The Big Recycle: Stockton School Rummage Sale Is March 15 – 16

???????????????????????????????With snow on the ground and temps still in the teens, it’s hard to believe that one of Stockton, NJ’s harbingers of spring – the Rummage – is right around the corner. But weather aside, it’s time to clear out our homes, donate to a worthy cause and participate in one of our community’s biggest and most entertaining recycling opportunities.

What: The Stockton Borough School’s Annual Rummage Sale

When: Saturday, March 15, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Sunday, March 16, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Details: Saturday: Items are full price but the good stuff goes quickly! Sunday: Items are 1/2 price and the bag sale runs from noon to 1 p.m. Bring your own bag!

Where: Prallsville Mill, Rt. 29, Stockton, NJ (directions at http://drms-stockton.org/directions.html

Why: Proceeds benefit the students of a terrific school that also happens to be NJ’s smallest and oldest elementary school.

Donate Starting This Sunday

Donating to a worthy cause is a great way to recycle the many items that clutter our homes long after we’ve stopped using them. Donated items will be sold to the public at very affordable prices during the two-day sale. All unsold items will go to a variety of charitable organizations — so they won’t end up in landfill. Donations are tax-deductible. Volunteers at the mill will give you a form.

You can donate any of the following gently used items:

  • Clothing
  • Books (except textbooks, travel guides, catalogs and magazines)
  • Music (except videotapes)
  • Electronics (except televisions and computers)
  • Household items (except mattresses and stuffed furniture)
  • Linens
  • Jewelry
  • Toys

Drop off times: Sunday, March 9 through Thursday, March 13, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Introducing the Doylestown Food Co-Op

Doylestown Co-Op

We recently checked out the Doylestown Food Co-Op, where we found a whole new way to think about local food…and popcorn (more on that in a minute). The co-op opened its doors earlier this month in a storefront at 29 West State Street, Doylestown, Pa. The official grand opening will take place on February 8. For details, check out http://www.doylestown.coop.org.

So, What Is a Co-Op?

A co-op is a business that’s owned and governed collectively by a group of people who are members. While most co-ops start as food businesses, some have eventually branched out, providing other services of value to the community. Like other co-ops, the Doylestown Food Co-Op offers the opportunity to become a member by purchasing equity shares of the grocery. In exchange, member-owners have a say in decisions about the business, receive discounts on some of their food purchases and enjoy a variety of other benefits. Read on

Localism in the DelVal: Two Communities Consider ‘Import Replacement’

 

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If you’re already a locavore, you won’t be surprised to know that eating local is a trend that’s on the rise, as noted by various surveys, including one from North Dakota’s Center for Rural Affairs.*  This is great news for those of us who believe localism can give rise to a greener, lower-carbon lifestyle AND lay the groundwork for a stronger, job-producing economy. But to realize localism’s full benefits, we’ll need to do more than just buy food from neighborhood farms.

According to localists, we’ll also need to adopt something called “import replacement.” While that term may not be as widely known as “sustainable,” two Delaware River Valley towns, Solebury Township, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, are considering sustainably minded proposals that are great examples of import replacement. Read on!

‘Art in the Garden’ Showcases Local Art this Labor Day Weekend

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If you’re committed to keeping things local here in the Delaware River Valley, you may be getting a lot of your food from local sources. But locavorism doesn’t need to begin and end with food. One of our area’s greatest local commodities is art…some of which will be on display Labor Day Weekend at Art in the Garden, the annual art and craft show held at Paxson Hill Farm in Solebury.

The 14th annual Art in the Garden will bring together 60 local artists and artisans, including printmakers, photographers, painters, ceramic artists, jewelry designers and much more. Artists’ booths will be scattered around the beautiful grounds of the Paxson Hill Farm nursery, which offers professional landscaping services and plantings throughout the year. The farm also is home to a menagerie comprising peacocks, emus, llamas and one or two very large pigs.

The beautiful setting and quality artwork lead many to make a day of this wonderful annual event. But it also offers a great opportunity to put the local multiplier effect to work by purchasing a few early holiday gifts for others …or yourself…from local artists and artisans. Remember, dollars spent at independently owned local businesses circulate throughout the community many more times than dollars spent at national chains (whether brick-and-mortar or online). According to one source, 45 cents of each dollar spent locally is reinvested in the community vs. only 15 cents spent at national chains.* Buying anything made locally — food, art, furnishings, clothing, services — can help the local economy survive and thrive… and keep our downtowns independent and interesting.

Freshbyhand
By way of full disclosure, I’m breaking with my usual blog format here for a little self-promotion. My micro-biz, Freshbyhand, will be among the vendors at this year’s Art in the Garden. I’ll be selling the hand-painted and collaged picture frames and mirrors available at my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/freshbyhand… or see link in the right-hand column), along with some new pieces, like these.

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All of these one-of-a-kind pieces are made by upcycling wooden frames left over from a previous business and materials and “outtakes” from my art prints. The prints were made using a variety of techniques — an eco-friendly form of etching, mono print, collograph, linocut, chine colle and stenciling. The imagery is inspired by nature, colorful printmaking remnants and the creative possibilities of paint, ink and glue.

Show Details:

  • What: Art in the Garden art and craft show
  • Where: Paxson Hill Farm, 3265 Comfort Road (off Rt. 263), Solebury Township, PA
  • When: Saturday, 8/31 and Sunday, 9/1, 10 to 4:30, rain or shine
  • Free admission
  • More info at: www.paxsonhillfarm.com.

* http://www.localmultiplier.com

Connecting the Sustainability Dots, Part II: Going Local

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Fresh’s March 27 post explored how a single activity, such as edible gardening, can help us become more sustainable in a variety of ways. Something else that connects a lot of sustainability dots is “going local.” 

For some, localism is about “transitioning” to a post-carbon world, buying and making things locally so we don’t need to expend lots of fossil fuel importing and transporting goods from other places. For others, localism is a way to rebuild resilient, people-centered economies in an impersonal globalized world. Still others see in localism an opportunity to create lifestyles that are centered around place and strong, interconnected communities.

Going local can help us do all of those things and more. Here are a few examples. Read more

Love Letters from Vermont: The Arts Help Build Strong Local Economies

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When we last visited Brattleboro, VT, more than a dozen years ago, we thought: “Cool town, good bones, lots of potential.” But beyond a small number of off-beat shops and tiny bistros, there didn’t seem to be much happening, especially compared with “our” river towns, Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Here in the Delaware River Valley, Chamber of Commerce members, politicians and other interested parties had long since grasped that one of the area’s greatest economic resources was its large supply of artists. It’s that type of insight — understanding the power of a creative, arts-driven LOCAL economy — that has transformed Brattleboro and other Vermont towns into thriving destinations, despite the ongoing downturn.

Localism at Work

Vermonters apparently began recognizing the potential of art to revitalize local economies sometime in the early 1980s. The transformation didn’t happen overnight. But, over time, the efforts of state and local arts councils, renovators, business owners and, of course, artists, began to pay off. Brattleboro and many other Vermont towns and villages now complement outdoor recreational attractions (skiing, hiking, mountain biking) with a vibrant mix of small, independent shops, galleries and sophisticated restaurants showcasing locally produced foods. Read more

Shop ’til you drop, but try to keep it local

Thanks to American Express, post-Thanksgiving shopping now encompasses not only Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also Small Business Saturday. This type of corporate support can do a lot to raise the profile of localism. But the “shop local” thing really represents a grass-roots movement, fueled by people all over the globe who get the critical importance of supporting small, independent businesses in their own communities.

Why Local Matters

While Black Friday is all about getting the latest item before stores run out — or getting the best deal while it lasts — buying from independent local shops has a less fleeting purpose. It actually helps sustain and build the economy in your town (and neighboring towns) by increasing the amount of times your dollars can circulate through the local economy. The “love your local” and “shop local” campaigns throughout the Delaware River Valley have undoubtedly made a difference over the past few years, keeping many shops going and even thriving despite the weak economy. We can show our appreciation by supporting those shops during the holiday season. And we can go a step further by seeking out items that are sourced and/or made locally (artisanal foods, fine art, hand-crafted gifts) or that are made from eco-conscious materials and support triple-bottom line and fair trade practices.

How to Shop Local

The Delaware River Valley offers endless opportunities to shop local, independent, hand-made and green.

  • On the town. New Hope, Lambertville, Stockton, Sergeantsville, Frenchtown, Doylestown and Newtown…take your pick or visit them all. For details

New Hope: http://www.lambertville.org/

Lambertville: http://www.visitnewhope.com/

Doylestown:http://doylestownalive.com/business/ShowBusinesses.cfm?submit1=555&expandlisting=TRUE&webname=dalive

  • Off the beaten path. When you’re heading “into town,” don’t bypass the many unique shops tucked in along back-country roads. If you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary or representative of the area, also consider shopping for gifts at farmers’ markets and farm-owned stores. Check Fresh’s Local Resources: Farm-Fresh Food for ideas.
  • At galleries and art/craft shows. In addition to the many galleries throughout the area, there are plenty of holiday shows featuring local artisans and fine artists. One of our favorites is the Covered Bridge Artisans show: http://www.coveredbridgeartisans.com/. Check local papers for others.
  • Online — but local. If you’re more of a Cyber Monday kind of shopper, you can still support local businesses simply by visiting their online shops. It’s also possible to search for local vendors on large online marketplaces, such as Etsy.com, the “Amazon” of handmade gifts. (Full disclosure: Fresh recently launched an Etsy shop featuring hand-painted picture frames. You can visit at: www.etsy.com/shop/freshbyhand.) To find vendors close to home, simply go to Etsy.com, click “Shop Local” and type in your town and state.

Have a great Small Business Saturday — and local holiday shopping season!