Renewable Energy and Local Living Talks

In 2020, we rounded up some virtual talks to remind you of the wealth of knowledge that is available in the North Quabbin to support renewable energy and local living.  Topics included electric bikes, winserts, old houses, home energy IQ, PV solar installations, root cellars, solar dehydrators, no-till gardening, building a wood-fired oven, building science, and energy audits.  Watch the full playlist here for Renewable Energy and Local Living videos.

Peter Talmage with his ELF

For our 2020 “virtual” festival, we featured several videos by the late Peter Talmage. Peter, or simply “PT” to his friends, who was a featured Renewable Energy presenter for many years and a tireless and knowledgeable mentor and inspiration to us all. He would arrive at the Festival from Northfield or Amherst, riding his ELF electric recumbent tricycle, give his presentation on whatever – he knew so very much about so many things.

Peter Talmage

Peter Talmage

He would then stand for hours by his bike, answering questions, engaging with the festival-goers in his humble and passionate way.  We miss you PT ! …. And we’ll do our best to carry on your work!

Hughes Pack introduces Electrify Your Bicycle by Peter Talmage.

Janice Kurkoski introduces Assembling a Winsert by Peter Talmage.

Home Energy IQ with Andy Cole and Peter Talmage – Local “Green” Builder Andy Cole teamed up with Peter Talmage to test your knowledge about energy use in a typical home. Go ahead – take the test and see if you can learn something new.

Building Science.  Conservation is the answer to saving money and being more comfortable in your home.  Andy Cole took over to teach Peter Talmage’s workshop for the Gill Energy Commission (after Peter’s accident).  Chock full of suggestions and practical low cost suggestions.

Hughes Pack introduces This Old House Tour with Peter Talmage.

PV Solar Installation.  Stefan Maier of Domestic DC Systems, describes the PV systems has has designed and built, inspired by his neighbors at Seeds of Solidarity Farm, and a project to build a vehicle charging station on Chestnut Hill in Orange.

Root Cellars with Alden Booth – Alden Booth and the People’s Pint in Greenfield have been festival food vendors since year one.  Alden lives his values fully at restaurant and home, weaving support for local food and renewable energy into both lifestyle and business practices.  Back in the nineties Alden and his wife, Lissa, were fortunate to find a house that was built into a south facing hill so they had a concrete half basement wall and small room that they could turn into a root cellar right next to their pantry and kitchen.  They can even use it as a walk-in refrigerator for 3 – 4 months in the winter.  Works great and keeps carrots, potatoes, beets and beer at just the right temperature.  Alden says they are “happy to share this video and sad to say this is the first year that we, as The People’s Pint, haven’t been at the Garlic Festival.  I remember that first year (21 years ago!), a Saturday only event, and I think all we had was ginger ale and peanuts!”

Solar Dehydrator.  Learn how you can preserve fruits and vegetables from your garden as Lydia Grey demonstrates how well her low tech food dehydrator, made with recycled materials, works even in a shady location.

No-Till Gardening Grow Food Everywhere and A Guide to Worm Sex and Good Food.  Ricky Baruc of Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center, demonstrates resiliency skills in these two videos.  And Deb Habib, also of SoS, created Recipes for Wellness, a 40-page booklet distributed widely throughout this region to promote strategies for wellness to families and elders facing hunger.

Wood-Fired Oven.  Doug Feeney describes the oven that he built for the Festival based on an Italian design that is thousands of years old.  It is used each year to bake snacks for Festival volunteers.

Mass Save Energy Audit with Mark Skinder – Want to know what happens during an energy audit? Follow Mark Skinder around a typical house and see for yourself – it’s painless and the audits are now done virtually during these times of Covid-19 precautions.  Act now and sign up before September 30 for 100% off insulation.

The exciting 2019 presentations are listed below! All of the talks were held in the Renewable Energy/Local Living tent in the Portal to the Future area at the North end of the site.

Give Bees a Chance: What Everyone Needs to Know about Neonicotinoids – Tom Sullivan, Western MA Pollinators Network

Common Good:  A Payment Card for Community Power – Christine Lindstrom

Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal – Extinction Rebellion MA and  Sunrise Movement

Meet Your Community Makerspace – Brianna Drohen, President, Founding Director of LaunchSpace at the Orange Innovation Center

Seed Saving+ Healthy Soil=Resilient Communities – Jess Cherry, Sweetwater Farm

Mushrooms for Dinner:  With a Side Order to Heal Your Body and Mind – Paul Lagreze, New England Wild Edibles

Moving Towards Sustainable Building Products:  From Where We Are to Where We Need To Be – Andy Cole, Andy Cole Builders and Scott Baum, Eco+Plan Design

Greening the Grid – Molly Craft and Ed Rutledge, Center for Ecological Technology

As always, a giant THANK YOU goes to the presenters who have volunteered to share their time, expertise, and enthusiasm over the years to make these topics come alive for the festival audience.  If you have suggestions for future topics please fill out the form below.