Homesteading Workshops Coming to the Mohawk Valley!
Mohawk Valley Awarded NYS Pollution Prevention Grant For “Homesteading” Workshops
The Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (MVEDD), in partnership with a local seamstress, Lori Smith, the Kirkland Town Library and Grow Amsterdam NY, has been awarded grant monies from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) to host a series of educational community “Homesteader Workshops.” Through funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), NYSP2I has selected 12 projects across NYS focusing on community based pollution prevention strategies.
MVEDD’s mission is to promote economic growth and community resiliency within the Mohawk Valley. MVEDD will continue supporting local businesses through sustainable development that emphasizes job growth, enhances quality of life, and increases regional viability.
The term homesteading is defined as a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, including subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and small craft-like trades such as textile working and making common household items within the home. The epitome of homesteading is sustainability and reducing waste as a way of life. There are many homesteader practices that used to be the norm, and have in recent decades fallen out of practice. These include simple repair of clothing, saving seeds and growing food at home, composting food waste materials, and using common, simple ingredients to make household cleaning products. These skills are integral to sustainability and pollution prevention at home. Teaching residents these skills can help to foster more sustainable communities by empowering a network of people in those communities to “do it themselves” – together.
MVEDD will be coordinating three different Homesteading Workshops in 2024:
- “In the House” – This workshop will take place in early Spring 2024 (date is TBD). This workshop will take place in Mohawk, NY. There will be a sewing demonstration to teach simple repair techniques (sewing on buttons, mending rips) to reduce textile waste. There will also be a demonstration on making homemade household cleaners without toxins found in many commercial brands. A short presentation will be provided to educate attendees on energy conservation and efficiency programs in NYS that can lower utility bills and reduce energy wastage.
- “Around the House” – This workshop will take place in late spring/early summer 2024 (date is TBD). This workshop will take place in Amsterdam, NY, and will be hosted by Grow Amsterdam NY. This workshop will cover composting techniques (with an option for renters/people with limited yard space!) and greener landscaping practices.
- “Feed the House” – This workshop will take place in late summer 2024 (date is TBD). This workshop will take place at the Kirkland Town Library and will focus on proper food storage to extend the shelf life of foods and reduce waste, seed saving, basic tips and strategies for starting a backyard garden, and how to grow microgreens in your home.
“With modern technology, a lot of generational skills like sewing, backyard gardening, seed saving and sustainable landscape practices have been lost to fast commercial and industrial fixes that often have significant environmental consequences,” says Samantha Francisco, Clean Energy Specialist for MVEDD. “These workshops will be designed to make people more sustainable at home, and we hope that the skills learned will cause a chain reaction in our communities to promote independence and resiliency in a rapidly changing world,” she continued.
MVEDD community-based projects
MVEDD is involved in many community-based projects across the Mohawk Valley, and has long prioritized pollution prevention through various committees, such as the Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) and Mohawk Valley Farm and Agribusiness Network (MVFAN) initiatives. These workshops, when completed, will be replicable and MVEDD will share the workshop materials with any interested community organization looking to host one of their own.
Reducing pollution at home can be achieved with a few simple behavioral changes, and often, more sustainable practices end up saving both money and energy at once. “MVEDD will collaborate with local leaders in Mohawk, NY, Kirkland, NY, and Amsterdam, NY; working with individuals that promote sustainable living in our communities already,” says Heather Devitt, Deputy Director of MVEDD. “We hope that these workshops shine a light on what our communities are already doing to be more resilient, and inspire grassroots change in our neighborhoods and beyond to be less wasteful. We hope to see you at one of our workshops!” she continued.
MVEDD will be announcing workshop dates in the first quarter of 2024.
Please check our website at mvedd.org for announcements and registration links (when available) regarding these events.