Bostrum/My Turn: Halfway to Green
It has been a delight for me to call Greenfield home the last 11 years. We farm here, our children go to school here, my wife practices here and we worship in town. It is, and has been, a very comfortable place to live.
However, as I pass through town I am concerned about the vacant storefronts, closed businesses and town-owned commercial property. In addition, the town appears to have lost its core, its mission, the purpose of its existence. Basically, we are unidentifiable.
Our Vermont neighbors have developed a community-based, art-themed micro-city. The Hampshire county neighbors are aggressively focusing on becoming the entertainment Mecca of our area. Greenfield, despite its wonderful attributes, seems to flounder between the two.
However, we are half-built to becoming a powerhouse in the area that may put us back on the map and we really can’t see it. It has the potential to help many of the businesses in town, big and small, add value to our community, homes and property and create a core set of values that every citizen will be able to participate in and contribute to.
Our lovely Greenfield gives way to becoming the center of sustainability, the place of Green. We are halfway there. Greenfield is home to two major, commercial recyclers, Martin Farm and wTe.
Agricultural, composting, recycling and community involvement are taught in our elementary schools. We have a new mass transit transportation center, a solar energy producing dump, a community farm on town-owned land that is protected from development, a food processing center, a pickle maker, a couple of solar-energy installation companies, great water from the Green River, and, of course, open, tillable agricultural land.
Oh, did I forget to mention the community college that is bike-able, from downtown that has farming and alternative energy in the curriculum.
So how is this going to help the banks and store keeper’s downtown? For us to become something, it needs 100 percent involvement. A bank, for example, could lend to their commercial clients for renewable-energy projects and to their home mortgage clients to improve energy efficiency in their homes. For the storekeeper and retailer downtown, have a section of sustainable or green products. Make this a destination place for people looking for sustainable and green products and services.
The mission is to target, collaborate and gain strength and create our future. This is an ideal time to incorporate this vision into the town’s Sustainable Master Plan. Let’s develop a plan, proactively, rather than reacting in the future.
Kyle Bostrom lives with his family in Greenfield and has a small grass-based livestock farm in the Meadows.