goals of CHNA can be more
effectively realized and a stronger interlinking bond can be established
among the people;
expand awareness concerning the environment and plan action programs
to bring about a cleaner, greener, and healthier community;
be alert to the manner in which any of the issues confronted can
be solved not only through community involvement but also by entrepreneurial
solutions within the community.
To achieve these goals, the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association and
the Georgia Environmental Organization, Inc. (GEO), a non-profit, statewide
organization headquartered in Atlanta, established a partnership in Summer
1992. GEO provided strategizing assistance to the community, and was able
to make available its local, state, and national contacts, which provided
additional support to the community. One of those, the Highlander Educational
Research Center in Tennessee, helped increase national awareness of the
Gun Club Landfill problems by publicizing the story. The publicity bolstered
the interest of the Carver Hills residents, letting them know that outside
support did exist. GEO and Highlander have also provided leadership training
to neighborhood residents throughout the process to close the landfill
and turn the residents energies to improving their community.
Closing the Landfill
The Gun Club Landfill lies on the opposite side of Procter Creek from
the Carver Hills neighborhood. Dumping first began in 1965, and in 1974
it became a licensed municipal landfill. It is situated on 179 acres, of
which 106 acres were licensed for dumping. It received up to 890 tons of
trash a day to reach a height of 23 stories of layered household solid
waste (garbage, trash, leaves, paper, and yard waste) and soil. The Department
of Public Works resisted closing the Gun Club Landfill because it served
as one of Atlantas largest receptacles of garbage. The ultimate closure
would mean finding new means of dealing with vast amounts of garbage.
Despite the resistance of the Dept. of Public Works, the Carver Hills
Neighborhood Association was able to catalyze a strong campaign for the
closing of the landfill through monthly neighborhood meetings, flyers,
door-to-door educational canvassing and neighborhood events. Residents
of Carver Hills and the nearby Gun Club community (residing on the other
side of the landfill) attended City Council committee meetings and testified
about the poor environmental and economic conditions of the community due
to the landfills existence. After several unsuccessful attempts to close
the landfill, the City Council passed an ordinance to do so in December
Creating a Community Vision
Once the landfill was closed, the CHNA led residents to search for ways
that the resources of the communityboth natural and humancould be improved
to make the area a more livable one. Carver Hills is a neighborhood of
approximately 2,000 people. The Carver Hills Neighborhood Association meets
the first Monday evening of each month with between 30-50 residents attending
at any one time. All members of the neighborhood have both voice and vote.
Activities for the whole neighborhood and for the various age-groups occur
The CHNA set out to find a means of improving Carver Hills. The abandoned
Finch Elementary School site offered the ideal location for community life
and activities that could also enrich the ecology of the area. The property,
comprising 13 1/2 acres of land, had lain fallow ever since the school
was closed and torn down. It has four naturally tiered levels, the lowest
of which is a wilderness area that borders Proctor Creek. The Gun Club
landfill is on the creeks opposite bank.
Carver Hills purchased the 13 1/2 acres of land for $6,000: $1,500 in
earnest money was provided to the community to secure the property by the
Georgia Environmental Organization; the remainder was raised through a
combination of community donations, special event fund-raisers such as
"Fish Fries" and money from city and foundation grants.
With the acquired land, Carver Hills residents plan to transform the
entire neighborhood into a "Natural Space/Urban Forest Community" that
A Community Center
Within the parameters of the budget, the neighborhood center will
be designed with community needs and ideas in mind and will be built with
donated environmentally friendly materials and equipment;
Two wilderness areas with a total of four and a half acres and
a connecting trail;
The park will be ringed by trees, about one third of which are
already standing and two-thirds of which will be planted. Trees will be
planted in conjunction with Trees Atlanta, Georgia Trees Coalition, U.S.
Forestry Service, American Forests, and Trees Working for Tomorrow Foundation;
Stream/Stream Bank Restoration
Proctor Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, has little
life left in it. Working with the city, with Roy F. Weston Company, and
with an arm of Americorps, the neighborhood will clean the Creek and develop
GEO, working with the stakeholders who live or own businesses
along Proctor Creek, will develop a Protection and Management Plan for
the whole of the waterway;
Working with the Environmental Forum and the student environmental
organization from Georgia Tech, the neighborhood will establish monitoring
stations for Proctor Creek;
Each block in the neighborhood, working with students from the
School of Environmental Design from the University of Georgia, will design
its own sidewalks and the public spaces in the block;
Each household will be taught how to compost. For those who do
not wish to have their own compost bin, two central composting sites will
be provided and maintained by the Neighborhood Association;
All playground equipment and the park benches will be made from
recycled material. A neighborhood recycling program will collect materials
to be recycled into the equipment;
Other programs to train households in how they can be sustainable
are in the planning stage.
A board has been formed to oversee the project. Fourteen leaders from
many sectors of Atlantas leadership have joined with members from the community
to direct the project. The board has been meeting for over a year to lay
the plans and to gather wide-spread support for the overall project and
its many components.
Making the Vision a Reality
One of the larger barriers to the project lies in the procurement of
funds for a full-time staff person. The community has been able to obtain
volunteer assistance from a landscape architect, an architect designing
the community center, and nearby universities, as well as representatives
from organizations such as the president of Safeplay Systems. Once plans
are in place, two week-ends will be set aside to bring everyone together
to do an old fashioned "barn-raising" in which the majority of work on
the community center will be completed. The goal is to finish the project,
including the trails and planting of the trees, by the Summer of 1996.
Wai'anae backyard aquaculture project
Wai'anae coast, Hawaii
Contact: Puanani Burgess; Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development
Corporation; 86-649 Puuhulu Road; Wai'anae, HI 96792; Tel.: (808) 696-4629;
Fax: (808) 696-7774
Scope: Local, rural
Inception Date: 1987
Participants: Families and community residents
Project Type: Community development, economic development, cultural
preservation, food production
Methods Used: Fish farming tank technology; family scale enterprise
as a condition; subsidy at start-up with trainings; revolving loan aspect.
Lessons Learned: The "family-run" requirement gives powerful benefit
to eroding traditional social structures; new home-based venture encourages
other options to emerge. Initiatives based in community culture and values,
gains supporters and participants; single initiatives lead to expanded
Summary of Project
The Wai'anae Backyard Aquaculture Project provides support to families
interested in the small-scale production of Wai'anae sunfish as part of
a community economic development project. Under a formal agreement, the
project provides financial assistance to families for initial capital expenditures
and first-year operating costs. It supports the development of a local
market for sunfish and the formation of a family-run association of aquaculture
The goals of the Backyard Aquaculture Project are:
self-reliance in food production;
the strengthening of social relationships;
home-based income opportunities for Wai'anae Coast families; and
improvement of the community's nutritional standards.
selects, trains and provides technical support to families interested
in backyard-scale fish production;
arranges financial assistance for tank construction and first-year
coordinates a common marketing system for all participating families;
develops local and external markets for the Wai'anae sunfish;
conducts research to improve the productive efficiency of the
backyard aquaculture system.
Families participating in the program:
complete an intensive hands-on training program designed to produce
competent and confident backyard aquaculturists;
construct a backyard aquaculture system and help other families
do the same;
participate in the project's coordinated marketing system; and
become active members of the Wai'anae Backyard Aquaculture Family
The project sponsor is the Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development
Corporation (WCCADC). It was formed as a 501(c)(3)tax-exempt, non-profit
organization in 1987. Its aim is to promote self-sufficiency and self-reliance
for the Wai-anae Coast, and, in the process, to rebuild the community's
self-esteem and strengthen community members identity as Native Hawaiians.
"Work is Medicine"
The WCCADC developed out of a citizens movement in the late 1970s to
challenge plans for construction of a $3 billion luxury class tourist and
residential project by West Beach Estates at the mouth of the Wai'anae
coast community. Concerned residents formed an unincorporated association,
the Wai'anae Land Use Concerns Committee (WLUCC). The residents saw that
the development of the type and magnitude proposed at the mouth of the
Wai'anae coast would deplete human and natural resources as well as cause
environmental, social and spiritual problems in an already stressed community.
There was 20% unemployment in the community and high rates of substance
abuse and domestic violence. So the WLUCC actively sustained its challenge
of West Beach Estates' plan for more than ten years.
A mediated agreement was reached between West Beach Estates and the
WLUCC on January 22, 1987. In the agreement, West Beach Estates formally
recognized the need for the Wai'anae Coast Community to maintain stewardship
of its own natural and human resources by developing an independent economic
base to support the social, cultural and spiritual development of people
and families in the community. West Beach Estates contributed funds to
assist in the establishment of a community-based development organization.
The Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development Corporation resulted.
It represents the mature vision of many community members and organizations
that have tried for more than two decades to solve the problems of rapid
urbanization and ghettoization of one of the few remaining rural areas
on the island of Oahu. It seeks to provide a cultural anchor for the people
of the Wai'anae Coast, and to assure residents that there can be economic
development that does not sacrifice the community's self-esteem and respect
for Native Hawaiian culture. Its guiding philosophy is "work is medicine."
One Foot on Land; One in the Ocean
The Backyard Aquaculture Project is one of two WCCADC projects. The
development process used by WCCADC in the project draws upon traditional
Hawaiian values and principles of sustainable development, appropriate
technologies, cultural compatibility and spiritual guidance.
The first two years of the project, 1989-90, were devoted to technical
research and development using funds contributed by West Beach Estates.
The pilot phase of the project began in 1991 with nine families. It was
funded by a $300,000 grant from the Hawaiian Department of Business, Economic
Development and Tourism. The Growth Phase ending in June, 1995, was funded
by a $617,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans.
Backyard aquaculture was chosen because the island people say they live
with one foot on the land and one foot in the ocean. Historically, fish
has been a key element in the diets of all Hawaiians. Present day consumption
of fish has declined dramatically. This decline reflects a supply and demand
situation that supports high prices for fresh, locally caught fish.
Fish farming provides an alternative means of supplying fresh fish to
local markets. Backyard aquaculture is essentially a modern translation
of the ancient practice of raising fish in enclosed ocean "ponds." In earlier
times, raising fish ensured families of available food when oceans were
rough or fish was not plentiful. The same thing is true today. A fish-raising
family can have fresh, safe fish to eat even in times when fish are scarce,
polluted or, because of high prices, prohibitive to buy.
Most Wai'anae families can master the technology of backyard aquaculture.
It is not time, space or water intensive. The tasks of tank construction,
management and harvesting of the fish can involve all members of the family.
A major long-term goal of the project self-reliance through food production
is beginning to be met both for the family and the community. There are
28 families participating in the project, including five who are currently
being trained. The families operate a total of 50 backyard aquaculture
tanks. A family operating a single backyard system can produce 500 to 600
pounds of sunfish per year and are averaging approximately 235 pounds of
market-sized fish per tank per six month production cycle. Collectively,
the families in the project are able to produce about 20,000 pounds of
sunfish per year.
Families Work Together
The projects focus on strengthening social relationships is based on
an interpretation of the difference between work and employment. Work is
considered to require passion and dedication and leads to building self-esteem
for individuals, families and communities. Employment is considered an
activity that pays bills, but may not help self-esteem. The project promotes
backyard aquaculture as family work. It supports the idea that families
who work together will form strong bonds that can endure stress. And the
project provides residents with a way to share the results of their work
with friends and neighbors. Participating families have agreed to sell
fish to community members at a discount ($3.00 to $3.25 a pound) in comparison
with Oahu's market price ($4.00 to $4.50 a pound). The spirit of sharing
success is valued in Hawaiian culture.
Another goal of providing home-based income opportunities for Waianae
families can be met because the production of sunfish is profitable. The
cost of production is between $1.00 and $1.30 a pound, well below the price
to community members. A single tank may not generate much income, but additional
tanks can be built by a family.
The project also has the potential to improve the community's nutritional
standards. State Health Department statistics show that the Hawaiian population
of the Wai'anae Coast has the greatest prevalence of chronic illnesses
such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Health officials
link the problems to high fat diets. The Wai'anae Sunfish has one of the
lowest fat contents of any species available to residents. As fish replaces
other animal protein in the diet, people will benefit.
The Backyard Aquaculture Project is entering into an expansion phase,
planned to extend through June 1998. This expansion will:
Extend participation to include families dependent on public assistance
Double the number of families participating in the program to
Enhance the capacity of current families to produce food by: 1)
supporting the expansion of their aquaculture activities; and, 2) providing
training and technical support for integration activities such as taro,
vegetable, or fruit cultivation, and/or hydroponic plant production;
Aggressively establish an expanded market for the sunfish;
Broaden the product base by introducing new species of fish; and
Establish a legally-defined family cooperative;
The community-based economic development approach and activities of
the Waianae Backyard Aquaculture Project are well known within the community
and throughout the state of Hawaii. The project has gained a number of
supporters in state government, some of whom initially wrote the project
off as "small-scale and insignificant." Agencies supporting the expansion
include the Departments Agriculture, Hawaiian Homelands, the Housing Authority
and Welfare Dept.
The WCCADC has developed a formula that worksfor the people, for their
economy and for their environmentand it is replicable, in similar climates
"state-side," or with protection in colder climates.
Tri-State implementation council
Contact: Ruth Watkins; Project Coordinator; Tri-State Implementation
Council; 206 No. 4th Avenue, Suite 157; Sandpoint, ID 83864; Tel.: (208)
Inception Date: 1993
Participants: Federal and state agencies; representatives from industries,
municipalities, counties, utilities, Native American tribes, timber, agriculture,
and environmental groups
Project Type: Regional watershed management, public education, restoration/cleanup
Methods Used: Public outreach and participation, coordination of implementation
Lessons Learned: Importance of broad representation of stakeholders
in planning and policymaking. Effectiveness of collaboration with local
and state agencies. Necessity of ongoing public education.
The Tri-State Implementation Council came into being in 1993 to oversee,
review and educate the public about the three-state water quality management
plan developed for the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille watershed which encompasses
roughly 26,000 square miles in northern Idaho, western Montana and northeastern
This plan was the outcome of a series of steps that grew out of citizen
concerns over the increasing amount of algae and aquatic weeds in the Clark
Fork River and Pend Oreille Lake in the late 1980s. In response, additional
language was added to the 1987 Clean Water Act directing the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a three-year study of pollution in the
basin. The result of this study was the development of the tri-state management
plan. Seventy different control measures were identified and categorized,
resulting in a condensed list of the top priorities.
The Tri-State Implementation Council, a citizen-led group, was formed
by the EPA and the three states' water quality agencies in October 1993
to oversee implementation of the plan. The Council is staffed by a project
coordinator at its headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho. It meets biannually
at different locations throughout the three states.
The Council consists of 28 individuals who represent major stakeholder
groups such as industry, municipalities, counties, businesses, utilities,
Native American tribes, timber, agriculture, and environmental groups.
The members, all volunteers, take an active role in building support for
implementation activities through both the formal work of the Council as
well as its subcommittees which work locally. Each Council member sits
on one of the local subcommittees which meet at different times and frequencies
depending on the needs of their local projects. They are each responsible
for raising funding to support these activities.
The Council helps coordinate policymaking and the work of local committees.
It provides assistance to those working on specific aspects of the management
plan. Information and updates on committee activities are compiled and
circulated by the Project Coordinator. After five years the Council will
review and evaluate the progress made on the plan.
Pollution control and prevention
Initially, the Council listed the following as its most immediate goals:
the reduction of phosphorous and nitrogen pollution in the Clark
Fork River and Pend Oreille Lake through a nutrient allocation system;
the introduction of alternative wastewater treatment at the municipal
facilities in Butte, Deer Lodge, and Missoula;
the development of a coordinated approach for wastewater management
in the Pend Oreille watershed;
the design and implementation of a nonpoint pollution control
strategy beginning with the Pend Oreille River and Lake and the Bitterroot
the establishment of a coordinated water monitoring network; and,
the promotion of citizen education programs to educate them about
their role in protecting the watershed.
During the first 18 months of its existence, the Council has worked
to make the most efficient use of its members and resources to collaborate
with other organizations, primarily at the grassroots level, in an integrated
process. It began to address the most pressing needs first as initially
defined. These include:
The first meeting of this committee was held in early 1994 to review
current data and reports and to develop consensus among dischargers and
agencies on nutrient target levels. The committee held a briefing workshop
to better understand target levels and how they might be incorporated into
a lake nutrient allocation strategy for the rivers and the Lake. Strategies
are currently being developed for state and federal approval.
Deer Lodge and Butte jointly agreed to obtain a declaratory ruling on
water rights issues as they relate to the proposed application of wastewater
on land. For Missoula the committee researched and compiled alternative
wastewater treatment options and is participating in a facilities planning
effort with the city.
Pend Oreille Lake Sewers
Several information sessions have been held for local sewer district
officials to identify issues, problems and concerns, as well as existing
regulations and technical options for dealing with operational problems.
The subcommittee is working with the county on possible land use planning
Nonpoint Source Pollution
The Bitterroot River valley is one of the five heaviest nutrient sources
in the Clark Fork Basin. For this reason, the Council has been working
with a local grassroots organization, the Bitterroot Water Forum, to develop
a nonpoint strategy. They began an extensive inventory of water quality
data to use in identifying priorities for additional information needs
as well as developing a management strategy. The Council is also working
informally with the Pend Oreille County Watershed Coordination Committee,
an independent group in northeastern Washington, on a broad-based community
Water Quality Monitoring
Charged with developing a tri-state monitoring plan, the subcommittee
enlisted the services of a consulting firm to help with its design and
Some of the greatest progress has come in the area of public outreach
to all ages. In Idaho the subcommittee developed three project concepts:
a Natural Resource Center for a new county library; a citizen monitoring
program on the Pack River featuring an intergenerational (student and landowner)
monitoring/streamwalk emphasis; and a primer for newcomers on water quality.
In Montana, a series of events and educational activities have begun
to spread the word about individuals and their impact on the watershed.
In June, the Missoula Water Festival was held to celebrate the Clark Fork.
In partnership with the Montana Natural History Center, one of the members
of the Council's subcommittee worked with sixth grade teachers to plan
two days of educational and entertainment programs including hands-on projects
developed by the students. This effort brought together local volunteers
who had not known each other previously and who were successfully able
to raise over $20,000 for the project.
The Council has helped prepare a traveling watershed educational program
designed for elementary schools,. When completed the Paddle to Pend Oreille
Watershed Trunk will contain puppets and other entertaining educational
presentations. In order to introduce the general public to watershed protection,
the Council will distribute a basinwide publication to report on the management
plan and establish a "sense of place" for watershed residents.
One of the ongoing challenges is obtaining the funding needed to staff
the Council and to carry out the work of the subcommittees. Some support
has come from local sources, businesses and government grants. The Council
is not incorporated as a nonprofit organization. It has found that it can
carry out its mission by working with and developing partnerships with
local organizations and by complementing the work of public agencies.
The Council is playing a key coordinating and educational role in this
watershed and has been effective in gaining widespread support for its
Buckwheat growers of Illinois
Contact: Kevin Brussell; Buckwheat Growers of Illinois; Route 1, Box
450; Sumner, IL 62466; Tel.: (217) 923-3774
Scope: Throughout rural Illinois
Inception Date: 1991
Project Type: Marketing cooperatives, sustainable agriculture, value-added
Methods Used: Growing, marketing and selling buckwheat
Lessons Learned: It takes complete dedication to make a project like
this work. Things take twice as much time and cost twice as much money
as you think they are going to.
The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois is a not-for-profit corporation formed
in 1991 to help farmers in Illinois grow buckwheat for commercial purposes.
Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the major crops in Illinois, but none of
them replenishes the soil and helps other crops the ways that buckwheat
does. The Buckwheat Growers has made it possible for farmers who were previously
either not growing buckwheat of growing buckwheat only as a cover crop
(cover crops are grown to protect the soil) to profit from raising buckwheat
while improving their farmland.
The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois pools the production from many growers
to guarantee a large and constant supply of buckwheat to millers. The delivery
point of the buckwheat is at the Buckwheat Growers' processing facility
in Sumner, Illinois. The buckwheat owned by each individual farmer is tracked
as the crop goes from harvesting to processing to final sale.
In 1995, the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois is raising buckwheat on approximately
1900 acres, at 750 pounds per acre. This will yield 1.425 million pounds
of buckwheat. About 35 farmers pay 25 dollars per year to be members of
the Buckwheat Growers. This entitles them to sell their buckwheat through
the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois and to attend the group's meetings which
are partly educational. There is a wide range of farmers that are members:
their farms range in size from 200 acres to several thousand acres. The
Buckwheat Growers holds at least one educational meeting somewhere in Illinois
each year to educate other farmers about the benefits of growing buckwheat
and to recruit new members.
Buckwheat gives back to the soil
Buckwheat has several positive environmental impacts unlike other crops
such as corn and soybeans:
Buckwheat "pumps" phosphorus into the soil, thus improving the
soil and yields for other crops. It can positively change the chemistry
of the soil in as few as 35 to 40 days. Farmers growing buckwheat and corn
in rotation, for example, can expect to harvest an additional three to
five bushels of corn per acre on land previously planted with buckwheat.
Buckwheat requires no inputs such as pesticides and fertilizer,
just initial spraying with an herbicide before planting buckwheat seeds;
Buckwheat attracts desirable predatory insects including lacewings
which eat insects, such as aphids and corn borers that harm crops. When
buckwheat is grown close to corn or other crops it can reduce insect damage
and therefore reduce the need for pesticides.
Buckwheat is not a true cereal, but a fruit, and is suited to situations
that are unfavorable to other grain crops. Under dry growing conditions
when other crops are adversely affected, buckwheat goes dormant and only
returns to normal when moisture returns. Also, buckwheat is not so particular
in its soil requirements as are other grains, and it will produce a better
crop on poor soils.
Economic Benefits of Buckwheat
Buckwheat has several economic advantages over other crops that farmers
grow in Illinois:
Because buckwheat requires few inputs, it is less expensive to
grow than other crops and there is less of a financial downside if there
is a poor harvest;
There is also less risk of a poor crop of buckwheat. Rose Vollmer,
the Secretary-Treasurer of the Buckwheat Growers notes that farmers may
only get a really good soybean crop every five years, but they are more
likely to get a good buckwheat crop with a higher frequency; and
Buckwheat is an investment in farmers' soil. It increases the
yield that farmers will get the following year on the same field; and "It's
such a good crop to produce that it's almost too good to be true," says
Ken Heinzmann, a farmer who is a member of the Buckwheat Growers. He notes
that as beneficial as the crop is to the soil, "You wouldn't lose money
on the crop even if something came up that would keep you from harvesting
it. It loosens the soil, improves soil tilth, and helps retain moisture
over the winter."
Farmers Coming Together to Market Their Crops
The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois was founded in 1991 by Robert Vollmer
and other Illinois farmers who wanted to sell the buckwheat that they had
been using as a cover crop. "It seemed like it would make some sense to
look for a market, coordinate production, pool resources, and launch a
sales effort," said Vollmer at the time.
Vollmer originally started growing buckwheat in order to build up his
family's poor soils. He hoped to use buckwheat in rotation with other cover
crops to eventually improve yields for corn and soybeans. In 1991, the
Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) named Vollmer "Sustainable Agriculture
Farmer of the Year," a distinction he won, in part, because of his initiative
to implement practices on his family's farm that are both good for the
land and profitable.
Selling Buckwheat Overseas
In the summer of 1991, officials from the Japan Buckwheat Millers Association
visited the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois to inspect the buckwheat crop.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture helped arrange the contact. Japan
grows, on average, just ten percent of the buckwheat that its milling industry
requires to fulfill the national demand for the sobe noodle, which is made
As a result of the visit, the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois secured
a trial order from the Association and the Kasho Co. Ltd. for 200 metric
tons, about 440 acres worth, in 1992. In 1995, the Japan Buckwheat Millers
Association is buying 500 metric tons of buckwheat from the Buckwheat Growers.
Adding Value to the Crop
The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois clean, pack and weigh the buckwheat
before it is exported to Japan. The Buckwheat Growers is looking into ways
to add more value to the buckwheat before it is sold. According to Kevin
Brussell, President of the Buckwheat Growers, the short term plan is to
increase the amount of buckwheat sold that is minimally processed, like
the buckwheat exported to Japan. In the long run, the Buckwheat Growers
would like to buy additional equipment to add more value to the buckwheat.
Brussell says that the organization is raising capital to buy a dehuller
which would enable the Buckwheat Growers to process buckwheat for human
consumption. The organization is currently working with a nutritionist
to develop a snack food made with the buckwheat. The Buckwheat Growers
has also been approached by organizations that supply food to developing
Some markets are hard to crack
Although buckwheat is an excellent food for livestock (and for people),
the Buckwheat Growers has had a hard time selling it as animal feed. Buckwheat
contains all essential amino acids in good proportions, making it closer
to being a "complete" protein than any other plant source, even soybeans.
When farmers use buckwheat as livestock feed, they can reduce the amount
of nutritional supplements that they give to their animals. The animals
also gain weight faster and are healthier when eating feed containing buckwheat.
However, Rose Vollmer notes that cracking the market has been hard.
She attributes this to the contracts that farmers have signed with large
agriculture corporations: "We have a hard time breaking through to individuals
that are already tied up with seed salesmen . . . In our area here we have
a lot of Cargill operations. You can't crack them. The buckwheat would
not be nearly as expensive but they don't want to recognize the fact that
it is a complete feed."
Help from a related business
The Buckwheat Growers do not own the facility they use to process the
buckwheat. Rose Vollmer and her son Robert formed a partnership, Earth
Select Bio-Energy to rent space to store and process the buckwheat. The
Japanese purchasers of the buckwheat recommended, for quality control purposes,
that they purchase a facility with proper equipment, but the Buckwheat
Growers is a non-profit and didn't have the collateral. According to Kevin
Brussell, the members of the Buckwheat Growers were not willing to make
the financial commitment to invest in the facility.
Earth Select Bio-Energy took out a bank loan and bought the property
that they had been renting, which includes a warehouse and 9.5 acres of
land, in addition to five 18-foot storage bins in downtown Sumner, Illinois.
Since they made the purchase, Earth Select has received a loan from a federal
Small Business Development Center to install equipment to clean, pack and
weigh the buckwheat. Vollmer says that she made the purchase both as an
investment and to help the Buckwheat Growers get their buckwheat processed
at a reasonable price. The Buckwheat Growers had previously been hiring
contractors to clean the buckwheat for a lot more than Earth Select Bio-Energy
was charging the Buckwheat Growers.
Dedication key to success
Kevin Brussell attributes the early success of the Buckwheat Growers
of Illinois to the dedication of Robert Vollmer, who passed away in early
1995. He spent all of his time working on the project and kept all of the
other members involved. "He was always on the phone looking to stretch
what little money we had," says Brussel. Brussel says that for a project
like this to work, there has to always be at least one person working on
it full time.
Clean cities recycling, inc.
Contact: Marie Fryar; 1010 Reder Road; Griffith, IN 46319; Tel.: (219)
Scope: Lake County
Inception Date: 1994
Participants: Local non-profit organizations, businesses and government
Project Type: Job creation/training, recycling
Methods Used: Establishment of a joint venture, a county-wide network
of recycling drop-off centers and a warehouse/processing facility
Lessons Learned: To affect legislation and public policy, it is necessary
to prove there are viable alternatives. It is important to bring in everyone
businesses, community organizations and government as responsible partners.
Clean Cities Recycling, Inc. (CCR) is a nonprofit community development
corporation formed as a joint venture between 2-Ladies Recycling, Inc.
of Hobart, Indiana; the Gary Clean City Coalition, a community-based environmental
organization; and Brothers Keeper of Gary, a shelter for homeless men.
The mission of CCR is "to benefit the public interest and lessen the burden
on government by creating permanent employment by utilizing the economic
opportunities available through the processing and marketing of [Lake County's]
The joint venture was formed in 1993 to compete for a two year contract
awarded by the Lake County Solid Waste Management District to set up and
operate 25 drop-off recycling centers. The District and its Board were
established in 1991, when the State of Indiana set a goal of reducing trash
to landfills by 35 percent by 1996, and 50 percent by the year 2001. CCR's
winning contract bid of $354,000 was 66 percent of the bid submitted by
the next competitor.
Job creation through recycling
To date, CCR has set up ten drop-off centers at grocery stores. The
sites are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are serviced
daily. They collect clean, source-separated household recyclables: glass,
aluminum, steel cans, newspaper, cardboard and some plastics. Materials
are sold to local markets and established scrap dealers in the Greater
Chicago area: fiber is purchased by a paper mill in Lake County, glass
by a company just over the county line in Illinois, and steel returns to
the steel mills.
CCR now employs six full time and two part time workers who are paid
$6.50 to $10.00 an hour. CCR provides job training, a local work history,
and letters of recommendation to homeless shelter residents who are paid
a stipend for their work; the venture also helps provide continuing financial
support for Brothers' Keeper. Benefits from the business flow to the city
of Gary and surrounding communities.
After further expansion this summer, CCR will be able to hire up to
four more full time employees, including Brother's Keeper shelter residents
who by then will be trained warehouse workers. The enterprise anticipates
generating $300,000 annually from sales of recyclables. Selling recycled
materials to end-users in Indiana and the Greater Chicago area will increase
the capacity and the labor requirements of local industry; for example,
one Lake County paper mill that buys CCR's fiber to manufacture egg cartons
and fruit box liners estimates that once CCR operates at capacity, the
mill will be able to increase its output by 20 percent and hire more employees.
CCR diverted over a million pounds of recyclables from area landfills
in the first six months of 1995, after moving into the new warehouse/processing
facility. The drop-off centers also serve as environmental education centers.
Information is posted about recycling and resources savedfor example,
how many trees were saved by recycling at each drop-off site. The emphasis
is town-based, not county-wide, so local residents take ownership and pride
in their community's efforts.
"Closing the Loop"
The project also works toward "closing the loop" by promoting use of
recycled materials. One grocery store hosting a drop-off site introduced
green "please return for recycling" shelf tags under certain products and
additional shelf tags listing the recycled content of packaging with a
"smiley-face earth" logo. One national cookie brand's sales representative
who toured the shelves was concerned because his competitor's brands displayed
these attention-getting shelf tags; he has since been working to convince
his company to adopt recycled packaging.
CCR has received start-up and ongoing support from a wide range of local,
state and national sources. The Gary Clean City Coalition provided CCR
with administrative and clerical services and office space until the facility
in Griffith was completed. All current CCR staff volunteered their time
during the start-up phase; community volunteers as well as community service
workers assigned by county and city courts still help to support the program.
Grocery site locations are donated by the merchants, who also contribute
$1,000 and help find "shelf sponsors," such as local dairies and the local
newspaper, to make matching contributions.
CCR has received some equipment on loan, such as a $10,000 can crusher/separator
and a vertical baler that will become CCR's own property after five years.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management provided advice as well
as funds for equipment. The Hoosier Environmental Council and Greenpeace
contributed advice on legislative matters. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance,
based in Washington, DC, facilitated the development of the joint venture
and provided technical assistance in helping to draft the business plan
and obtain financing.
Key Elements of Success
The experience of the participants was a critical element of the project's
success. The Gary Clean City Coalition played a major role in getting the
city to establish and expand a curbside recycling program, and Brothers'
Keeper had collected newspapers as a source of income for years. 2-Ladies
began as a volunteer, recycling educational effort initiated by a mayor's
committee in Hobart. Marie Fryar and her partner participated in this effort
but found that "education was not enough if there was nowhere to take the
stuff," and opened the first drop-off center in 1989 on land left by her
father-in-law. Fryar became convinced that "it is necessary to prove there
are viable alternatives in order to affect legislation and local policy."
2-Ladies, the Gary Clean City Coalition and other groups worked with the
Hoosier Environmental Council and the Lake County Solid Waste Management
District Advisory Board to insure that proper recycling programs were implemented.
In addition to credibility as recycling operators, their years of working
on the Community Recycling Cooperative Effort for the Environment gave
2-Ladies a strong base of support in local communities. Fryar recounts:
"we worked with the mayors, with the churches, the Chambers of Commerce,
the Kiwanis Clubs, the Boy Scouts, the grocery store owners, old, young,
everybody." This made them "somebody to be reckoned with" in the political
arena and helped them win the district contract.
Barriers to Credit for Nonprofit Recyclers
The major barrier to expansion and self-sufficiency for CCR has been
lending institutions' refusal to provide matching financing, largely due
to policies on collateral. CCR was told that their $80,000 of equipment
is not on the list of acceptable loan collateral and that recycling equipment
is "too specialized". The contract for $178,000 a year from the Lake County
Solid Waste Management District was also considered insufficient security
for the loaneven after CCR, at the banks' request, renegotiated an extended
four year contract. Banks were unwilling to accept future sales of recyclable
materials as collateral for purchasing equipment.
The unanticipated barriers to obtaining credit for nonprofit recyclers
set back the program schedule in the initial business plan, as CCR has
had to focus on fundraising from local business donations and grants or
loans from the state and from foundations. The three sites scheduled to
come on line and the final twelve drop-off sites will be set up by the
end of the summer, now that CCR is obtaining the necessary equipment and
financing. Meanwhile, a new business pilot program is picking up materials
from a major appliance distributor and a tavern.
Iowa energy programs
Des Moines, Iowa
Contact: Ms. Roya Stanley; Chief, Energy Bureau; Iowa Department of
Natural Resources; Wallace State Office Building; Des Moines, IA 50319-0034;
Tel: (515) 281-8681;
Fax: (515) 281-6794
Inception Date: 1985
Participants: Iowa's Department of Natural Resources; government facilities,
schools, hospitals, local governments and other non-profit organizations;
Project Type: Energy management, renewable resource development, alternative
Methods Used: Innovative energy legislation and financing arrangements,
marketing and public education, development of comprehensive energy plans
Lessons Learned: Importance of state and federal legislation for comprehensive
energy planning. Necessity of innovative financing systems and marketing.
Value of modeling education and utility leadership.
In 1985 Iowa began an ambitious series of innovative legislative program
and planning strategies aimed at improving the state's economy and decreasing
its dependence on external energy resources. Its goal was to reduce overall
energy use, develop "home-grown" renewable energy sources, and to build
a local renewables industry.
Using Energy More Efficiently
The goal of the Building Energy Management Programs of Iowa's Department
of Natural Resources is to achieve annual energy savings of $50-60 million
on a capital investment of $300 million in all state facilities, schools,
hospitals, and local government and other nonprofit organizations through
the implementation of cost-effective building energy management improvements
that have a payback period of six years. Improvements range from caulking
and weather-stripping to replacing boilers and chillers.
Traditionally, lack of capital has limited investments in energy efficiency.
To overcome this problem, the State of Iowa has developed several innovative
financing programs. In 1985 a state law was passed authorizing state agencies
to use lease-purchase financing for improvements and setting up a non-profit
corporation to facilitate implementation. Savings that result from these
improvements go to meeting the lease payments. A School Energy Bank, set
up in 1986, assists schools with energy audits, engineering analyses (paid
for with six-month interest-free loans), and lease financing for improvements.
Additional enabling legislation, passed in 1987, allows all school districts
to get the same low interest rate regardless of credit rating. Other legislation
set up similar programs for hospitals, private colleges, and local governments.
By the end of 1993, $113 million in improvements had been identified and
about 16% of these installed. Future programs will focus on industrial
and commercial facilities, as well as promotion to other states.
Increasing "home-grown" energy resources
Iowa's Comprehensive Energy Plan, developed in 1990 by the Department
of Natural Resources, calls for 10% of Iowa's energy usage to be composed
of renewables by 2010. Due to the large number of highly-rated wind sites
in Iowa, wind energy will be the primary resource used. A study by the
Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that wind turbines could generate
more than two trillion kilowatt-hours per year in the state. Additional
sources will be biomass, including ethanol, wood waste, methane, and municipal
As with the Building Facilities Program, legislation has made development
of this capacity possible. In 1992 the Iowa Utilities Board set guidelines
requiring purchase by utilities of 105 megawatts of electricity generated
by alternative power producers. A 1993 law exempted wind generation equipment
from state sales tax and allowed local governments to exempt landowners
from paying additional property taxes on the value of wind conversion systems.
In addition renewable energy projects by cities, counties, and school districts
became eligible for low-cost financing through the Iowa Energy Bank Program,
operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The Spirit Lake Community School District in northwestern Iowa was one
of the first institutions to benefit from this program. Using funds from
the U.S. Department of Energy's Institutional Conservation Program and
low-cost financing from Iowa's Energy Loan Bank Program, the school district
built a 250-kilowatt wind turbine in 1993. In the first year of operation
the district saved $26,000 which, according to Superintendent Harold Overman,
"will provide a computer lab a year for our students."
The 1990 legislation requiring investor-owned utilities to purchase
105 megawatts of independently produced energy provides an added economic
benefit to the school district. They can sell excess electricity to Iowa
Electric at a guaranteed rate. Because this mainly occurs during the summer
when school is closed, this supply serves to meet the utility's additional
The students benefit by learning about energy conservation and other
environmental concepts, e.g, the wind turbine will keep 1800 pounds of
pollutants and 650,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
They are monitoring the wind speeds and turbine production data with classroom
computers and sharing this and other information with other schools through
the Iowa Communication Network.
The success at Spirit Lake has inspired other initiatives. A local manufacturer
in Adair, Iowa installed a wind turbine early in 1995. The system is expected
to provide 70-80% of the company's electrical needs and to pay back within
eight years. It also prompted a gift from two philanthropists of two generators
to the Nevada County School District and a third to a community hospital.
Integrated resource planning: Waverly, Iowa
In 1990 Iowa required municipal utilities to report their energy efficiency
plans by 1992. Waverly was the first utility to submit its comprehensive
plan, which has become a model for others in the state.
Waverly is a small, growing farm town of 9,000 in northeastern Iowa.
Its publicly-owned electric utility, Waverly Light and Power, serves roughly
4,000 customers in a 33-square mile service area. It generates 45% of its
power while the rest is purchased from Midwest Power Systems (MPS). During
the late 1980's energy demand grew at a rate of 4.2% annually from an increase
in population and small businesses, Faced with a contract termination with
MPS in 1999 and steady growth in demand, it became increasingly concerned
about future energy supplies. It looked to Osage, Iowa, where an impressive
set of demand-side management programs had achieved 100% participation
and significant savings for the city.
In 1990, the board of Waverly Light and Power hired a new general manager
and energy efficiency expert, Glenn Cannon, who prepared the utility's
first integrated resource plan in 1992. It identified fifteen environmental
and conservation goals which provided cost-effective strategies and rationales
for increasing customer efficiency and conservation in the use of energy
and for investing in renewable resources.
The demand-side programs involve residential, commercial, and industrial
customers. They include energy efficiency in new building construction;
residential audit and appliance rebate programs; commercial audit, lighting
and HVAC programs; home loan programs; and a demonstration electric vehicle
On the renewable supply side, after extensive research Waverly Power
and Light installed an 80 kilowatt wind turbine on an acre of land leased
from a local farmer. Although it is the costliest source of energy in its
current supply, the utility foresees that wind will play a permanent part
in its future mix. It is also a source of local pride among residents.
With the University of Northern Iowa, Waverly has also established the
Midwest Wind Energy Program to provide evaluation, demonstration, and dissemination
of wind energy information. In the words of Mr. Cannon, "We have a moral
obligation to our customers and society as a whole to provide electrical
service in the most responsible manner, and that's got to include the environment."
By developing an integrated energy plan, implementation has come at
minimal cost for Waverly Power and Light. Careful planning ensures that
energy-efficient appliances and other equipment were available before the
plan was implemented. Effective communication and public education through
radio spots and newspaper advertisements and public meetings reduced the
need for expensive promotions and incentives.
In addition the success of the program was a boost for the local economy,
making it possible for the utility to make an interest-free loan available
to buy land for an industrial park. Administration commitment, efficient
use of resources, credible messengers, long-term strategic planning have
all been distinctive elements in this effort. For more information contact:
Glenn Cannon, General Manager, Waverly Light and Power, 1002 Adams Parkway,
P.O. Box 329, Waverly, IA (319) 352-6251 Fax: (319) 352-6254.
Key elements for success statewide
Favorable legislation and state assistance in research have been key
to the success of Iowa's energy programs. In the case of wind generation
technological innovations in turbine design and efficiency have greatly
reduced costs and increased technical reliability. As a result, there is
far more public support for renewable energy projects.
The programs of both the State of Iowa and the town of Waverly demonstrate
that careful, integrated, long-term resource planning addressing all sides
of the energy equation can succeed and bring economic, environmental and
educational benefits to communities as well as a sense of civic pride and
the opportunity to be a model for others to follow. Energy efficiency and
renewable sources result in a cleaner environment and fewer environmental
and health costs. Dependence on supplies of fossil fuels is reduced and
new industries, products, markets, and jobs created. Education has a significant
role in teaching sustainable energy use and development to future generations.
The land institute
Contact: Dr. Wes Jackson, Director; The Land Institute; 2440 Water Well
Rd.; Salina, KS 67401; Tel: (913) 823-5376; Fax: (913) 823-8728
Inception Date: 1976
Participants: Researchers, interns, scientists, land grant university
Project Type: Sustainable agriculture, natural resource conservation,
Methods Used: Research, peer-reviewed results, educational centers and
programs, partnerships with universities
Lessons Learned: Importance of vision, long-term view and demonstration
of principles. Value of educational exchange.
"When people, land, and community are as one, all three members prosper;
when they relate not as members but as competing interests, all three are
exploited. By consulting Nature as the source and measure of that membership,
The Land Institute seeks to develop an agriculture that will save soil
from being lost or poisoned while promoting a community life at once prosperous
The Land Institute was founded in 1976 by Wes Jackson and his wife,
Dana, to research and model new agricultural production methods that exemplify
the best of sustainability in agriculture, water and energy efficiency,
waste management, and shelter. According to Dr. Jackson, a farmer and plant
geneticist, its goal is to develop a system of agriculture that "saves
the soil, runs on sunlight, and rebuilds local community." This small institute
demonstrates what an enormous impact dedicated individuals with vision
can have by virtue of their commitment to change, their ability to model
what they believe in, and their inspiration to others.
Located on 28 acres south of Salina along the Smoky Hill River, the
Land Institute now covers 275 acres, 100 of which are the original prairie.
It began as a school to explore and model sustainability. Classes were
first held in the fall of 1976, but within a month a fire destroyed the
building. What happened next is symbolic. The students stayed and worked
with the Jacksons to use the resources available to build a solar-heated
classroom, an office and library and to begin their research.
For over two decades, staff, researchers and students have been learning
from native prairies, seeking to identify and grow perennial prairie grasses
in mixtures that would collectively retain and build topsoil, hold moisture,
counter pests naturally, produce high yields of edible seeds, and require
minimum tillage. They are taking the best of traditional empirically-derived
The Land Institute is based on a philosophy of "Natural Systems Agriculture",
or an agricultural system that takes its cue from natural ecosystems whether
they be prairies, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, alpine meadows or
Arctic tundra. It is this fundamental belief that distinguishes the Land
Institute from other research institutions. Natural ecosystems cannot be
understood by looking at individual parts rather as an integrated whole.
He sees nature as an analogue, believing that ecosystems have worked
for millions of years and have much to teach us. To the extent that researchers
can unlock their secrets, the land and people will benefit. The challenge
is to develop a more sustainable agricultural system.
Learning from the prairie
In their research, the Institute has tried to answer the following questions:
Will perennials have the same high yields of seeds produced by annuals?
Will this system address pest management effectively? Will a polyculture
produce as much or more than a monoculture? Will it produce its own nitrogen?
Through its research, the Land Institute has answered all the questions
except how the prairie can adequately develop its own nitrogen.
Innovative research and education
To expand this research the Land Institute recently joined forces with
Kansas State University in a collaborative development of a project. It
will set up ten "plant materials" systems centers around the country. They
will be located in different parts of the country so that an ecosystem
approach can be adapted to local conditions and different environmental
In each center there will be a team of scientists comprised of ecologists,
plant breeders, biotechnologists and environmental historians. All the
scientists will be under 40 so that in their lifetimes they can see the
results of their experiments to find what kinds of polycultures, or mixtures
of plants, will be best suited to different landscapes. Dr. Jackson estimates
that this 25-year program will cost around $750 million.
The Land Institute has also had some influence on what land grant universities
teach and research. Admirers in many of these institutions are engaged
in polyculture research and work in collaboration with the Land Institute
and Kansas State. Because of these efforts and increased public interest,
educational institutions are addressing sustainable agriculture more than
The transmission of this approach to the next generation and to interested
colleagues is integral to the mission of this institution. Every year eight
to ten interns come for ten months to study, write, conduct research, work,
and grow crops. Visiting scholars come as well.
Dr. Jackson is also a prolific writer and lecturer. He has written three
books, Becoming Native to this Place, Altars of Unhewn Stone:Science and
the Earth, and New Roots for Agriculture, as well as many articles, and
given numerous interviews.
Translating vision into action
Sunshine Farm Project
Begun in 1991, this project is intended to provide a type of control
for comparisons with the Land Institute's perennial prairie polyculture
research model. Conventional crops such as wheat, alfalfa and sorghum,
or monocultures, are being grown but using sustainable practices. The Land
Institute is also using an integrated approach that includes draft animals,
tractors fueled with vegetable oil, wind turbines, crop rotations, and
conservation tillage. By developing a farm that is regenerative and self-sufficient
in energy and food and that receives no subsidies, they will be able to
contrast and evaluate the two operations.
Matfield Green An Experiment in "Keeping the Books"
In this new experiment, a small town of 50 in the Flint Hills will be
used to gather data on inflows and outflows of materials, or what Dr. Jackson
terms "setting up the books for ecological community accounting." Here,
as in many rural areas, there is an increasing loss of "cultural seed stock"
and with it the diverse knowledge base that is a strength of any community.
Once a thriving town, Matfield Green has lost most of its residents
to the cities. What it has retained is clean air and water and a healthy
quality of life. Here, the Land Institute is developing a rural studies
center where researchers will identify how "to live within ecological limits."
Several assumptions are made: that communities can be studied; that they
have 'ecological capital'; that capital loss can be tracked; and that communities
need to "balance the books" if they are to be sustainable.
Unlike human settlements, the prairie has two identifiable features:
everything runs on sunlight, and it recycles all materials. In this study,
the Institute will attempt to identify what principles guide the human
community. How can we learn to live more sustainable lives? What is missing
or what could be added to the community experience that would help guide
the community toward sustainability? Matfield Green will become the research
center to answer these questions.
Back to the Future
Dr. Jackson uses the following analogy to explain the status of the
Institute's research. In 1903 the Wright brothers knew they were on to
something when they got the plane airborne at Kitty Hawk, but they could
not have foreseen the day when jets could fly across the ocean. He explains
that they are at the very beginning of a significant revolution in agriculture
and he cannot predict where this experiment is going. He is certain that
the kind of agriculture the Institute is seeking to model will reflect
the wisdom of ecosystems they are studying.
The Land Institute is primarily funded by foundation grants and contributions
from supporters in all 50 states and a number of other countries. Like
many nonprofit organizations it is vulnerable to changes in foundation
priorities and to the desire for short-term results. Reductions in funding
in recent years has meant that the staff has been reduced and salaries
cut. Although the ten centers will require substantial funding, Dr. Jackson
estimates that the return on investment will be substantial and is seeking
government funding for the centers.
Through its research and by training students and spreading the word
among the research community and reaching a wider audience, the Land Institute
is increasing the number of people and projects teaching and researching
in this new kind of thinking. It has already and continues to make a remarkable
contribution to developing innovative means of sustaining land, water,
air, people and communities.
Mountain association for community economic development
Contact: Don Harker, President; MACED; 433 Chestnut Street; Berea, Kentucky
40403; Tel: (606) 986-2373; Fax: (606) 986-1299
Inception Date: 1976
Participants: Residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, government
Project Type: Comprehensive community development, leadership development/training,
Methods Used: Technical assistance, training, education, revolving loan
Lessons Learned: Importance of residents in building sustainable communities.
Necessity of developing social capital including relationships among people
and organizations. Recognition of how much we need to learn about sustainable
The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
was formed in 1976 by ten community development organizations to improve
the quality of life in mountain communities, particularly that of low-income
residents. Its work encompasses the 49 eastern Kentucky counties served
by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
These communities face serious economic, social and environmental problems.
Of the 49 counties served, 38 are classified as distressed. Nearly 25,000
jobs have been lost in the state since 1979. The number of farms has declined
from 267,000 to just 88,000 since 1940. Poor agricultural, mining and logging
practices have left a toll on the environment throughout the state. The
population of the area generally lacks the education and skills to become
more employable. Only half the adults 25 and older have high school degrees,
and deep divisions remain between the haves and have-nots.
Over the years MACED has developed programs to facilitate economic renewal
and to increase the capacity of local citizens to build more sustainable,
equitable and prosperous communities. Its staff of 23 draws on its expertise
in finance and leadership development, community organizing, environmental
issues, business, law, and education. Its Board of Directors represents
the broad diversity of this region. Its annual operating budget is around
$1 million; the revolving loan fund, $3.5 million. Funds are derived from
government grants, private foundations and income from investments and
Economic Transitions and Transformations
Community Economic Development
MACED is best known for its work in communities to improve their economic
base. Its business development program supports projects to help low-income
people which private banks will not finance. Over the years, MACED has
helped to create more than 600 jobs through $8 million in investments in
20 enterprises, such as secondary wood manufacturing processes and more
efficient mill operations. It works with entrepreneurs and small businesses
and helps to create flexible manufacturing networks that help small businesses
work together on joint purchasing, training programs and collective marketing.
Government funding from such programs as the Discretionary Grants Programs
of the Office of Community Services (OCS) has played a key role in helping
companies become more competitive.
One successful example of MACED's ability to provide a timely infusion
of capital and ongoing technical assistance is the B & H Tool Works,
Inc., a tool and die manufacturer in Richmond, Kentucky. Begun in 1979
by two men in a garage, it grew to $150,000 in revenues by 1984. It sold
common stock to its employees, bought five acres and constructed a 1,200
square foot building. By 1985 they had 18 employees and sales of more than
$212,000. To take advantage of market opportunities they needed to raise
capital. MACED provided a $100,000 capital loan when no other source was
available. They also offered technical assistance with a business plan
and counseling on information and computer systems to help track costs
and market opportunities. They later were able to obtain a grant from the
OCS for $279,000.
Today B&H employs 115 people full-time in high skill jobs. Its sales
in 1995 are anticipated to be $6 million. Over one-third of its workers
earn $40,000 or more, which is double the average for the workers in the
area. The company, in turn, has benefitted the region and the state and
federal governments: the original OCS investment of $279,000 returns an
estimated $37,500 to the city and county, $125,000 to the state and $375,000
to the federal government each year through payroll taxes.
Kentucky Local Governance Project (KLGP)
Since 1991, the KLGP has worked at the grassroots level in nine counties
to help citizens make local government more responsible, accountable, open
and democratic. It encourages governments to solve local problems: repairing
unsafe roads, cleaning up polluted waterways and dumps, providing public
transportation to underserved areas, and enhancing parks and recreation
areas. It has also been effective in opening up opportunities for public
participation in governmental processes.
To help citizens become more informed about their communities and better
able to participate in local decision-making, MACED conducts workshops
using an adaptation of the Rocky Mountain Institute's Economic Renewal
model workshop and a compendium of case studies. These workshops have been
particularly effective in attracting much wider community representation
in discussing economic alternatives, a traditionally closed process.
In these workshops, participants identify assets and needs within the
communities and analyze case studies for their applicability to their specific
communities. In the course of the workshop they are asked to list a number
of proposed projects. In recent workshops facilitators, Don Harker and
Liz Natter, have added the issue of sustainability by asking participants
to identify and incorporate sustainability indicators into their thinking
processes about which local enterprises might work. They have also added
follow-up workshops to define the next steps, timelines and areas of responsibility.
In addition, the Local Governance Project has provided the ongoing technical
assistance that is key to future implementation.
The KLGP also provides small stipends (roughly $2000/year per group)
to undertake special projects such as creating summer youth programs, improving
a community center, or providing scholarships.
Generating new initiatives
Over the years MACED has been instrumental in helping to form new organizations
that complement its work. Forward in the Fifth is a group dedicated to
educational quality in eastern and southern Kentucky. By working with local
affiliates that engage a broad cross-section of the community, this group
has helped to enhance education through mini-grants to teachers, student
attendance improvement and parent involvement programs. Since 1986 it has
supported local organizations, organizing over 2000 members in 39 counties
affecting local schools that enroll over 170,000 children.
Another representative organization, the Women's Initiative Network
Groups (WINGS), was formed by three women entrepreneurs to help women in
eastern Kentucky build skills and businesses through life assessment and
business training workshops.
Sustainable Communities Initiative
In recent years MACED has built upon the effectiveness of its past economic
development work to incorporate more fully the principles of sustainability
that recognize the interdependence of ecology, economy and equity. Instead
of simply looking at ways to create jobs, they are examining opportunities
to build a coordinated civic infrastructure in two counties that will enable
citizens to determine the future of their communities.
In 1995 MACED plans to launch a five-year Sustainable Communities Initiative
in Letcher and Owsley counties that will demonstrate how developing social
capacity can inform and lead to sustainable development. The economy in
the two counties centers on coal and agriculture. Owsley is Kentucky's
poorest county. With a poverty rate of 52.1%, it is largely made up of
small farms that grow tobacco. But its strength is in its active citizen
groups, some of which have participated in the Economic Renewal workshops
and are ready to diversify the economy. Letcher is a coal county with 31.8%
living below the poverty level. It has two notably progressive institutions,
its local newspaper and Appalshop, a nationally-recognized media center.
The Sustainable Communities Initiative will address fundamental problems
and opportunities in an integrated environmental, economic, and social
approach that makes efficient use of resources. It will demonstrate the
benefits of moving away from an economic growth model to one that improves
peoples' lives while reducing the use of natural resources. MACED will
work together with many local organizations as well as with other non-profit
groups that have special expertise. Both counties will work together and
develop linkages to other communities as well as to state, local and national
MACED plans to develop a guide about sustainable development and social
capacity for public education. This will complement its previous publication,
Where We Live: A Citizen's Guide to Conducting a Community Environmental
Inventory, authored by Don Harker and Elizabeth Ungar Natter, and a forthcoming
primer on sustainability for the general public.
Two of the ongoing challenges are finding entrepreneurs with the skills,
vision and willingness to undertake new approaches and developing the social
capacity for community sustainability. MACED's programs and new initiative
are specifically targeted to address these needs.
All of MACED's work is intended to guide communities toward more sustainable
development. Through local capacity building, technical assistance, education
and public outreach, MACED is helping citizens and businesses work together
to develop new approaches that improve their quality of life.
The coalition to restore coastal Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Contact: Mark Davis; The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana; 200
Lafayette Street, Suite 500; Baton Rouge, LA 70801; Tel.: (504) 344-6555;
Fax: (504) 344-0590; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scope: Regional, coastal, urban/rural
Inception Date: 1989
Participants: Businesses, community organizations, individuals
Project Type: Restoration/cleanup, public education, citizen-led initiative
Methods Used: Education, organizing citizens' groups
Lessons Learned: People can make a difference; motivated and informed
citizen action has catalyzed state and national policy; important to move
away from assigning blame and instead move toward solutions.
Studies through the years showed that the coast of Louisiana and the
only great delta ecosystem in North America, the Mississippi River delta,
was disappearing at the rate of 25 to 40 square miles per year: Between
1930 and today, Louisianas coastal land mass has shrunk approximately 1.2
million acres, or 30%. The state, which contained approximately 25 percent
of the coastal wetlands in the United States, was suffering about 80% of
all national coastal wetlands losses.
The delta is of economic as well as environmental importance. Its fisheries,
both recreational and commercial, contribute about $2 billion to Louisianas
economy each year, supply a large part of the nations commercial catch,
and about 50,000 to 70,000 jobs for the people of Louisiana. The delta
area provides about 50 percent of the nation's fur harvest. It is the nursery
and feeding area for millions of waterfowl. And the coastal wetlands provide
hurricane and storm protection for the inhabitants of the coastal zone.
This is important because about 65% of the population of Louisiana lives
within 50 miles of the coast.
Stewardship Basis for Growth
Concerns for the health and vitality of the coastal lands, its communities
and economy spurred informal meetings among environmental activists, scientists
and concerned coastal residents beginning in 1986. They came together to
discuss possibilities for taking action to halt the loss of coastal lands.
They recognized that the loss of land is caused by human actionsthe siting
and protection of industries, communities, levees, and transportation infrastructureas
much as natural occurrences. And they decided to try to do something to
halt the loss.
In 1987, several different religious denominations passed a common resolution
that urged the people of Louisiana, particularly those in coastal parishes,
to accept personal responsibility for environmental stewardship and to
support groups and politicians who did also. Over the next two years churches
and synagogues throughout coastal Louisiana sponsored 20 forums attracting
more than 2,000 people to learn about ways to protect and restore wetlands.
In early 1988, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) formed
out of the informal, ad hoc group, and was incorporated as a nonprofit
501(c)(3). By 1989, more than 60 clubs, businesses and organizations belonged
to the coalition. More than forty people served on the Board of Directors.
Most were representatives of religious organizations, universities, local
governments, service organizations, environmental groups, small businesses
or tourist bureaus. Among them were attorneys, scientists, environmentalists
and landowners. About twenty-five scientists and engineers agreed to act
as advisors. Today nearly 150 businesses, corporations, trade associations,
civic, religious and environmental groups and hundreds of individual members
are involved in CRCL activities to support its mission of advocating for
the restoration and preservation of the Mississippi River Delta and the
coastal wetlands of Louisiana.
Ambitious Citizen Action Plan Realized
The Coalition, which received foundation grants and challenge grants
that were matched by in-state donations, released a citizens' action plan
for saving the Delta, Coastal Louisiana: Here Today and Gone Tomorrow?,
in April, 1989. Draft reports were circulated among and commented on by
governments, fishermen's associations, research institutions, environmental
and conservation clubs, civic groups, religious organizations, coastal
landowners, scientific consulting firms and private businesses and industry.
The plan proposed to:
create dedicated, recurring and substantial state and federal
funds for investment to preserve and restore threatened coastal wetlands;
introduce the restoration of the Mississippi River Delta as an
important component of the national environmental agenda;
fast track and coordinate coastal wetlands restoration efforts
by the Governor's office; and,
convince Congress to expand the mission and mandate of the Army
Corps of Engineers to include wetlands creation and preservation in addition
to the traditional jobs of maintaining navigation and flood control.
The plan was considered extremely ambitious and generally was viewed
as unlikely to be realized in the foreseeable future. But in 1989, voters
of the state approved a constitutionally protected Wetlands Conservation
and Restoration Fund. A trust, it is funded by a portion of the oil and
gas royalties received by the state, which provides up to $20 million annually
to coastal restoration efforts.
The Coalition then developed a national "Save the Wetlands" campaign
that helped move Congress to pass the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection
and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) in 1990. CWPPRA provides $40 million annually
to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands.
Federal/State Task Force Oversees Restoration
A task force composed of six federal agencies (the Departments of the
Army, Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection
Agency) and the State of Louisiana was created to manage planning and project
construction. The task force gets input from citizens through public meetings
and an advisory Citizens' Participation Group (CPG). The Coalition to Restore
Coastal Louisiana has played a major role in the selection of restoration
projects under CWPPRA. In 1995, it led discussions of how to improve the
selection process used by the CWPPRA Task Force and the criteria it uses
in choosing restoration projects.
Over the past five years, 65 projects have been selected by the CWPPRA
task force and the state. Five of these projects have been completed, or
partially completed, and seven more are under construction. By year end,
eight are expected to be complete and 14 under construction.
Restoration projects range in estimated cost from a high of $8,142,000
to a low of $126,000. A sampling of completed projects include:
Bayou LaBranche Marsh Creation
Completed in April, 1994, this project recreated 350 acres of marsh
that had been lost to conversion and flooding. Once the area has settled,
it is expected to be a freshwater and intermediate marsh that will serve
as a valuable nursery habitat for finfish and shellfish.
Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Erosion Protection and Marsh
This project protects more than 640 acres of freshwater marsh to prevent
erosion of the spoil bank that separates the wetlands from the waterway.
Vegetative Planting Demonstration Project
Four locations, including West Hackberry in Cameron Parish, DeWitt-Rollover
in Vermillion, and Timbalier Island and Falgout Canal in Terrebonne, are
sites intended to demonstrate the suitability of using various plants to
decrease erosion in areas prone to salt water intrusion and wave action.
Citizens' Restoration Support Agenda
In its ongoing effort to support coastal restoration and preservation,
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has a number of projects on
its agenda designed to inform, involve and educate citizens, non-governmental
organizations, and businesses. These include:
supporting CoastWatch, local citizens' groups;
sponsoring student field trips;
developing educational programs ;
maintaining a speakers' bureau;
publishing CoastWise magazine, a semi-annual, and Coast Currents,
a monthly newsletter;
creating a Christmas Trees Project to build barriers in wetlands
using Christmas trees; and
testifying at state and national hearings in support of wetlands
protection and coastal restoration legislation.
CoastWatch is a project of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
CoastWatch groups are coalitions of local conservation and civic groups
and individuals formed by volunteers to work on water quality, habitat
or coastal restoration issues in their local area. Each region in Louisiana
is faced with different conservation or restoration issues so each CoastWatch
group sets its own agenda, structure and policy. The group becomes a way
for local citizens to gather and share information about important local
conservation issues, and to organize and act quickly when necessary. CoastWatch
monitored and made suggestions for expenditures for state and
federal coastal restoration funds;
improved sewage treatment laws and enforcement;
worked on regional river planning;
opposed projects harmful to the aquatic environment; and
produced education materials.
The Coalition offers CoastWatch groups the latest information on wetlands
and coastal issues; technical and legal expertise; assistance in forming
and maintaining an effective local conservation group; funding and development
assistance; and, statewide support for local initiatives.
The Coalition also sponsors workshops in different areas of the state
on issues related to coastal preservation. For example, it held a two-day
Barrier Shoreline Restoration workshop in New Orleans in the spring of
1995. More than 100 people attended to hear speakers and panel members
from as far away as Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia. The Coalition also
holds Louisiana Wetlands Workshops with local residents and guest speakers
showing how citizens depend on healthy wetlands for food, safety, recreation
Education projects include field trips that take students into coastal
wetlands to teach them about the problem of erosion and restoration solutions.
Other education projects include classroom presentations that use slides,
video and activities to explain the process of coastal loss and efforts
at coastal restoration in Louisiana.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is joining with six other
major coastal organizations to establish a national education campaign
about the importance of the nation's coastal resources and estuaries. The
campaign will focus on their value as fisheries and wildlife habitat and
their cultural and economic importance.
Contact: Dianne Tilton; Sunrise County Economic Council; 63 Main Street;
Machias, ME 04654-0679; Tel.: (207) 255-0983
Scope: Nine towns on Cobscook Bay
Inception Date: 1993
Participants: Individuals and organizations in the Cobscook Bay region
Project Type: Community economic development, sustainable indicators,
comprehensive community development
Methods Used: Small grants to local sustainable development projects,
Lessons Learned: Most people are not used to having the power to make
important decisions affecting their communities and local economies. Grassroots
economic development is getting everybody in the community involved in
every level of major decision making.
Sustainable Cobscook was founded by citizens from communities around
Cobscook Bay in northeastern Maine as an effort to plan and implement sustainable
development in their region. Four task forces composed of members of the
community have begun to establish and raise funding for local projects
in four areas: environment, economic development, education, and community/cooperation.
These efforts include a sustainable indicators project, a conference on
using Cobscook Bay as a teaching tool, a soft shell clam habitat restoration
and management project and a directory of regional cottage industries.
There are nine communities along the rim of Cobscook Bay, with a combined
population of 6,801 people. The lack of significant economic development
in the region threatens the qualities the people in Cobscook Bay wish to
maintain: their livelihoods, the natural environment, their communities
and their educational systems. Many people in the region are concerned
that some types of economic development could be a threat to those aspects
of the area as well. Residents are also concerned that if their towns are
unable to provide quality education and job opportunities, they face losing
their most precious resource as their children grow up and leave the area.
Sustainable Cobscook is part of the Northern New England Sustainable
Communities Project, a three-state initiative funded by the Ford Foundation.
The underlying principle of the Project is that only the people living
in a community can decide how to enhance or preserve what they value most.
Sustainable Cobscook received $10,000 from the Ford Foundation its first
year and $40,000 each of two following years.
Each of the four task forces received $6,500 per year to use however
they decided. The task forces are also authorized to seek other sources
of funding. The only restriction made by the Ford Foundation was that grant
money could not be used to pay staff salaries. The Foundation wants the
money to be used only to increase capacity in the community.
Indicators of Sustainable Development
The first action taken by the Economic Development Task Force was to
hire a student intern from the College of the Atlantic to begin developing
indicators to measure the status of the four commonly held values of the
residents of the Cobscook Bay area.
Some of the specific indicators chosen by the task force are the dollar
value of local fish landings to indicate economic health; the percentage
of nesting eagles that successfully reproduce to indicate the health of
the environment; the number of organizations with regional interests to
determine the level of community and cooperation; and school test scores
to indicate the quality of local educational institutions. These indicators
will be used to track the history of changes in different aspects of life
in the region as well as to determine if and when successes have been achieved
in different areas.
Teaching About Local Ecosystems
All of the task forces provided funds for an Environmental Teaching
Conference to be held during the summer of 1996 to train teachers to use
Cobscook Bay as a learning tool. They hope that this will instill in young
children an appreciation of the importance of the Bay ecosystem to the
The Education Task Force has also contributed money to create a computer
animation project for students in area schools that illustrates how the
ecosystem of Cobscook Bay works. The program will create a visual record
of how the Bay is changing with time. The second phase of the project will
be a simulation program for the ecosystem of the Bay which will allow students
to learn how different factors affect the Bay.
Reviving the Clam Industry
Because of poor water quality and over-harvesting, the soft shell clam
industry, which was a large part of the regional economy less than 15 years
ago is now virtually nonexistent. The Environmental Task Force received
a grant of $75,000 over two years from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
and the Cox Charitable Trust to create a regional soft shell clam habitat
restoration and management project.
This project will encourage regional shellfish management practices
around Cobscook Bay, coordinate information among towns, and encourage
local water quality testing using local school students and volunteers.
The project will be working with the Maine Department of Marine Resources
to open closed clam flats that are safe to reopen. The Environment Task
Force is also investing funds in a clam seeding project to seed newly opened
Helping a New Agricultural Industry
The cranberry industry has recently returned to the Cobscook Bay region
after a 50 year absence. The cranberry growers association educates new
farmers about how to properly use pesticides. The industry is currently
small, so the growers association is underfunded. There have also been
problems with cranberry farmers using pesticides in larger than needed
applications. The Economic Development Task Force is trying to correct
this problem by contributing two thousand dollars for research to identify
available funding for the growers association to hire staff. The association
plans to be able to support itself within five years because the industry's
barrel self-tax will bring in more money as cranberry growing becomes more
popular in the region.
Building Awareness of Cottage Industries
Many people in the Cobscook Bay area are self-employed, making products
or performing services out of their homes. Most of these businesses advertise
solely by word of mouth which means that people that don't know about them
will often leave the region for products or services they need. To make
people more aware of these local products, the Economic Development Task
Force is creating a directory of all the businesses and services available
from cottage industries in the nine town area.
Bringing communities closer together
Lubec and Eastport, the largest two towns on Cobscook Bay, are separated
by only two miles across the water but are forty miles apart by land. The
Community/Cooperation Task Force has contributed funds for Lubec to acquire
a water taxi that will be used to transport people between the two towns.
Building community involvement
A local ad-hoc steering committee met regularly during the first several
months of the project in order to plan public participation and educate
themselves on the concept of sustainable development. A series of public
meetings, with attendance ranging from 10 to forty people, were subsequently
held to determine commonly held values in the community.
According to Dianne Tilton, Executive Director of the Sunrise County
Economic Council, people who participated in the public participation phase
of Sustainable Cobscook began to take ownership over the project: "We had
teachers, town officials, people from the land trust, retirees, people
from the historical society, students from the technical college. I think
they feel ownership of the project because they made all of the decisions.
The foundation didn't say we want you to come up with economic development.
They had to come up with every step on their own. It was brutal but they
can look at the results and can see that it comes from the community up
rather than from the top down."
Tilton feels that community participation has been both the key element
in the success of Sustainable Cobscook and the greatest barrier encountered
along the way. The project became complicated in the short run as more
people got involved. However, it is more successful in the long run because
the community supports the effort and because the project reflects the
values of the community.
Institute for Southern Studies
P.O. Box 531
Durham NC 27702