A brief, if incomplete history of Post Oil Solutions, by way of celebrating our 13th Anniversary.
Post Oil Solutions
June 13, 2005 – June 13, 2018
MISSION: A community organizing project to empower the people of the Central Connecticut River Valley bioregion to develop sustainable, collaborative, and socially just communities leading to a self-sufficient post petroleum society.
· Winter Farmers Market: November-March each year,13 years this coming November
· Climate Café: 4th Tuesday forum at Brooks Library with guest speakers, films & presentations about our existential crisis
· 99th Monkee Affinity Group: direct action/civil disobedience resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure in northern Massachusetts and northern Vermont; hosted 3 non-violent resistance trainings.
· TD Bank Protest: weekly Friday vigil at Brattleboro TD Bank since 2014, protesting bank’s investments in fossil fuel investments, successfully encouraging customers to switch banks; occasional direct action.
· Bi-Weekly Solidarity Vigil: in Bellows Falls, a vigil of community, solidarity and diversity
· A Vigil of Lovingkindness: though silent, the monthly Vigil of Lovingkindness is intended to give voice to these values that are the foundation of a wholesome society.
· The Naomi Group: a bi-weekly gathering around readings and discussion on how we, as individuals and communities, can deal with the climate crisis and the growing societal collapse, in new & imaginative ways, beyond traditional activism.
As a 501c3 non-profit, Post Oil has been able to serve as a fiscal sponsor of several worthy local organizations who share our values and do not have their non-profit status yet with which to seek grants or individual donations on their own. We have served, or are presently serving as a fiscal sponsor for the following:
· Edible Brattleboro (current)
· VBike (current)
· The Root (former)
· Food Connects (former)
· Brattleboro Time Trade (former)
EARLIER PROJECTS OVER THE YEARS (partial listing):
(Very Important Note: none of the following could have been attempted, much less accomplished, without the great number of unbelievable community activists and incredible VISTA volunteers we have been blessed with over the years. Post Oil is not a membership organization, nor do we have a paid staff; we have always been dependent upon inspired and committed people, the many folks over the years that we have always lovingly referred to as “little pos” who have made POS what it has been–and still is!—a truly community project.)
· “Buy Local, Eat Local” Campaign: 2005-06, our 1st project began with over 1000 people making the above pledge; we then took out a full-page ad in the 30 May 06 edition of the Reformer with the names of everyone who had signed on.
· Windham Localvores: grew out of the preceding campaign, 2006-08, most notable for sponsoring summer and winter localvore challenges where people committed to eating food grown no further than 100 miles from their homes.
· Localvore Listserve: the “Localvore Bible,” operating since 2005, the list serve provides any member to communicate with others about questions or concerns they have, items they need or wish to donate, trade or barter, farmers who have offers, etc.; incredible amount of knowledge & expertise, generosity & kindness
· Vermont Peak Oil Network: member from 2005-08, when VPON ended
· A CSA in Every Town: 2006-07, perhaps overly ambitious, we were only successful with starting a CSA in Wilmington; we did meet with other farmers.
· Brattleboro Food Co-op Eat Local Committee: a member until it ended, 2007-08.
· Windham Energy Group (WEG): 2007-09, Post Oil brought together regularly a variety of energy knowledgeable people from around the county to discuss how we might help communities become more energy sustainable. Eventually becameWindham County Co-op Power.
· Grafton & Saxtons River Climate Groups: helped start each and work with these 2 groups, 2006-09
· 501c3 application approved by Washington, 2008
· Seed Saving Group: brought interested parties together, 2009
· Townshend Common Farmers Market: founded and ran for several years (2008-12) before turning it over to a local community group.
· Community & School Gardens Project: Post Oil has both initiated and run local community gardens, 2006-present, from early ones in Brattleboro (Upper Dummerston, SIT, & Academy School) to later ones in Bellows Falls (the YMCA, Stone Church, Saxton River Elementary & Bellows Falls High School) to providing financial support to Moore Court and Ledgewood community gardens.
· (Re)Learning to Feed Ourselves: beginning with a tomato canning workshiop in 2005, we have run 40 + workshops between 2005-14, teaching people how to garden, preserve, store, and cook local food.
· No Gardener Left Behind Forum: annual Spring event, 2009-2012, with a wide variety of displays, speakers, and presentations on gardening.
· Brattleboro Peak Oil Task Force: at Post Oil initiative, Brattleboro Select Board created a community Task force, 2007 that it then disbanded, 2008, after the group submitted its report.
· Fit and Healthy Kids Coalition member, 2009, did a number of workshops and cooking classes in low-income areas.
· YMCA Healthy Communities Coalition: member 2009-10
· Elliot Street Community Conversation: sponsored monthly event, 2011-13 until we turned it over to Transition Brattleboro, where local residents came to talk about their concerns.
· West River Community Conversation: sponsored monthly event, 2011-12 in effort to develop interest in sustainable communities in the greater Townshend-West Townshend/Newfane/Jamaica/Wardsboro area which, amongst other things, helped facilitate the transfer of POS Townshend Common Farmers Mkt to local control, created a children’s shelf at the Townshend Food shelf, & supported a Townshend community garden.
· Building Sustainable Communities Monthly Forum: forerunner of Climate Café, 2007-09
· No Idle Campaign/Curb Your Car: collaborated with Brattleboro Energy Coordinator, 2007-08; led to no-idling signage in Brattleboro
· Community Food Security Project (for which Post Oil received its first sizeable grant, $10,000, from the Vermont Community Foundation) launched in 2008-09 to make locally produced food accessible to everyone, that included (1) a regional Gleaning Partnership with Vermont Food Bank (realized 95,000 pounds of food in first 2 years; (2) the Market Basket Project (aka, Neighborhood Market) that featured wholesale prices from socially-conscious farmers in 2 lower to moderate income neighborhoods that people accessed with their EBT (food stamp) benefits; (3) a Rapid Community Food Assessment in Brattleboro to assess food security needs (that led to the Market Basket Project; and initiating Great Falls Food Hub Project); and (4) a 2 acre farm, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Initiative at the School for International Training that provided much of its harvest to people of low income especially at Brattleboro Drop-In Center
· Collaborated with the Amherst, MA group, RideBuzz, in 2008, to bring a number of Brattleboro businesses together around this ride-sharing program
· Recipient of Annual Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Award, 2010: first non-farm organization to receive this award, “In Recognition of Your Outstanding Team Effort to Build Sustainable, Collaborative, and Socially Just Communities.”
· Windham Farm Bureau: member 2009-11, further relationship building with area farm community
· iMatter Student Mothers Day Parade: brought together and collaborated with area high school and college students, May 2011, for an expression of youth sentiment around climate change; march through Brattleboro, speeches and music at the Common.
· Windham County Farm to School Program: 2010-14, largely WSESU school district though also involved with WCSU & WNESU. Promoting healthy school lunches, school gardens, food literacy curriculum & local farm visits. This subsequently became a part of Food Connects
· Food Security Collaborative: workshops and community & school gardens in the greater Bellows Falls/Rockingham/Westminister/Saxtons River area, 2012-14; funded by a Ben & Jerry’s grant.
· Great Falls Food Hub Project: 2009-12, a working collaborative with
SEVCA and partners in Grafton County, New Hampshire, in an effort to realize a 3-tier food hub (processing, storage and transportation) that was finally realized as a 2-state food hub by what became Food Connects.
· Food Connects: a combination of Post Oil’s Farm to School program, Buying Club program in area schools, and the Neighborhood Market at Green Street School became an independent entity in 2014.
· Climate Change and the Arts Project: in an effort to engage arts-connected people with climate change, 2014-15, POS initiated several projects including contracting local artists in works that expressed their view of climate change (showings at The Works & Hooker-Dunham), paintings on former oil drums about climate change by BUHS students (later displayed in school), and a climate revue by local singers, musicians, and actors at Hooker-Dunham.
Post Oil Solutions