Empowering Local Clean Energy Action in 2022, 10-11:30 a.m. Friday Jan. 14

The CT Energy Network Presents Empowering Local Clean Energy Action in 2022 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.

It will be a 90-minute info session covering:

· The new PACE Path to 100% Handbook
· Using social media to highlight local efforts
· Strengthening the network of CT clean energy advocates

As local clean energy advocates across the state make plans for the year ahead, PACE and the CT Energy Network would like to share several helpful resources. Foremost among these is a new handbook for local clean energy groups to take concrete steps to promote energy efficiency, renewables and electrification. We will send out this handbook to all registrants; we hope that you will find it useful and will help us improve it based on your practical experiences.

 

In addition, this event will share some recent efforts to use social media to highlight efforts of local clean energy advocates. PACE is eager to support local teams in spreading the word on events, initiatives and programs being carried out locally. Finally, we would like to use this event to further strengthen and empower our Connecticut clean energy community. With your help, the CT Energy Network and PACE would like to help advance these collaborations.

Who should attend:

All local clean energy advocates, including those that already belong to a dedicated group (e.g., task force, commission, sustainability team), as well as folks from towns that do not yet have an organized group of this kind.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/empowering-local-clean-energy-action-in-2022-group-therapy-tickets-235543957317

Campaign to Replace Off-Road Gas Engines

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Do you enjoy the smell of leaf blowers or lawnmowers in the afternoon? How about the sound which can equal the decibels at close range of jackhammers? If you don’t like it, think about the lawncare worker who has to put up with it for 6 or 8 hours a day.

Promoting Enduring Peace is working to get these machines replaced with electric versions. The two biggest reasons are their greenhouse gas emissions and the danger to the workers. The typical leaf blower uses a two-stroke engine and unlike an auto or truck has nothing on it to limit pollution. In 2011 the car company did a study and found that the “hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a [Ford-150] Raptor.” Sounds crazy, but it hasn’t been refuted.

The biggest danger is to lawncare workers. They breathe in aerosolized fuel and other pollutants for hours a day, greatly increasing their chances of getting cancer. Most wear sound-protecting ear gear, but it’s unclear the amount of protection they give. The second danger is less immediate, but affects all of us, the carbon dioxide these machines send into the air. A study in 2015 by the EPA found that 4% of the CO2 the US sends off each year comes from these machines.

Electric-powered lawn equipment has been getting better and more powerful and can do the work of the fossil fuel-powered machines. We need legislators to propose measures to deal with the transition. It’s been done in California. The sale of off-road gas engines will be illegal there in 2024. There are local efforts in Stamford, New Haven and Hamden to ban the leaf blowers, but we need to think bigger.

One thing that could be done is to give away free electric-powered machines in exchange for the gas-powered relics. Rebates and incentives are part of the law about these engines in California.

To help out with this effort contact Stanley.Heller@pepeace.org.

People’s Action for Clean Energy News

Dear Friend,

We hope that you and your family remain well in these challenging times. While 2021 has been difficult on many fronts, there is also cause for hope. Our national leaders understand the urgency of the climate crisis and are now making historic investments in clean energy and resiliency. There is no turning back from this realization, and we must now apply this sense of urgency to rebuild our economy cleanly, efficiently and equitably.

2021 has been a watershed year for PACE. For the first time ever, we have a full-time employee, and we are thrilled to introduce to you Deb Roe, our new Program Manager. Deb joined us from her role as Executive Director of Northeast Storytelling and brings a wealth of experience, insights and energy to the team!

PACE’s core mission remains working with towns across the state to help them understand their energy usage and transition to 100% clean renewable energy. To this end, over the past year we have:

  • Conducted “HeatSmart” campaigns to promote energy efficiency and heat pumps in the towns of Branford, Guilford, Middletown, Bethel, and, soon West Hartford,
  • Completed a groundbreaking project to quantify the potential of solar energy on parking lots in the state and PACE is now working with Branford on a solar canopy campaign,
  • Published a Clean Energy Handbook for local clean energy advocates,
  • Built and analyzed unique databases of all buildings and vehicles in the state,
  • Enhanced the PACE energy model and created analyses for the towns of Brookfield and Stonington (a service we offer at no cost to any interested town),
  • Conducted six virtual gatherings of the CT Energy Network (along with Clean Water Action) on topics ranging from solar canopies and all-electric homes and cars to municipal leadership, DEEP and the future of renewable energy tariffs.

Please help us to engage your town with our programs; as residents you play a valuable role in connecting PACE’s 100PercentCT program to your town.

Thank you,

Mark Scully, President and Bernie Pelletier, Vice President
PACE. PO Box 134, West Simsbury, CT 06092
Email: PACE4CT@gmail.com
Phone: (917) 843-7214, pacecleanenergy.org

2022 Organic Vegetable Gardening Series

Junyi Wang, Communications Specialist, Neighborhood Housing Services

Are you or a loved one a gardener who can’t wait for the ground to thaw? Prepare for Spring with our 6-class organic vegetable gardening series taught by Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk! All classes are virtual and take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For many New Haven residents, food security is elusive. We like to do our part in helping neighbors grow fresh, healthy organic produce, in soil that’s been tested for lead and other contaminants. That’s why every year we offer this series for free to New Haven community gardeners, and we offer a help-a-neighbor rate for those who would like to help us make additional scholarships available.

February 12: Soils and Composting – The most important component for a successful garden is soil health. Learn how to make your own compost and everything else you need to keep your soil healthy for the most productive garden.

February 19: Garden Planning & Season Extenders – Ensure a long and productive growing year with row covers, organ-ic mulch, cold frames and more! Get the most out of even a small garden space.

February 26: Cool Weather Crops – Start your garden as soon as the soil thaws, even in mid-March! This class covers how and when to plant cool weather crops and manage their pests and diseases.

March 5: Warm Weather Crops – Learn how to make the best of our growing season including which warm-weather crops are best started indoors, which can be direct-seeded, what conditions and fertilizers each crop prefers and how to fight their pests and diseases organically.

March 12: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 19: Essential Flowers & Herbs for Vegetable Gardens — Flowers and herbs attract pollinators and beneficial insects to help keep your garden healthy and productive. Learn about the best flowers and herbs for your garden, how to plant them and the conditions they need to help you in your garden. Register at Virtual Gardening Series 2022, NHS of New Haven Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

Any questions? Contact Kathy Fay, (203) 562-0598 ext. 225, kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

CT Green Energy News

Study: Business lobbying a major barrier to clean energy legislation in Connecticut
Energy News Network. Dec. 17, 2021

“Brown University researchers found that utility and business interests outspend environmental organizations on lobbying 8-to-1, though an industry group says the study overstates its spending and influence on energy…’Environmental groups and ordinary citizens will never have the money or resources to match what Ever-source and the CBIA spend to influence lawmakers. But broad majorities of Americans see climate change as a serious problem and are demanding action from their elected leaders. So the real power is at the polls.'”

TEDxHartford

In this 17 minute video, Connecticut’s own Leticia Colon de Mejias talks about her journey from unawareness to alarm about the dangers of climate change. Her overall message is one of hope and a call to action: climate change is solvable.

3 of 5 ex-utility officials guilty of theft in lavish trips

AP News. “Five former utility officials were found not guilty Friday on a charge of conspiracy, while the same federal jury found three guilty of theft stemming from lavish trips they took to the Kentucky Derby and a luxury golf resort. The junkets had been arranged by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative for dozens of top staff, board members, family members and others from 2013 to 2016.”

Public Utilities Regulatory Authority 101
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 12:30 p.m.

Who oversees public utilities? How are rates determined? How are decisions about energy sources made? The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has regulatory oversight of public utilities in Connecticut, including electric, natural gas, and water. Join the discussion about utility regulation with PURA Chair Marissa Gillett. Look for this article online at par-newhaven.org for the link to register for this webinar.

CT Green Energy News is brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action. It features news and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels. To subscribe, email peter.millman7@gmail.com.

Chastening Chase ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

by Melinda Tuhus, PAR reader and environmental activist

Local activists undertook a weekly protest of Chase Bank during the month of December, sometimes outside the bank on Church/Wall streets, and sometimes at other venues with lots of people, like the Christmas tree lighting on the Green and the Wooster Square farmers’ market. We reached a lot of people with our flyer explaining that Chase has invested $317 billion in fossil fuel projects in the past five years, 29% more than the next leading bank, and that it must stop doing so. Customers said they would share the information with bank employees, and a few said they were canceling their accounts and moving their money elsewhere (the Connex credit union is a block away). The branch manager said he would share the letter we gave him with his higher-ups. We’re hoping CEO Jamie Dimon hears about it. (This is part of a national campaign targeting Chase.) More information is at StoptheMoneyPipeline.org and www.bankingonclimatechaos.org.

To help, please contact me at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com. Put CHASE in CAPS in the subject line.

Here are some of the songs we sang outside of Chase Bank:

O Come on Chase Bank (to the tune of O, Come All Ye Faithful)
O Come on Chase Ba-ank,
Di-vest from the pipelines.
Come, be responsible: respect
Treaty rights!
Why don’t you bankers finance
Cleaner energy?
You could invest in solar.
You should invest in solar.
You must invest in solar
And Di-vest from oil!

Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells, Something smells…
Another oi-l spill.
Bank of Chase, You’ve gotta know
That dirty oi-l kills. HEY!
Jingle Bells, come on Chase,
Make a New Year’s vow:
Use your might and do what’s right
Stop funding fossils now!

Bankers need to know
That we are not okay
With ramming pipelines through,
Spilling all the way.
So, Bank of Chase rethink
Your thoughtless policy.
People before Profits
Is a better strategy, HEY!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Clean power we need, not dirty Fracked gas
Clean power for climate and a happy Workforce!

Chorus

Oh Chase Bank please stop investing
Oh, Chase Bank please stop investing
Oh, Chase Bank please stop investing
In Dirty Energy.

Dangers of Tweed Airport Expansion

by Rachel Heerema, 10,000 Hawks

10,000 Hawks is an all-volunteer group of neighbors and concerned citizens working together for a high quality of life for all in East Haven and New Haven. We have many shared concerns and wishes for our families and future generations.

Right now, the most significant impact on our lives is the proposed Tweed expansion. Go to www.10000hawks.org to review primary documents and news articles.

Here are the bare bones of our concerns with the Tweed Airport 5-year Master Plan:

  • Six gates in a new terminal sited on extant wetlands with harmful impacts on wildlife and water
  • 15-16 flights a day with +3,000 cars a day on residential streets
  • Noise and air pollution in a 5-mile radius
  • Tweed floodplain will be underwater by 2050, due to estimated sea level rise of 20′
  • East Haven and New Haven home values will drop, and long-time residents may leave
  • The recommendation that the main runway should be extended to 7,600′ within the next 20 years

Additionally, the 43-year lease agreement contains language that supports eminent domain procedures and cargo flight approval processes.

Join us. Here are two email addresses to know. 1) 10000hawks@gmail.com to sign up for weekly updates and join weekly advocacy calls. 2) hvn-ea@mjinc.com to make a public comment on the Environmental Assessment currently underway.

The best comments to make ask questions that the Assessment should investigate and consider.  Contact Rachel Heerema at 10000hawks@gmail.com with questions.

Have an Idea to Clean Up Your Community? Want Funding for It?

by Lynne Bonnett, Greater New Haven Green Fund

The Greater New Haven Green Fund is now receiving applications for small community grants up to $10,000 that engage and empower citizens and organizations to help create clean, healthy and environmentally sustainable communities in New Haven, Hamden, East Haven and Woodbridge.
If you are interested in applying for a grant please visit our website: http://www.gnhgreenfund.org for more information and to access the application.

We can be reached by emailing us at info@gnhgreenfund.org to set up a time to chat or answer any questions that you might have.

The online application is open now and will close at the end of Jan., 2022.

Climate activist launches protest write-in campaign for mayor

by Anastasia Hufham, Yale Daily News

Environmental activist urges New Haven residents to vote for the land in the city’s mayoral race.

Gabriela Campos, a lifelong environmental activist, has joined New Haven’s mayoral race as a write-in candidate, urging residents to vote for “The Land for Mayor” in protest of the city’s response to the Tweed New Haven Airport expansion and other environmental issues.

Campos’ campaign focuses on respect for the environment and New Haven neighborhoods. She proposes “listening circles” in each neighborhood, wherein heads of city departments would meet with community members on a regular basis to hear concerns and confront other issues. Her proposed agenda also emphasizes the need for food forests — similar to robust community gardens — sustainable architecture, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, ranked-choice voting and a coastal-resiliency plan in New Haven.

“I don’t even want people to vote for me, just to vote in protest,” Campos said. “Write in ‘the land.’ If we care for the land, our needs are met. If there are enough of us who vote for the land, they’ll have to listen.”

Campos grew up in Peru, where her environmental activism began. She remembers scolding a boy in her neighborhood for hurting caterpillars and recalls her family’s emphasis on respecting the earth. Her family immigrated to the United States in the 1980s, first to California and then to Connecticut.

Read the rest of the story here Climate Activist Launches Protest Write-In Campaign for Mayor

CT Green Energy News from the Oct. 15 issue

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on CT. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA). To subscribe, email pace4ct@gmail.com.

CT promoted a natural gas expansion plan in 2014 that was supposed to save taxpayers money. Natural gas prices are now soaring, promising a costly winter.

Hartford Courant. “Critics of the Malloy administration’s energy policies say consumers who spent thousands of dollars to convert to natural gas have little to show for their investment now that gas prices are spiking. As prices fluc-tuate, with gas and oil taking turns as the more expensive heating fuel, family-owned oil dealerships say that was always their point: Markets, not government, dictate com-modity prices…The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in December that ratepayers are on the hook for about $64 million in higher gas costs for the expansion program. Risks of the program are “demonstrably greater” for ratepayers than the utilities’ shareholders, regulators said.”

CT, Rhode Island Teeter on Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Despite Democratic Majorities
CT News Junkie. “‘We do a really good job here in Connec-ticut of setting lofty ambitions,’ Haskell remarked on the state’s so-far unsuccessful efforts to reduce its carbon emis-sions below an agreed upon threshold. ‘Where we’re not so good is giving policymakers the tools to actualize those goals.'” Plus: Now is the best time to protect the climate. Pass the TCI.

Eversource asks regulators to approve settlement over Isaias response

CT Mirror.  “The Public Utilities Regulatory Agency heard Tuesday from Eversource and state officials about a pro-posed $103 million settlement tied to the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. State leaders and Eversource said the deal will get the average ratepayer a total credit of about $35 spread out across their December and January bills.” Plus: ‘An unethical choice’: Eversource withholds millions of dollars in taxes from 87 Massachusetts communities.

Leaf Blower Ban Debated  New Haven Independent. “Are gas-powered leaf blowers an environmental hazard, or an economic necessity?​ ​And do the noise and air pollution dangers they present outweigh their benefits for working-class landscapers?​ ​Local land-use commissioners wrestled with those questions during the latest regular monthly meeting of the City Plan Commission. …More than 200 cities and towns across the country have already enacted legislation restricting or eliminating the use of these devices…”

New solar system installed at East Windsor apartments Hartford Business Journal. “The Connecticut Green Bank, which facilitated the setup, said the East Windsor Housing Authority has agreed to buy the electricity generated by the 39.6-kilowatt photovoltaic system under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement. That arrangement will save the agency about $130,000 in avoided energy costs over the next two decades, according to Green Bank officials.”

For a listing of clean energy events, visit the PACE online Calendar at https://pacecleanenergy.org/calendar.

October 30–End Environmental Racism: A Climate Emergency Rally & March

by C3M Steering Committee

On Saturday, October 30 at 2 p.m. on the north steps of the State Capitol in Hartford, climate justice advocates will gather for a rally and march to send a clear message to state leaders to stop the fossil fuel expansion and end environmental racism immediately. The gathering will include speakers, guerrilla theater, mural art-making, and more. Ajali, an Afro-Caribbean and West African drumming group, will lead our march around the Capitol.

The climate crisis is happening now. Levels of the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases continued their unrelenting rise in 2020, NOAA announced in April 2021. Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and me-thane surged in 2020 and carbon dioxide levels are now higher than at any time in the past 3.6 million years. Climate impacts recently caused loss of life in our region; people drowned in their homes in the Eastern United States, and the majority who suffer from climate disruption are people of color and from low-income communities.

Recently, scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change leaked  a preliminary draft of the Sixth Assessment Report, because “there’s no time for continued in-action – the people deserve to know NOW what our corporate-owned politicians have done to them.” These scientists, calling themselves Scientist Rebellion, also stated “We plead with people to go into serious nonviolent resistance, to join us in the streets to apply unbearable pressure on this genocidal system – to take it down before it takes us all down with it.”

Globally and in Connecticut, leaders are failing to take serious action on the climate, although we know that we have precious little time. Greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut are on the rise from various sectors, and so far, our state has taken no significant action to reduce carbon dioxide or methane. In fact, the actions taken by our state are increasing carbon dioxide and methane emissions now, when we are well overdue to make a real plan to reduce global heating gases. Join us in raising our voices to demand action on climate from Connecticut leadership.

A number of groups are organizing together to build an anti-racist climate movement, that attempts to form alliances with new allies across ethnic, class, gender-conforming, age, and other traditional barriers. Rally organizers include NAACP Windham/Willimantic Branch, CT Women’s March, Sunrise CT, BLM 860, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M), 350 CT, and Sierra Club Connecticut.

CT Green Energy News from the Sept. 10 issue

One day after CT announces failure to meet emissions targets, Energy Efficiency Board approves plan to continue fossil fuel subsidies. From the Sierra Club CT:

The Energy Efficiency Board’s approval of plans to use ratepayer money to subsidize using more gas will only fuel more pollution and make it even harder for Connecticut to meet its climate pollution targets…  Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Commissioner Dykes should reject any plan from the EEB that subsidizes dirty fossil fuels; and tell them to try again and produce a plan that promotes energy efficiency savings, while ending subsidies for climate-destroying fossil fuels…  Continuing to subsidize polluting fossil fuels defies logic.

CT Green Energy online newsletter is a great resource for environmental activists and clean energy advocates. To subscribe, send an e-mail to pace4ct@gmail.com.

We Are in a Climate Emergency

Melinda Tuhus, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M)

In light of the release of the latest – and grimmest – report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, two dozen New Haveners gathered on the Green on Friday, Aug. 13, to raise the alarm locally.

The report says humans have definitively caused the warming of the planet, that it is accelerating, but that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts, like global drowning from sea level rise. One banner pointed to the rise in sea level, which could be as much as 30 feet by 2100 without drastic action, putting New Haven and the entire Connecticut shoreline underwater.

Joe Foran came with his eldest son, Joseph, who is 7. Foran said that after listening to dire climate news on the radio every morning, “My two sons were upset and asked me to not play the radio before school.” Later he added, “We are not just avoiding the news altogether. We are struggling as a family with how we tell them the truth in a way that is not overly burdensome to their young minds and young souls. I think the real thing that makes a difference for the kids are actions like today, where they gain their agency and they aren’t just passive victims of the climate madness.”

The other focus of the rally was to point out that Chase Bank is the biggest funder, by far, of the fossil fuel industry and to call on Chase to specifically stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota.

As an organizer with CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) I went to Minnesota and was one of 700 people – and counting – to be arrested along the pipeline route.

Eluned Li, a member of Sunrise New Haven, went to Minnesota in June, where she observed peaceful water protectors being abused by the police departments that are paid by Enbridge.

Members of ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción) came, holding a banner featuring Berta Cáceres, an indigenous land defender in Honduras who was murdered for her courageous opposition to a dam project. The climate crisis and the migration crisis are linked, with many ULA members fleeing their homes in Central America due to the ravages of stronger hurricanes and devastating drought.

After the rally, participants carried banners down the block to stand in front of Chase Bank, chanting, “Hey, JP Morgan Chase: bad investment, big disgrace!” and, “If you want it drier, hotter, fund Line 3: wipe out more water!” The company is taking five billion gallons of water for construction in the middle of a drought. Participants passed out flyers asking New Haveners to contact CEO Jamie Dimon.

To get involved, contact Melinda Tuhus at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com or go to the website www.CTClimateCrisisMobilization.org or Facebook page CTClimateCrisis Mobilization.

[A version of this article with the above (donated) photo was published in the New Haven Independent Aug. 15. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_rally]

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Seed Exchange, Sunflowers Sprout from Wilson Library

by Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper, May 20, 2021

Mark Relaford sifted through packets of seeds, studying each label. In one drawer, images of blooming collards shimmered beside bright green peppers and vines heavy with squash. Envelopes for zinnias and deep-veined lettuce sat atop each other. There were large orange carrots and small green peas, striped cucumbers and frizzy heads of fennel. He selected seeds for tomatoes, basil, cucumbers and corn. Just a few feet away, a fleet of baby sunflower plants peeked out hopefully.

Relaford is starting a garden thanks to the seed exchange at the Wilson Library, located just off Howard Avenue in the city’s Hill neighborhood. This spring and summer, the library is piloting the program in an effort to bring awareness to the neighborhood’s network of community gardens and help Hill residents grow their own food. While the initiative is housed at the library, it has gained support from Gather New Haven, which operates farms on Liberty and Ward Streets, and Common Ground High School.

It is the brainchild of Wilson librarian Bill Armstrong, who served as the literacy librarian at the main branch downtown for 24 years before coming to Wilson in 2020. He is also launching a program to cover the neighborhood with sunflowers by the end of the summer.

“It looks like an agricultural project, but it’s actually an art project,” he said. “We wanted to do something that would get the community involved. It’s there to draw attention to the neighborhood, and to urban agriculture … it’s another form of literacy.”

Armstrong was inspired to start the seed exchange after hearing about other libraries piloting it around the country (among them is the Hamden Public Library). He has dubbed it a seed exchange—rather than a seed library—because home and community gardeners are also invited to donate their extra seeds before they expire. Since it started earlier this spring, patrons have picked up seeds for basil, tomatoes, cilantro, peas, green beans, lemon balm, chives, asters, scallions, squash, radishes, and kale among other plants and flowers.

It’s also intended to double as an exchange for information. In addition to the seeds, packets of which are housed in an old card catalog, there are books on gardening in English and Spanish. Flyers list the neighborhood’s community gardens by street and announce the sunflower project. Small planter kits in fiber cups sit nearby. For patrons who aren’t yet ready to grow their own vegetables, the library has assembled take-and-make kits with a brilliant sunflower design.

[Wilson Library is at 303 Washington Ave. and is open Monday-Thursday and Saturday. For hours call (203) 946-2228 or check https://nhfpl.org/branches/wilson-library. Above are excerpts from the article which can be found at https://www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/seed-exchange-sunflowers-sprout-from-wilson-library]

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