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Annual Report 2012 Unabridged

Local Living Venture
315. 347. 4223 * PO Box 736 Canton, NY 13617
LocalLivingVenture@gmail.com * www.SustainableLivingProject.net

Annual Report 2012

Our Vision

We envision a thriving community life and regionally-based economy in the North Country.

Mission Statement

The Local Living Venture is working towards a resilient regional economy through community education, rural skills-building, and dynamic infrastructure development.


”Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future”

Our New Name -- Local Living Venture

In April of 2012, thirteen core members of the Sustainable Living Project embarked on a weekend-long Organizational Retreat in order to define our mission moving forward.  The previous goal of a regional food hub was no longer feasible for us and, guided by experts in strategic planning, we came out of this bonding experience with an updated mission.  As the newly minted
Local Living Venture, we are committed to our work with fresh vigor!


To create the Venture Center -- a community re-skilling & resource depot providing facilities and services within our mission framework. The Center would highlight small business incubation to a natural client base of small scale food processors as well as other rural enterprises, in keeping with the
Local Living Venture core areas of concern: Food, Energy, Built & Natural Environment, and Traditional Rural Skills.

Revenue producing concerns would also be a focus of this facility, with a North Country Native Botanical Garden as a dynamic learning,  research and demonstration site.  The Gardens will be created by, and available to, students on our own campus and from across the region, with the result of attracting both local and regional tourism to our site.

The Venture Center is part of a planned Homestead Learning Community. This campus will provide residential and life-long learning opportunities to would-be family farmers and other resourceful people - with a core curriculum of growing, eating and preserving food, renewable energy systems, "green" building and forestry, and general homesteading skills.

Review of Programs

Local Living Festival (LLF) Planning
Initiated planning for the April 27, 2013 Festival to be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Living Farm in Canton, NY. Workshops will be held to approximately 30 total (5-6 per hour) in order to focus on more demonstrations and educational exhibits. Green home tours will follow. Services secured in 2012: Site, shuttle buses, tents, porta-potties, several featured speakers.

Year-Round Resourceful Living Skills Workshops & Events
In 2012, 638 people signed up for 39 year round workshops and events.
Evaluation results polled very strongly positive from attendees (rigorously documented in Excel format, available by request.)

Topics Included
    Bees And Beekeeping For Novices - monthly Discussion Groups and two Workshops
    Old Fashioned Ice Cutting Work Party
    Splitting And Stacking Firewood For Women
    Traditional Horse-drawn Maple Sugaring
    Nutritious Delicious Cooking Seminars - three workshops:
    Grains And Beans, Vegetarian and Vegan, Baking with Whole Foods
    Rocket Stove & Off-Grid Home Tour - two tours
    Community Seed Swap
    Plant and Seedling Swap
    Weekly Harvest Swap - four events
    Starting Your Seedlings Indoors
    Garden And Home Waste Composting - three Workshops
    Hands-on Shiitake Mushroom Fundamentals
    Kitchen Sink Soap - Goats Milk Soap Making
    Scything Skillshare: Dancing While You Mow
    Home Canning "On the Cheap"
    Mass Masonry Rocket Stove Intensive Three-day Workshop
    Green Buildings Open House Tours (regional sponsor for national event)
    Small Scale Renewable & Energy Efficiency Extravaganza


The LLV attended nearly twenty outreach events with an interactive agenda of recruiting One Sustainable Thing pledges, promoting our programs, and exhibiting a professional, yet home-spun, booth display:

    Clarkson's 2nd Annual Wellness Fair
    SUNY Potsdam Wellness Fair
    Earth Week! at SUNY Potsdam
    Family Fun Night at SUNY Potsdam
    Power and Equipment Museum Annual Antique Engine and Spring Planting Exhibition
    Colton Country Days
    Potsdam Summer Fest
    North Country Wine, Beer and Food Festival
    Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival, Paul Smith's College
    SUNY ESF Forest Festival, Wanakena
    Hammond Fair
    Farm To Fork Festival, Saranac Lake
    Power and Equipment Museum Old Fashioned Harvest Days
    99% Fall Island Park Rally on Climate and Social Justice
    St. Lawrence University's CBL (Community Based Learning) Festival

Other Community Outreach
        Sign-up sheets during major outreach events and workshops swelled our e-mailing list to over 1500, to whom we send updates generally two to three times per month.
        Hundreds of promotional brochures were distributed.
        One Sustainable Thing Pledge Campaign employed at Summer outreach events.
        Cinema 10 featured advertiser (as part of pre-screening introductions/comments)
        Took on an Adopt-a-Highway Roadside Clean Up program for a stretch of Route 68 just after Hardscrabble Rd., continuing for 1-1/2 miles through Flackville. Nine volunteers completed the first circuit of clean-up in October.
        Hosted monthly Festival planning gatherings followed by social events, beginning in May.
        Hosted a cheery Holiday Gathering for 22 stalwart volunteers and friends of the organization in December.

Information and Action Requests
        Question about public transportation to events
        Information about meat producing resources
        Advertise and assist with a local Preserves Swap
        Online survey about the “Nourishing Ontario” website
        Request that we recruit for the County Environmental Management Council, and additional requests for information from potential recruits
        Reference letters requested for a volunteer/exhibitor, an Intern, and a community partner
        Assistance developing a natural cleaning products business
        Request that we commemorate Christmas, and not "the holidays", from a volunteer exhibitor
        Letter of support sought for the Occupational Health Clinical Center of the North Country
        New York State Food Policy Council Database seeking database enhancement suggestions
        Questions about gardening and about keeping plants over winter
        Request to advertise various speakers
        Homesteading questions
        SUNY-ESF seeking assistance creating a Homesteading Festival
        Biodiesel resources sought
        Info on NYS licensed kitchens that rent space
        Assistance with advertising farmer’s market position
        Request by Clarkson University student Alex French to interview us extensively for a student project on the Local Living Venture and it's role in the local economy
        Request for further assistance managing the media profile of SUNY Canton's Sustainability Lecture series
        Help with Church and Community Program's pending re-location
        Dozens of requests for posting local events on our website

Conferences, Events & Webinars (total 29+)
        Mapping the Future of the Adirondacks, Common Ground, Old Forge NY
        St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Mixers (three events)
        Harvesting Opportunities in New York, American Farmland Trust conference, Albany
        Wholesale Success Workshop, GardenShare
        Webinar: Food System Assessment Distance Learning
        Regional Economic Development Council initiation meetings (2)
        St Lawrence County Chamber Annual Dinner
        Forever Wired Conference at Clarkson University
        Webinar: The One Page Business Plan and One Page Financial Plan
        ANCA and NYS REDC initiative: Cleaner, Greener Communities meetings (multiple)
        Family & Community Advisory Committee Meeting (multiple)
        St. Lawrence County Human Services Meetings (multiple)
        Webinar: Equitable Strategies for Growing Urban Agriculture
        Webinar: Food Systems Networks That Work - Accelerating Learning and Increasing Commerce
        Green Buildings Open House Organizer conference calls (multiple)
        America Solar Energy Society organizer conference calls (multiple)
        Webinar: Healthy Food, Healthy Economies
        Sixth Annual Common Ground Alliance Forum, Long Lake, NY
        Food Policy Council Workshop and Networking Session, Rochester NY
        Webinar: "Sustainable Agriculture for the Next Century: Putting our Next Meal in the Hands of New Farmers
        Webinar: Farm Incubators 101, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project National Technical Assistance Initiative
        NOFA-NY's Sustainability and Reality: Lessons Learned-Ten Years as Diversified Small-Scale Farmers Field Day
        Webinar: Canadian Food Projects and Hubs
        Cornell Cooperative Extension Community Advisory/Adopting Healthy Habits Committee.
        99% Fall Island Park Rally on Climate and Social Justice
        Food Revolution Virtual Summit
        Adirondack North Country Association's North Country Clean Energy Conference, Lake Placid
        2012 NY Small Farm Summit (Cornell Cooperative Extension statewide telecast)
        Grasse River Heritage 6 week Logic Model training, attended by four staff and volunteers

Benefits On Our Behalf
One benefit concert, the Mud Season Boogie Down at the Crary Mills Community Center, was presented in support of our work. Many thanks to host DJ Mark Suede.

Media and Advertisements

Conducted a highly successful, near-weekly media campaign for event promotion. Over 40 press releases reached over 100 press outlets from Ithaca to Plattsburg, Ottawa to Albany.

Featured Media
The SLP/Local Living Venture website has received over 600 hits per month despite the lack of a Festival this year.
    The Facebook page was created and broke the 300 mark of people associated with the site:
    Matthew Bultman wrote an article for the Watertown Daily Times March 5, 2012 on our Women and Wood-splitting Workshop hosted by Betsy Kepes in Colton, NY, found online at:
    Ice cutting Work Party at the Douglass Family farm in Hermon, NY in February was featured on North Country Public Radio. The radio feature and article can be found at:
    Martha Ellen wrote an article for the Watertown Daily Times April 8, 2012 on our community seed swap, co-hosted with Jeremiah Curtis in Winthrop, NY. Found online at:

    Cinema 10 ad promoting the HUB and workshops
    Local Food Guide back-page ad promoting the HUB, workshops, 2013 LLF, and contact info (Northern New York Newspaper Corp.)
    Non-Profit guide ads promoting workshops, 2013 LLF, and contact info
    Six radio stations ad for Energy Fair


    A Planning & Development working group was formed with nine members regularly attending. By-Laws for incorporation were created and a Policies Handbook nears completion, in service of a 501(c)3 status of our own, instead of under the aegis of our generous parent organization Seedcorn, Inc.
    Strategic planning for The Hub Agricultural Depot & Rural Resource Center, as originally conceived, was set aside in March due to circumstances beyond our control.
    A weekend long strategic planning retreat was professionally facilitated for thirteen stalwart volunteers.  New Mission and Vision Statements resulted, as did plans to pursue the Homestead Learning Community and Local Venture Center, with business incubation facilities and limited "hub" capacity.
    Reporting requirements to our parent non-profit, Seedcorn, Inc., were met, as were all reporting requirements and benefit disbursement obligations for our funding partners.
    Underwent an assessment and organizational development process, assisted by Tedra Cobb Associates, to evaluate the change of our name from Sustainable Living Project to Local Living Venture; decided that the change was an overall positive one for the organization.  The Sustainable Living Project lives on as the academic outreach arm of our mission.
    Co-Coordinator Melinda Ely began a leave of absence due to family health matters in September.
    Dr. Rajiv Narula tenure as part-time Project Organizer ended when he assumed responsibility as a part time fundraising and Development Facilitator for the summer. Krystal White was hired as our first Education & Outreach Facilitator on February 6 and Jenna Brown was hired as Project Organizer on May 22, both on an independent contractor basis. Total paid hours for 2012: 1004.75

All Workshops and the Local Living Festival (when it occurs, now on a sesquiennial basis) utilize Evaluation forms for attendees that are referenced in ongoing planning.  A Workshop Report is filed for every event, noting all records and impacts, including the raw data from on-site evaluations by the attendees, as well as by our staff and the host/presenter.  Scrupulous records are kept to assist in future planning efforts.

Partnerships, Networks and Collaborations

Fruitful collaborations and networks were formed or continued with over eighty regional organizations, farms, businesses and in-kind event sponsors in 2012:

    Dig In! Conference 2012 - partnering with the St. Lawrence Health Initiative, GardenShare, U Share, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Office of Educational Partnerships at Clarkson University.
    Logic Model Training - engaging with GardenShare, Grasse River Heritage, St. Lawrence Land Trust, St. Lawrence Health Initiative, and Tedra Cobb Associates.
    Value Added Institute (VAI)
    New York Small Scale Food Processor's Assn. (NY-SSFPA)
    Bi-monthly St. Lawrence County Human Services Inter-Agency meetings, over 50 agencies participating.  Guest-hosted in March 2012.
    Occupational Health Clinical Center of the North Country
    North Country 99 Percent Coalition
    Youth Energy & Environment Expo
    Cinema 10
    Potsdam Farmers Market
    Squeak Creek Apiaries
    Harmony Farm Apiary
    Birdsfoot Farm
    Elliott's Agway Farm & Garden Supply
    Sow's Ear Farm
    LittleGrasse Foodworks
    Bittersweet Farm
    Sugar Hill Farm
    Smith Farm Poultry
    Kent Family Growers
    Turtle Hill PLC
    Empire State Honey Producers Assn.
    Canton – town small farming initiative
    St Lawrence County Cooperative Extension Learning Farm
    Franklin County Cornell Cooperative Extension
    Cornell Cooperative Extension Family & Community Advisory Committee & Adopting Healthy Habits Program
    New York Farm Viability Institute
    North Country Cleaner Greener Communities Sustainability Planning
    Unwaste NY: Energy Efficiency Outreach and Education Campaign, NYS Public Service Commission
    Adirondack North Country Association
    TAUNY - Traditional Arts in Upstate N.Y.
    Farm Bill Town Hall Meeting with Rep. Owens with the St. Lawrence County League of Women Voters (LWV), American Association of University Women (AAUW) and GardenShare
    Peak Moment TV / Seymour Family / WCKN-TV Potsdam
    Green Mommy Blog
    North Country Library Services
    NESEA's Green Buildings Open House Tour
    ASES National Solar Tour
    Church and Community Program
    Power & Equipment Museum
    Green Circle
    Paul Smith's College
    Clarkson University's ECO
    The Institute for a Sustainable Environment at Clarkson University
    The Center for Excellence in Communication at Clarkson University
    St. Lawrence University's Sustainability Semester
    St. Lawrence University, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Environmental Education Initiative For Active Learning, Research, and Advocacy
    St. Lawrence University's Community Based Learning Program
    PACES Dining Services, SUNY Potsdam
    Middle Ground, SUNY Potsdam
    SUNY Potsdam Community Health Department
    SUNY Canton Alternative & Renewable Energy Systems
    SUNY Canton Center for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology
    Sustainability Design Class, SUNY Canton
    SUNY-ESF Ranger School
    N.Y. Forest Owners Association
    Potsdam Food Co-Op
    Hands On Health Holistic Healing
    Green George Gardens
    A Better Footprint-NY
    Potsdam Agway Lawn & Garden Center
    TJ Toyota
    Lake Clear Lodge
    Alternative Power Solutions
    Northern Lights Solar Energy
    Solart Group
    Shaw Family, Heuvelton
    Woodhenge Sustainability Campus
    Cronk Family Earthship
    Community Development Group - a consortium of:
United Helpers / Sparx Management Services, North Country Grown Cooperative, GardenShare, Seedcorn, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, North Country Pastured, St. Lawrence Health Initiative, Grass River Heritage, Tedra L. Cobb and Associates, Blue Sphere Industries, and the Small Scale Food Processors Assn.

Finance and Fundraising

Program Income
Gross workshop income: $2,350.00
Donation/outreach/benefit income: $18,989.56

Beginning balance January 1, 2012: $4,996.62
Income: $21,339.56
Expense: $20,988.78
Ending balance December 31, 2012: $5,347.40

Sponsors and Donors

    North Country Public Radio, Media Sponsor for 2013 Festival
    Tedra Cobb Associates
    SunFeather Outlet Store
    Cornell Cooperative Extension
    Sergi's Italian Restaurant
    Price Chopper
    Maple Ridge Charitable Fund
    Fern Moulton
    Alan Leo
    Robin McClellan

Volunteers and Interns

VOLUNTEER 2012 TOTAL HOURS (non-Festival year):
2729 hours

SUNY Potsdam Community Health Intern Chelsea Coons successfully completed a 37-hour a week, seven week Internship.  She researched and created five full "Nutritious Delicious" class outlines with recipes, nutritional materials and other relevant resources in place on the website.  Updated the resource hand-out on dried legumes and grains.  Assisted in general grant-writing activities. 259 hours.
Two St. Lawrence University Community Psychology Interns through the Community Based Learning program, Will Chabot and Scott Houser, researched the local community to help construct a feasibility study for a local food hub. 156 hours.
415 hours

Future Plans
* Procurement of the Local Living Venture's own 501(c)3 status
* North Country Native Botanical Gardens – teaching, research, demonstrations

* Homesteading “College” / Learning Community – residential and community-based
* Entrepreneurial assistance for fledgling student and community businesses
Please see the "Future Plans" page at www.SustainableLivingProject.net

The Local Living Venture sincerely thanks Seedcorn, Inc. for their oversight and non-profit status; we could not have accomplished so much without their support.

    Submitted by:
    Chelle Lindahl & Melinda Ely, Co-Coordinators