Portal to the Future

For the past several years the festival has featured a Portal to the Future area at the north end of the site that highlights some of the ways that art, food, small-scale farming, renewable energy, smart transportation, care for the land, and hand skills all contribute to community-building and local resilience.  Watch Janice Kurkoski talk about her role as an Organizer at the Festival and how the Portal to the Future has evolved.

In 2022 we promoted this theme:  The future is born of our imaginations.  Come and conjure up the world, community and even the you of your fondest dreams.

There are all kinds of things to consider when standing at the Portal to the Future” and pondering what is to come. One question is, how are we going to get there? . . . Not only in the philosophical, social, and political sense, but also in the physical sense, i.e., how are we going to get around?

It seems certain now that electric vehicles (EVs) will be playing an important role in our lives. The technology behind EVs and the number and variety of makes and models is improving and increasing rapidly. To be sure, new technology brings challenges, issues, and problems that will need to be solved, but the promise of reduced emissions, less dependency on fossil fuels (with their inherent environmental and political problems), and a chance to make progress in the fight against human-caused climate change make EVs an intriguing and likely important part of the solution.

This Chevy Volt powered the Renewable Energy tent in 2019.

With that in mind, the G&A Festival once again put on a display of EVs that are locally owned and operated, thanks to the generosity of several of our friends and neighbors who have already taken this step into the future. We had a variety of fully electric vehicles for you to see, with a different set during each of four periods (Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons). Owners were standing by to answer some of the most frequently asked questions (like, how far can it go, how long does it take to charge, what is it like driving one) and describe their experiences as EV owners. Folks were able to see Priuses, Teslas, Chevy Bolts, a 1985 John Deere tractor (that once ran on fossil fuel but now has a new life with a set of lithium batteries), and more! Here is the schedule in 2022 of the vehicles and their owners.

E-Bikes and full size Electric cars, such as this Chevy Volt, are becoming common.  Battery technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, and Massachusetts still has great incentives for owning or leasing a variety of makes and models of brand new EVs.  You can find an electric vehicle discount program that makes going electric easier for you.

We also showed electric bicycles. North Quabbin Energy’s Brian Nugent will bring his new invention – an E-bike he has made with “attachments” that can easily transform the bike into a truck, bike-with-trailer or other ingenious, easy-to-deploy iterations.

In addition to EVs, attendees were able to check out the other Renewable Energy and Local Living booths at the festival!  They included a PV/Battery equipped portable power supply, cooking demonstrations using a methane biodigester from Northeast Biogas Initiative, the future of clean heat with Mothers out Front, creations from makers at the LaunchSpace, and the system from PV Squared that powers the Main Stage.

The 350MA Better Future Project is also inspirational.  For them a Green New Deal in Massachusetts must include three primary components:

  1. A rapid de-carbonization of our economy
  2. Massive government investment in green jobs and climate resilience infrastructure
  3. Address longstanding racial, economic, environmental, and other social inequities.

Patricia Hynes of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice made this timely video about the relationship between the US Military and the Climate Crisis.

We encourage folks to make clean and green changes in their own homes, neighborhoods, and towns, including creating pollinator-friendly plantings.  The Center for Ecological Technology has innovative programs and services for homes and businesses throughout the state.

For yet more inspiration take a look at the Renewable Energy and Local Living Booths and the Renewable Energy and Local Living Talks  — the future is ours to create!

Watch the full Portal to the Future playlist created in 2019.  Watch a slide presentation from activities at the Portal to the Future from past years.