I’ve used the idea of “brick by brick” before in my blogs, but I think it’s so appropriate to this project.  We are looking to create a lasting center for sustainability, using a building that has seen the world leave and come back to it. If we were building a new building, we would need to purchase, or make millions of bricks to make this work, or cut down a lot of trees. But because we are reusing existing old buildings, bringing the land back to productivity, it is much less expensive. But is the contribution any less?
I don’t think so.  Once NCSC is moved in and settled it will act as a connecting point between other projects, such as the Orange Innovation Center, the Keene Farmer’s Market, and other food and innovation hubs throughout the country.  Rather than have hundreds of farmers and artists driving back and forth between farms/studios to buyers, a new business could be developed by an individual to be that conduit for transport. It’s more efficient, provides income for another family, and saves productive time for the artists and farmers that they so desperately need and want.

Ever wanted a Christmas goose or a goat for a holiday, but had to call random farmers to ask if they had one?  NCSC and places like it can be that “go to place” to find that information, saving your valuable time and enhancing the market for the farmers.  Once a new infrastructure is constructed, it will be much easier for people in the country to find those sought after items. Shared facilities allow people to decide if the destination of a saleable product, or a visible sales outlet, is worth their travel, and gives people more options to make their lives better. Some people will decide that it’s not worth it, but those who do decide that it suits their need will find a greater supply of customers, and the customers will find their trip is more worthwhile because of the choices they have.
How do we make that vision happen? By building models to show that it works, and helping set up those “go to” places for our own regions.  The little brick that is contributed to NCSC becomes a much bigger brick in the food system infrastructure evolution.  Given the concerns that people about the food they buy at the store, won’t it be great when there is a choice that doesn’t require “hunting and gathering?”

But it’s not all about food or the arts. It’s about creating hope and opportunity with the skills and talents within a region.  While we are blessed to have these old buildings and safe land to work with, it doesn’t have to be that big a site.  Any old house, empty school, or other structure can be used to create a place where people help each other, with learning, teaching, and building possibilities.  The more such places that develop, the easier it is for each region to connect with other “hubs,” and for people to have more choices and opportunities.
While it’s great when a building can be built with giant stones, filling more wall space with one action, it also makes it a less stable building. If one of those stones falls out of place, the surrounding mortar cracks and the integrity disintegrates.  While we can certainly cope with that chance (read don’t be afraid to try:) ) we know that in this case it is the number of smaller bricks that will make us more flexible in dealing with changes, and a sturdier wall. So those small bricks make a BIG difference.  Each brick or stone represents a personal investment and attachment to the vision of North Country Sustainability Center and to the greater image of a sustainable future in the hands of each community, not only in the hands of corporations with different ideas of “success,” than we do.
Spreading the word of this hope, and this project, brings more bricks and hearts to the project, and we all get stronger. I hope you see that wisdom, and will help amplify our voice by adding your own. Please visit our indiegogo.com/NCSCJigsaw site and learn more about us, and how you can be part of those “heart bricks” that builds this infrastructure for everyone.  Thanks.