Portal to the Future

The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival got its humble beginnings 25 years ago, but the Portal to the Future is only half that age. We came up with the idea to create this space to house what we call the “Energy Tent” – a place to display and present topics on renewable energy and local living skills.

There are presentations that happen each day from 12:00-4:00 in the  “Energy Tent.”  The presenters will cover green energy topics like heat pumps, biodiversity loss, pollinators, the Inflation Reduction Act and what it is for, the ecological value of the food you eat, and forest conservation.  Conservation is first in the holy trinity of energy consciousness:  conservation, efficiency, renewables.

There is also a tour.  Are you interested in how electrical power is made and distributed at the Garlic and Arts Festival? Organizer Steve Kurkoski will be covering solar/battery, vehicle to load, vehicle to vehicle systems as well as the grid.  Take a tour on Saturday or Sunday at 1PM. Meet up with Steve at the EV tent (the big blue and white one) in the Portal.

Can It Be Done?  Can It Be Fun?  We are thrilled that this year we will have a special guest in the Portal:  science educator/actor/comedian Sophie Shrand.  She hosts the Telly Award-winning Science with Sophie, a  science series that aims to normalize women in STEM and spark generations of compassionate curious minds.  Right now she is on a Great American Road Trip, traveling across the nation (and back) in an all-electric Rivian R1S and documenting every step along the way.  One stop, after the climate demonstrations in NYC in mid-September, is the Garlic and Arts Festival and Portal to the Future.  Come and chat with her and ask her questions, as she shares her experiences and films the festival for her documentary project.

The Portal 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.

We’ve also created a fun learning experience through engaging activities for the whole family.  And Batch Ice Cream and quite a few porta-potties are in also located within this Portal !!  Come walk through the arch, take a seat and:

  • Dare to Imagine a better world for yourself and everyone around you.
  • Take a spin on the “Wheel of Fortunate Beings” and come up with your own answer to life’s burning questions and challenges.


  • Make a wish and lay a small token at the foot of the Big Blue Globe, made with re-bar that looks just like the web that connects us all.



  • Have a seat in the Renewable Energy/ Local Living Tent and learn something new (or old! – what useful skills have we forgotten?)
  • Talk to the owners of electric vehicles, E-bikes, lawn & garden equipment, all standing by eager to share their own real-world stories.
  • Check out the system from PV Squared that powers the Main Stage.  These energy experts have been part of the festival for many years.  The music on the Main Music Stage is typically powered by a solar electric system that they provide.  In 2019 all of the festival, including the vendors in the Portal to the Future were powered by solar energy and batteries.  Learn what these folks have been doing to continue to support residential and commercial solar installations.
  • For all human history, one generation lived much the same as the last. That has changed and it’s speeding up. Let’s imagine the world 25 years from now. How great could it be?

The 350MA Better Future Project is 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.

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.