The Common Ground Celebration on September 15 was a big success not only because the crowds enjoyed crafts, local foods and a variety of exciting vendors, but also because it was an opportunity to recognize just some of the outstanding members of our community. The Signs of Sustainability Awards acknowledge individuals and organizations in the Rondout Valley who are doing their part to help advance community sustainability.
The awards ceremony took place on the top of a hill at the beautiful grounds of the Stone Ridge Orchard, providing a vantage point to look out at our neighboring villages that bustle with the latest ideas in sustainability, transition and abundance.
Presented by Transition Marbletown, the Signs of Sustainability Awards define sustainability as practices that demonstrate stewardship and consider the present and future vitality of wild, agricultural or human resources. This year’s award winners are:
• Kelder’s Farm, Jackie and Chris Kelder – for a diverse agricultural project and the human community they support
• Movable Beast, Francesca Noble and Charles Noble – sustainable grass-fed beef producers
• Joan Ewing and Wilton Duckworth – promoting community and an understanding of Permaculture principles
• Tom Tegeler – for decades of devotion to youth sports, and being a beloved coach and mentor
• Ulster Corps – cultivating a culture of volunteerism
• Rosendale Theatre Collective – preserving a cultural institution, promoting culture and healthy economic stimulus to Rosendale
• Rondout Valley Holistic Community – creating a free Community Health Day and demonstrating sustainable group governance
• Silas Cutler-Lockshon and Brian Roach – students at RVHS, for exemplary community service and volunteerism
• Hudson Valley Seed Library – seed saving, preserving regional identity of food, and independence of seeds
• Nicci Cagan – advocate for garden curriculum in schools and made-from-scratch food that nourishes in our school cafeterias
• Four Winds Farm, Jay and Polly Armour – sustainable farmers, solar-powered farm, no-till high yield techniques
Last year was the first year individuals were selected for the awards, so many of these people and groups have been anchors in our community for over a decade or more—seeding the spirit of sustainability with initiatives and practices that benefit us all. These award recipients were chosen from three categories: 1) stewardship of wild resources; 2) stewardship of agricultural resources; and 3) stewardship of human resources.
The goal of the Signs of Sustainability Awards is to bring these passionate and valuable community members together, strengthening their connections to one another, making a public record of their endeavors, and potentially spawning new sustainability initiatives by telling the stories of these individuals and organizations.
A “Sign of Sustainability” plaque, designed and produced by local artists Maria Reidelbach and Brinton Baker, were presented to all of the awardees. It is a goal that these signs will be displayed prominently in our towns and will soon create public awareness of the community-wide concern for local sustainability.
Transition Marbletown will continue to present the Signs of Sustainability Awards each year. The organization will invite past recipients of the award to join in and nominate fellow community members to be recognized.