What’s needed for tomorrow is a question that seems to be the topic of several different conversations. The national media says “We need economic growth, consumer spending, investing and more business growth.” But in houses and apartments around the country the answer is a “a job, money for food, clothing, a way to keep our house.” Unfortunately, in other places, the answer to that question is “a house, a place to sleep, a meal.” These conversations are all important. But the more the news and media say “We need to spend,” the more depressed the households get around the country that can’t.

How can a provider feel successful when their children come home with a shopping list of “must haves,” that were just put on “the web?” How can we teach a child that “want” does not equal “need?” For that matter, how we teach their parents? For several generations people have confused the ideas of necessity and desire. The difference is getting obvious to many, but along with that realization comes a lot of fear and discomfort.

North Country Sustainability Center is all about giving people some tools to meet tomorrow’s need, and in some cases, today’s. With a new year comes many a resolution to “eat better,” or “save more money,” and with NCSC, people can do both. They can learn to grow their own food, make a healthy meal and have the skills to reshape that “left over,” into another tasty one. Or, they can put some of the “Fruits of the garden” into a canning jar or a freezer and save money and inspire an appetite during the middle of the winter.

There are many in our region that have the skills to make their own food, or their own clothes, furniture, etc, but lack a way to promote their work. Or, in the case of farmers and people with food in their plans, they face expensive hurdles of processing and regulations. They know what they have to do, but they can’t afford to add on to their house, purchase the equipment or take the certification classes to be able to sell it. North Country Sustainability Center is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. We want to become a “Food Hub,” where people can produce food for sale, start new businesses, prove their viability and have a brighter future. There are already numerous individuals waiting for us to get our facilities operating, so that they bring their product to a waiting market.

But what else is needed for tomorrow? A change in culture. The internet has given us access to many ideas and people, but many have lost the ability to listen a contrary opinion, to trust a neighbor’s good intent, or just relax in a quiet moment. Our youth have been raised in an era of discontent with the government, frustration with the media and a textbook of consumerism. That is not the culture of America that I grew up with.

North Country Sustainability Center is a place of cultural change, a tool for personal success, and a portal to a future that is balanced between prosperity and community. It sounds like a story, but we’ve started to see a change in our community with our “free community sings,” our low cost entertainment and easy access to education and hope. If this is going to continue though, we need to make it happen all the way.

So what’s needed for NCSC’s tomorrow? People to help us purchase and develop our permanent home, improve our temporary one and make available that change of community and economy that is on the horizon. The sense of personal power, a “ladder” to making that better life possible, and a chance to grow our economy in its new direction, are all part of what’s needed for a happy tomorrow, and we’re seeing it happen here. Please help us make it available to more people, in more ways.

Happy New Year and Thank you!