A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Signs of Sustainability: Tim and Laurel Sweeney

The Signs of Sustainability (SOS) project is a citizen-led initiative created to show gratitude to our friends and neighbors is the Rondout Valley who demonstrate sustainable practices. Sustainability is defined by this project as stewardship of our homes, families, and communities in harmony with nature, and preservation of the wild, agricultural and cultural resources that allow us to flourish. Since the SOS project began in October 2012, the awards have recognized 31 local individuals and organizations by documenting what they have done. Each year the past recipients of the award are invited to join in the selection process.  

Tim and Laurel Sweeney
Photo by Ilene Cutler.
If our community had just Tim Sweeney or just Laurel Sweeney we would be lucky—but we have both and that just seems unfair. Owners of Nutshell Reality and Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits, Tim and Laurel are rock stars of local economy as well as community service. Serving on boards and steering committees for more than three decades, they have logged countless hours in meetings devoted to creating and overseeing programs and policies that have made the Rondout Valley a better place to live.  In addition, Tim and Laurel put their energy into supporting fundraisers for many beloved nonprofits such as Mohonk Preserve, the Women’s Studio Workshop, Marbletown Multi-Arts, Big Brothers and Sisters, and countless others.

Years ago, when Laurel was a school nurse, she became active in hunger issues.  She helped start the “I Fed My Neighbor”  project and  began work with the enormously beneficial Rondout Valley Food Pantry.  Her interest then turned to the arts, as she worked with a small group of parents focused on bringing a series of creative after-school programs into the public school district.  These parents also brought The Vanaver Caravan into classrooms to foster understanding of world culture through dance and music. Meanwhile Tim served an 8-year tenure as president of The Rondout Valley Business Association, growing the membership from 20 to 120. He served on the first planning and zoning committee in Marbletown, which sought to protect the historic nature of the town, and he has 16 years of vestry service at Christ the King Church. Currently he is proud to hold a governor’s appointment as a Trustee to SUNY Ulster.

The personalities of Tim and Laurel are such that they create connections between people, welcoming diversity to the community and new faces to the work of all of the projects they are involved in. Their unique ability to work well in groups is something we can all learn from.  Tim and Laurel see the needs in our community and over and over again they step up to help out.  Thank you Tim and Laurel!

–Lisa Jones, Signs of Sustainability Coordinator