Thriving in the future means blurring lines.The days of specialization are changing for many, as families try to make ends meet with less money and sometimes fewer tools.Our purpose in our sustainability center is to create a “multi-tool” that many different users can share to meet their goals. NCSC’s vision is a big one, but it needs to be if it’s going to prosper. The problem is getting the vision “in brick and lumber,” instead of an imaginary one.

There are many valiant organizations that are working solely on environmental causes, hunger issues, arts programs and other worthy endeavors.But for those who are in small towns and rural areas there is a limited pool of funds available to support those efforts.Our region, Central New England, is full of small towns and small cities, and many small farms. We can only succeed if we create bridges and overlapping missions that we can do the work that needs to happen. The NCSC goal is not to teach every class, but to create classrooms, laboratories and facilities where others can teach those programs. There will always be situations where “on site,” small classes are appropriate, but if we are going to build the sustainable future that we all need, we need to amplify that work.There needs to be a place where small groups can meet to share their experiences, knowledge and visions.
People need a “go to” place for information about these topics, and small budgets make that difficult for groups to get their words out.

A facility is needed where experienced teachers can share their knowledge with willing students we expand the capability of creating a sustainable future.Finding common grounds, such as arenas for 4H being used by dog trainers, and small farmers selling raw food ingredients to dog owners, or fleeces to spinners, we connect the dots that have so far remained detached.

Creating a sustainable future is more than just creating practice rooms and commercial kitchens. If we are going to spread the word about sustainability, we need to speak beyond the converted. By blending the separate missions in a shared facility, we create a more informed, and better equipped community moving forward.

But without a facility, this is nothing more than a concept. NCSC, North Country Sustainability Center, Inc. needs a building that can hold the kitchen, classrooms, studios and exhibition space. The towns around us are barely making it, but with the creation of this “stage for sustainability,” we can truly create that “choir,” by putting those different interests together to create a voice for a stronger future. There are a great many challenges us all, and the more approaches to those problems, the more likely we are to find an appropriate solution.