Appendix C, A-M
Table of Contents | Appendix C

Appendix C
Alabama - Maine


Land Assistance Fund
Epes, Alabama

Contact: Gus Townes, Director; Rural Training and Research Center; P.O. Box 95; Epes, AL 35460; Tel: (205) 652-9676

Scope: Statewide. 

Inception Date: 1971 

Participants: Cooperatives, individuals, farmers 

Project Type: Environmental justice/equity, sustainable agriculture, community economic development

Methods Used: Training, cooperative development

Lessons Learned: It is difficult for organizations to conduct long term planning when the funding available to them may change considerably from year to year. Family farmers can make a living if they have access to the right skills and resources.

Since 1967, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund has organized a multi-racial, community-based cooperative economic movement among 25,000 low income families in over 100 communities throughout the rural South. Through its efforts, the Federation and its 125 member cooperatives and credit unions have worked to generate new income, jobs, services, training, awareness and a spirit of self-help and change for people in some of the most persistently poverty-stricken rural counties in the United States. 

The cooperative movement

The Federation itself is a cooperative that is composed of both organizational and individual members. Nearly all of the member cooperatives were originally founded by the Federation and then spun off as separate organizations. Cooperative members in Alabama include the Freedom Quilting Bee, the Tuskegee Panola Land Buying Association, the Prichard Claiborne Catfish Cooperative, and the York Marengo County Farmers Association.

The mission of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives is two-fold: One, to help poor people help themselves. Two, to adapt the classic cooperative principles—membership, one person-one vote, benefits returned according to use and participation, limited returns on investment, constant education and constant expansion—to solving the problems of poor black farmers and rural communities.

Helping black farmers stay on the land

The Federation is the leading group in the nation actively involved with the problems of land loss and displacement of family farmers of color. Black farmers are still losing land at an alarming rate in the South, although in the counties where the Federation is active they have significantly reduced the rate of loss.

According to the Federation, land retention is the key to rural economic development, especially for African-Americans. There are few other viable options for residents, especially young people, in the rural south. Furthermore, when land is lost by farmers and developed for other uses the results often include negative environmental impacts.

In 1993-94, the Federation provided direct land retention assistance to over two hundred landowners who owned a combined total of over 24,000 acres of land. Of that amount, they were able to save nearly 17,500 acres that have a conservative value of $8.75 million. The Federation also held over 400 community meetings and workshops across the rural South for more than 5,000 small family farmers who collectively own over 300,000 acres.

Strengthening and connecting rural and urban communities

The Rural/Urban Market Program helps black farmers retain their land by providing them with a source of consistent income. The program connects rural farmers lacking access to markets with residents in inner cities where quality, fresh, nutritious produce is not always available for a reasonable price.

In 1994, approximately 800 family farmers from throughout the South and 200 farmers in Alabama participated in the Rural to Urban Direct Marketing Project. Participating farmers sold over $300,000 in produce through Rural/Urban markets throughout the south. In addition, many of the markets provided part-time jobs for youths and other community residents.

The Federation also organizes farmers to participate in selling to commercial markets. In 1994, over $1.4 million in produce was sold to commercial markets. Many of the farmers that the Federation works with have been organic farmers for years but did not know that they could make more money by marketing their crops as organic. The Federation is showing farmers how to shift from chemical-based to sustainable farming and how to market organic agricultural products.

Community owned and controlled banking

The Federation's five credit unions in Alabama have combined assets of over $700,000, over 2,200 members and have made nearly $6 million in loans. During 1994, a new community development credit union, the Stillman Community Federal Credit Union in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama was chartered by the National Credit Union Administration. During its first week of operation, $60,000 was deposited by new members. The Federation is currently applying for charters for five more credit unions in Alabama.

Unlike conventional banks, credit unions are controlled by their members. Depositors elect the members of the board and the different committees that govern the credit unions. The Federation's credit unions make loans to people in the community who often cannot get loans from other sources. According to Gus Townes, Director of the Federation's Rural Training and Research Center, "The credit unions are not only financial institutions but also are vehicles to pull people together and force them to plan about community issues and organize around other issues."

Cooperative training and leadership development

In 1971, the Federation established the Rural Training Center on almost 1,000 acres near Epes in Sumter County, Alabama. The Center provides training to individual and cooperative members in the following areas:

• • • Cooperative Economic Development,

• • • Operation and Management of Credit Unions,

• • • Specific skill areas for Agricultural, Handicraft and Consumer Cooperatives,

• • • Housing production, development, rehabilitation and weatherization,

• • • Youth development and leadership,

• • • Business development and loan packaging,

• • • Community organizing and development,

• • • Agricultural marketing.

Approximately 30 people each month and 350 to 400 people each year will be trained at the Center when renovations are completed in late 1995.

Rural Enterprise Community (EC)

Greene and Sumter Counties in Alabama were among 30 rural areas designated as federal Enterprise Communities based on a proposal submitted earlier in the year by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives on behalf of the county governments and community groups.

The Federation will serve as the lead agency in administering approximately three million dollars in EC funds. Three flexible funds will be established with $2.6 million:_a Revolving Loan and Equity Investment Fund ($1.5 million), an Infrastructure Investment Fund ($500,000) and an Education, Training and Supportive Services Fund ($600,000) to facilitate moving the EC area forward in a positive direction.

The primary purpose of the Enterprise Community is to provide business opportunities and create 1,000 jobs over 10 years in Sumter and Greene Counties, as well as to provide infrastructure funds to rural towns in the two county area.

Consistent funding a problem

According to Gus Townes, the biggest barrier to the Federation's success is consistent funding. "Getting people to understand exactly what our mission is and getting funding on a consistent basis, those are our challenges. We never have been able to get a substantial amount of funding for five or ten years. If we knew we would have funding for the next five or ten years, we wouldn't have to cut corners and we could hire sufficient staff." The Federation is attempting to overcome this problem by moving toward greater reliance on self-generated resources from its membership and from the communities it serves.

Showing farmers how to be successful

The Federation has a history of showing small family farmers how they can make a living and stay on their land. 

"The challenge is how to take a farmer and move him from point a to point b," says Gus Townes. "We've been doing the same thing for almost thirty years. What we have done demonstrates the need for this kind of thing and that if a person really wants to do something they can— with the right resources. If a farmer really wants to farm and make money and hold onto his land, there's a way to do that."

Alaska Citizen Initiatives

Sitka and Wrangell, Alaska

Contacts: Sitka- Larry Edwards; P.O. Box 6000; Sitka, Alaska 99835; Tel.: (907) 747-8996

Wrangell- Bob Gorman, District Agent; Alaska Cooperative Extension Service; 1297 Seward Avenue; Sitka, Alaska 99835; Tel.: (907) 747-6065

Scope: Town/rural; 

Inception Date: Sitka -1993 Wrangell - 1991; 

Participants: Townspeople, fishermen, loggers, Native Americans; 

Project Type: Citizen-led initiatives, natural resource conservation, local business development; 

Methods Used: Public education, local organizing and planning, collaboration with other jurisdictions; 

Lessons Learned: Public processes need to be inclusive. Anticipatory planning works best. Participatory processes help citizens develop new perspectives. 


The town of Sitka, located in southeast Alaska on the coast of Baranof Island, was the first capital of Alaska. This deep water port of 8500 residents is set against a backdrop of mountains to the east and Sitka Sound to the west. Many on this island and neighboring islands rely on the bay and the forests for their subsistence. Other residents depended on employment at a local pulp mill. For years, it was the town's largest single employer of 400 people. 

Two years ago, the Alaska Pulp plant was closed down. Local officials and residents alike feared the worst, anticipating economic collapse and high unemployment. The city administration took a traditional route in devising an economic recovery plan. It formed a task force and held meetings to decide what the future of the community might be and to develop a set of recommendations, which included attracting another large employer.

In contrast, the reaction of many citizens proved to be quite different. Initially they too were concerned about the loss of the mill on their jobs and Sitka's economic future. As time went on, they became more interested in developing an economy that was more diverse as well as environmentally sound. They wanted more small businesses employing a few employees rather than large single businesses that might have an adverse affect on the environment. 

Recent economic trends

Despite the initial gloomy predictions from local officials after the mill closed, the town has continued to prosper — tax revenues are $85,000 higher than expected, housing starts are up, business revenues and startups have increased, land values are higher, and job creation is strong as evidenced by the public health hospital planned expansion with new jobs for 160 people. Although the timber industry is declining, other economic areas are expanding. Tourism is now a billion dollar per year industry in Alaska and an important part of Sitka's economy. Small businesses, health care and especially construction are growing. Since the plant was closed, air and water quality have improved substantially.

Citizen initiatives

In early 1994 a citizens comprehensive plan was developed to help citizens envision their future and make recommendations to the City Council. It has informally prompted a series of citizen action steps.

Many citizens are seeking a diversified economy that produces jobs while protecting the environment. They emphasize the need for:

are looking at examples of businesses that are, according to Kathie Wasserman, the director of a new marketing alliance for value-added products, "forest-related, not timber-dependent." It would correspond to the work of WoodNet, located in Washington state, which supports a collaborative effort among artists, artisans and timber interests. Other examples of value-added enterprises would include a company in Vancouver that produces wooden outdoor furniture and has created 20 jobs using as little as 500,000 board feet per year. 

One of the grassroots organizations, Friends of Southeast's Future, is taking steps to insure that sustainable logging practices are employed. They have drafted, circulated and presented the town's first citizens' initiative, scheduled for inclusion on the ballot this fall, which will call for a change in timber extraction practices. Specifically, it calls for an end to clearcutting and to all comparable logging methods in the "Sitka Local Use Area" in order to prevent habitat destruction.

Maintaining ecosystems and protecting habitat is especially important for natives and non-natives alike who subsist on game and fish. The livelihood of commercial fishermen is at stake as well. They catch as much as 800,000 pounds of salmon each year and are equally dependent on maintaining a clean environment. Any major impact, such as deforestation, affects their survival.

This wholly grassroots effort has taken this initiative directly to the people of Sitka and has been effective in publicizing it in the local paper, on radio and television spots, and through word of mouth. They are persuaded that this effort is critical to assuring a sustainable future for their community. 

Citizens from all walks of life have gathered signatures from their neighbors, in stores, at schools and even from fellow fishermen on the water, in numbers far more numerous than required by law. If the initiative receives a majority of votes, it will have legal authority. 

This initiative and the process citizens are employing is proving to be an inspiration for other small communities in Southeast Alaska such as Craig, Elfin Cove, Gustavus, Hoonah, Kiawock, Kupreanof, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, and the Haida Tribe/Hydaburg Cooperative Association. They are also developing resolutions, with similar emphasis, for adoption in their jurisdictions. 

Wrangell 2001 

The potential loss of a saw mill, which in fact closed in 1994, also prompted this fishing and timbering town of 2,300 located at the middle of the Panhandle in Southeast Alaska to reexamine its future. Local townspeople came together to address their needs and to develop a plan that was different from their traditional reliance on logging. 

Beginning in 1991, a series of strategic planning meetings were held involving a broad cross-section of the townspeople from business, government, fishing, health care facilities, schools, the former mill, and from native tribes. This effort was coordinated by Bob Gorman, district agent for the Alaskan Cooperative Extension Service and Keene Kohrt, Wrangell district Ranger for the US Forest Service.

The goal of these meetings was to encourage the expression of the vision and ideas of the stakeholders. They attracted a large number of residents with diverse points of view. After the first year of meetings, in order to gather a wider input of opinions, the organizers solicited views through a community survey on economic, infrastructure, and socio-economic issues. 

Some of the issues the respondents considered as priorities were ways to enhance the fishing industry, maintain timber interests, provide education for all, expand the visitors' center, and improve the infrastructure. The discussion ground rules were clearly presented to insure respect and full consideration of all views. The main recommendations include:

• • • opportunities for small businesses engaged in value-added specialty products;

• • • a unified approach to dealing with naturalresource issues;

• • • support services for the fishing industry to encourage fishermen and fish processors to stay in Wrangell.

Apart from developing the action plan of economic diversification focusing on timber, fishing, tourism, and a strengthened infrastructure for fisheries, they convinced the City Council to hire an economic development planner to help implement the plan. Another benefit for the community was a generation trained in leadership and facilitating skills. They learned the importance of working together, developing consensus, and thinking long-term. Bob Gorman stated the most important aspect of this effort, and that of Sitka, has been the process.


The residents of both Sitka and Wrangell have chosen to take an active part in rebuilding their economy in ways that look at the long-term health of their communities. These are new concepts and ones that require the participation of all the stakeholders. Perhaps the greatest challenge in Sitka is finding consensus on its economic future. Wrangell faces a similar situation but rebuilding a solid economic base may take more time. As a result of both these planning processes the future will reflect the vision of many rather than a few.

Civano-tucson solar village

Tucson, arizona

Contact: John Laswick, Project Manager; City of Tucson; Tel.: (520) 791-5093; Fax: (520) 791-5413; Office of Economic Development; P.O. Box 27210; Tucson, AZ 85726-7210

Scope: Local, urban 

Inception Date: 1989

Participants: Local, county, state and federal government agencies, key utilities, citizens groups and individuals, and a university

Project Type: Community design, energy efficiency, green building

Methods Used: Multi-stakeholder process with extensive involvement of public and private agencies and organizations in an innovative planning process; preparation of master development plan and zoning ordinance revisions, preparation of performance targets, selection of master developer, provision for community monitoring of performance. 

Lessons Learned: The lack of a full-time advocate for the project has slowed down its progress.

Summary of Project

The Civano Tucson Solar Village (Civano) is a major real estate development that will be built using the principles of sustainable development and traditional neighborhood design. Planned for 820 acres (owned by the Arizona State Land Department within the southeastern city limits of Tucson, Arizona), Civano is intended to be an exemplary demonstration of cost-effective, resource-efficient development practices, where energy use and waste will be reduced while economic efficiency is increased. The overarching goal of the Civano project is to demonstrate the marketability of sustainable community design, on a large scale at affordable prices. Specific objectives are to:

• • • build a model sustainable community for an arid climate;

• • • use sun energy, conserve water, use land efficiently, reduce waste products and conserve time;

• • • promote a sense of community and place; and

• • • demonstrate that conservation can be both economic-ally viable and socially relevant.

The village is planned around a compact core with a full mix of employment opportunities, shops, services and recreational activities. Both homes and multi-family dwellings will be built and will accommodate persons with a wide range of incomes.

Broad Public / Private Partnership Creates Civano

Civano was originally a joint project of the Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission and the State of Arizona Energy Office. The project is currently being managed by the City of Tucson Office of Economic Development. Active planning for the project began in 1989 and involved the creation of a Master Development Plan presented in February 1992. It is expected that the state land will be sold during the Fall of 1995 to a private master developer, who will agree to the designated performance standards. Zoning is approved for the project. Civano was planned in a highly cooperative framework of public, private, and community interests at the local, state and national levels. Organizations involved in the process, past and present, include: City of Tucson (key agencies), Civano Advisory Committee (composed of 16 community advocates and business people), citizens groups and representatives of Metropolitan Tucson, the U.S. Department of Energy's Urban Consortium Task Force, Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Solar Energy Advisory Council, Environmental Research Lab, Greater Tucson Economic Council, National Research Center, National Association of Home Builders, Pima County, P&D Technologies, Community Design Associates, The Planning Center, Public Technologies Inc., Sandia National Labs, Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, Tucson Local Development Corporation, Tucson Electric Power, University of Arizona, Greater Tucson Economic Council, County Wastewater Management, Sun Tran, Pima Association of Government, and Southwest Gas.

Performance Targets

Key to the Civano Village concept are the performance targets developed for the village. The original targets, as expressed in the 1992 Master Plan, are to: 

• • • reduce energy consumption by 75%;

• • • reduce the consumption of water by 65%; 

• • • reduce the production of solid waste by 90%; 

• • • reduce air pollution by 40%;

• • • provide one job for every two residential units built; 

• • • limit auto access by developing an internal transporta-tion circulation pattern that encourages pedestrian and bicycle, or (with permit) electric golf cart; and

• • • provide affordable housing within the village.

In 1994, updated performance targets and the requirements/guidelines for meeting them were developed for the city by a team of leading U.S. environmental specialists, Criterion Planners/ Engineers and McKeever/Morris, Inc. of Portland, Ore., and their subcontractor, the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems of Austin, Texas. The teams approach is referred to as the IMPACT system (Integrated Method of Performance and Contribution Tracking), which is a means of organizing resource efficiency goals and stakeholder cooperation for sustainable community development, and for measuring progress toward those goals over time. The general goals for the targets are presented, for the most part, in terms of "reducing (energy, water, etc.) demands beneath Metropolitan Tucson baseline levels." Specific detail is presented for each. In the case of energy, targets are broken down according to building type. The goals and targets will be updated every two years.

Each goal is accompanied by building requirements designed to help achieve the performance target. A sampling of requirements (as worded) in the plan, includes: 

• • • Street and lots are to be designed so that all structures can be oriented to optimize solar exposure;

• • • Landscape and hardscape coloration and vegetation is to be used to reduce microclimate temperatures adjacent to buildings. The average reflectivity of all major exterior surfaces must be 0.5 or greater on the albedo scale;

• • • Consideration will be given to district heating and cooling of the Villages high-density core areas; and

• • • All landscape irrigation will be accomplished with non-potable water and / or rain harvesting.

In summary, the guidelines also require the: 

• • • use of solar technologies in building construction, including the use of shading, daylighting, and high performance windows.

• • • layout of the village and the design of individual buildings that anticipates the future economic use of photovoltaic energy generation; a land set-aside for a photovoltaic field and using building designs that can accommodate solar equipment in the future.

• • • use of city xeriscaping standards in the village to save water; the use of high-efficiency irrigation systems, normally located below grade, and the use of water conservation standards for fixtures and appliances.

• • • developers to contribute to the reduction of solid waste by providing land that is set-aside for a Recycling Center and community composting facility; builders to provide recycling separation areas and hazardous material storage in private homes; and the use of recycled building materials and recycled materials in roadway and pathway construction wherever possible.

• • • limited use of automobiles to reduce air pollution by: using through streets rather than cul-de-sacs; requiring all streets to have either sidewalks or parallel bike or multi-purpose paths; locating retail services and employment areas near residences; creating residential and commercial areas that are pedestrian-friendly, with tree canopies, benches, and signage; the use of bicycles and electric carts; siting recharging stations for electric vehicles within the village; and, providing a shuttle service from the village to the nearest transit stop or park and ride lot.

• • • emphasis on local employment, with the requirement that a percentage of commercial space be constructed for every residential unit (the goal is that the local business district employ a minimum of 1200 people). Builders are encouraged to provide home office spaces in residential units with appropriate space, daylighting, and electrical connections. 

• • • wide mix of housing types, including multi-family housing, in the core area closest to the central commercial area, with the overall requirement is that 20% of the units be priced for low-income households.


The methods that have been developed to achieve the environmental performance goals are the most innovative aspect of this ambitious program. The Civano Community Association (CCA), to be composed of future village residents, and its CCA Development Review Committee, will share the responsibility with the City of Tucson for monitoring and approving builder performance in meeting the standards. The "Performance Target Compliance Workbook," based upon the "Measurement and Implementation Plan," is intended to help land developers and builders achieve the goals and targets of Civano. It will also be used by the City of Tucson and the Civano Community Association to check compliance and determine whether land development and building permits should be granted. The city is working with educational institutions, utility companies and industry associations to develop an educational program that will be used as part of a process to certify builders and designers for work on Civano and to meet its performance standards. The city also plans to make this program available to other construction projects anywhere in the Tucson area, on a voluntary basis, as soon as possible.

Making Vision a Reality

The development of this visionary project has spanned six years, and is going into its seventh. The plan called for the sale of the land to a master developer a year ago, which did not materialize: The states goal to get top dollar for the land may be a barrier to finding a buyer. The project, which hit a lull as a result, is moving forward once again. The city's Office of Economic Development has ordered a new marketing study, is developing a high quality advertising brochure to meet the needs of potential master developers, builders, and consumers, and is completing the review and approval of the performance standards, with the goal of finding a buyer/master developer in the Fall of 1995. 

Meadowcreek local food project 

Fox, Arkansas

Contact: Gary Valen, Executive Director; Meadowcreek, Inc.; 1 Meadowcreek Lane; P.O. Box 100; Fox, AK 72051; Tel.: (501) 363-4500; Fax: (501) 363-4578

Scope: Local/county, urban/rural 

Inception Date: 1986

Participants: Farmers, gardeners, livestock producers, food service oerators, local consumers, transportation operators, canning kitchen and restaurant workers, local governments, service clubs, non-profits and Chambers of Commerce

Project Type: Economic development, food production, value added business, local marketing 

Methods Used: Demonstration projects, education, training

Lessons Learned: The need for cooperation among producers and consumers to overcome institutional barriers; inflexible bidding requirements keep state school from participating.

Summary of Project 

The Meadowcreek Local Food Project links institutional food services (such as cafeterias or restaurants) to local sources of food. It utilizes a holistic and comprehensive approach, based on sustainable community development principles. The overarching objectives of the program are rural community revival and the reestablishment of food production as a meaningful, profitable, and desirable occupation. Goals of the program are to:

• • • provide occupations for rural people

• • • connect consumers with persons who grow food in the local community;

• • • promote agricultural methods that are healthy to the consumer, environmentally-sensitive, and humane to farm animals and wildlife;

• • • empower institutions with food service operations to support community development through the purchase of food items from local sources; and

• • • feature local food items in area supermarkets, food outlets, and eating establishments.

The benefits derived from Local Food Projects include: 

• • • fresher, healthier sources of food for food-service patrons; 

• • • new markets for farmers, which help sustain the small- farm way of life; 

• • • new partnerships among groups within the community; and 

• • • an infusion of money into the local economy, money that can be reinvested in the community many times over. 

Project Sponsor

The project sponsor, Meadowcreek, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization. Its outreach programs focus on sustainable community development, environmental concepts and practices, and alternative energy strategies and implementation. Headquartered in the Ozark Mountains, its facilities serve as an education and conference center. On its 1500 acres, Meadowcreek also demonstrates local food production, environmentally sensitive lifestyles, alternative energy methods, and rural community development. Meadowcreek, Inc., derives most of its income from the use of its facilities for conferences, retreats, and youth programs. The use of its own food products provides an income from the garden as well as from the food operation. It received major financial support (which is currently winding down) for three years from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma. A portion of the Local Food Project is sustained by the everyday activities at Meadowcreek. The projects described below—Hendrix College and the Leslie community project—received, or are receiving initial sponsorship from private foundations, the Rural Economic and Community Development Services of USDA, and private donations. The Hendrix project is self-sustaining. The Leslie project is designed to be so within three years.

College Supports Local Economic Development

In 1986, Meadowcreek, in cooperation with Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., began a collaboration that led the college to establish the Hendrix Local Food Project. Students, as part of a campus wellness program, focused on student nutrition and conducted a study that gathered information on the sources of the food served at Hendrix. They discovered that wholesalers filled campus food orders with products obtained from across the United States and Mexico, with only seven percent of the cafeterias meal items coming from Arkansas. Meat, vegetables, and dairy products came from long distances, even though such commodities were produced within a few miles of the campus. Hendrix, a private, four-year liberal arts college, is "committed to encouraging not only the intellectual development of the state's young people, but also the economic development of its home community and the state as a whole." 

So the administration took the position that commodities produced locally were preferred to those produced outside the state and, in June 1987, directed the food service to buy its food supplies as close to home as possible. 

Challenges Met With a Variety of Strategies

Following through on this good intention presented some immediate challenges, including a kitchen that was organized and equipped to use mainly processed foods, and farmers that weren't prepared to supply products in the form and amounts needed by an institutional food service. Local foods were actually more expensive, especially if they carried the "organic" label. Students raised on fast foods (common meal choices in the modern era of working families, shopping malls, and large institutional foods operations) had to readjust their tastes. These barriers required strategies to educate the producers, consumers, and meal preparers. New systems and procedures had to be developed to facilitate the use of local commodities. The Hendrix Local Food Project was successfully created to meet those needs. The project was directed by a coordinator and a small advisory group so that problems could be addressed and new ideas incorporated. Strategies implemented included:

• • • preparing menu plans that utilized food from local producers;

• • • preparing a list of menu items at the beginning of the season so the farmers could adjust their production to a known market;

• • • designating one farmer as the delivery person so that the local produce arrived on one day each week at the food service; and

• • • labeling menu items so the students would know what came from local sources, as well as nutritional information.

The college, with the advice and help of Meadowcreek, was able to bring its utilization of local food from seven percent to thirty percent in three years. As a result, over $200,000 in food-generated revenues were spent in the local community each year. The yield would have been higher if permanent distribution systems and more farmers could have been added. The Hendrix Local Food Project, while it is still in effect, is challenged by the lack of a community-based supply system and the failure, as of yet, to gain support from other institutions in the same area. A state school in the same community is unable to utilize local produce due to a complicated bid structure mandated by state government. Although the Hendrix Local Food Project experienced success, projects at several other colleges have remained less successful at overcoming the barriers of food service personnel resistance, distribution problems, and the lack of producers who can supply commodities at the times and in the ways that are useful to institutional dining operations. College administrators tend to view their dining halls as auxiliary services that have little relationship with educational missions. Most institutions hire outside vendors who have special relationships with large food distribution companies. Local farmers seldom gain access to these nationally organized markets. To be successful, local food projects require an interdisciplinary/cross-sectoral team approach. In the case of Hendrix, the team included the college's administration, the food-service's administration, kitchen staff, patrons (students, faculty, staff), funding agencies, rural development leaders, agricultural extension service agents and farmers and farmer groups. Students were integral to the success of the Hendrix project. The project provided a vehicle for hands-on experience in research, market analysis, agricultural production techniques, reporting, institutional food systems, and community development.

Next Steps

The Meadowcreek Local Food Project is now entering its next stage of development through a community-based project that will link producers and consumers in a three county area of the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas. The area, the location of Meadowcreek, qualifies as an economically distressed region by almost every criteria. The new project will begin with a restaurant and organic canning kitchen combination in the small tourist town of Leslie. The restaurant will feature menu items that utilize locally raised or grown organic foods. Patrons will be area residents and tourists who frequent the Ozark region. During the late evening or slow times the kitchen of the restaurant will be used to can organic food items for marketing and distribution to other outlets such as schools, grocery stores, hospitals, and industrial plants. Additional food operations will be located in other areas of the three county region. Several school districts plan to operate gardens on the school grounds as a learning device for students and a source of menu items for their cafeterias. Already, the increased production of local foods has stimulated new farmers markets and the potential of a community supported agricultural (CSA) project. Meanwhile, Meadowcreek has joined forces with another non-profit organization to work on the Leslie component of the Local Food Project. Six VISTA Volunteers are working on the project to promote the concept in the region and to implement the various stages of development for the restaurant and canning kitchen. The VISTA Volunteers have found high levels of support for the local food concept among leaders and other residents of the region. The list of farmers interested in supplying food products to the initiative continues to grow. Meadowcreek will be able to ease the Leslie process with the lessons learned from its experience with the Hendrix College Local Food Project and its own kitchen/food operation. The Leslie project will in turn serve as a model for other communities. The Meadowcreek Local Food Projects manual—Local Food Production for Local Needs: a Manual for the Analysis of a College or University Food Service—will be available early Fall 1995. Other materials specifically on the Hendrix experience are also available through Meadowcreek.

Santa Monica sustainable city program

Santa Monica, California

Contact: Craig Perkins, Director; Tel.: (310) 458-8221; Fax: (310) 576-3598; City of Santa Monica; Environmental Programs Division; 200 Santa Monica Pier; Santa Monica, CA 90401

Dean Kubani, Administrative Analyst; Tel.: (310) 458-8972; Fax: (310) 393-1279

Scope: Local, urban

Inception Date: August 1991

Participants: Volunteer Citizen Task Force, City Departments, City Council, Santa Monica citizens

Project Type: Sustainable indicators, natural resource conservation, public education 

Methods Used: Task Force with diverse fields of expertise, public survey, neighborhood presentations on program and community participation in revisions/recommendations, draft report for public comment, defining benchmarks and indicators of sustainability

Lessons Learned: Through a multi-stakeholder process and strong local government leadership and example, much can be done without changing laws.

Summary of Project 

In August 1991, the City Council of Santa Monica established the Santa Monica Task Force on the Environment as a working group comprised of seven volunteer citizens. They were nominated by city staff and City Council members based upon their specific expertise in environmental issues. Working with staff from the city's Department of Environmental and Public Works Management, Environmental Programs Division, the Task Force identified sustainability as a fundamental vision to guide the city's environmental policies and programs. The Task Force then worked to create the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program, with the purpose of providing the city with a coordinated, proactive approach to implementing the city's existing and planned environmental programs.

Developing Community Consensus

Over a year and a half, the Task Force sponsored an extensive period of public review, community outreach, and consensus-building related to the Sustainable City Program. The draft of the proposed program was initially distributed to City Council, city departments, Housing and Planning Commissioners, Chamber of Commerce Environment Committee members, and interested citizens. A formal survey process, designed to identify areas of consensus, was conducted through a mailed questionnaire. A larger community-based public participation process was conducted with the assistance of the Neighborhood Support Center. A community-wide meeting held on June 2, 1994 generated participation from over 100 Santa Monica citizens. Task Force members also made presentations at annual and/or board meetings of most of the city's neighborhood associations. The revised program document was made available for public comment. Final revisions to the document incorporated and addressed the several hundred responses received. On September 20, 1994, the City Council officially adopted the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program founded on eight guiding principles:

• • • The concept of sustainability guides city policy;

• • • Protection, preservation and restoration of the natural environment is a high priority of the city;

• • • Environmental quality and economic health are mutually dependent;

• • • All decisions have environmental implications;

• • • Community awareness, responsibility, involvement and education are key elements of successful programs/ policies;

• • • Santa Monica recognizes its linkage with the regional, national, and global community;

• • • Those environmental issues most important to the community, should be addressed first, and the most cost- effective programs and policies should be selected; and

• • • The city is committed to procurement decisions that minimize negative environmental and social impacts.

The Sustainable City Program is carried out in four major policy areas, representing the focus of both current and future city programs that adhere to the guiding principles and strive to attain specific targets established for each area. The policy areas include: 

• • • Community and Economic Development;

• • • Transportation;

• • • Pollution Prevention and Public Health Protection; and,

• • • Resource Conservation.

Program Development

One of the first successes of the Sustainable City Program was establishing the Household Hazardous Waste Consumer Awareness Ordinance, also called the "Labeling Ordinance." To discourage dumping of hazardous waste, the Sustainable City Program brought retailers, city officials, and community members together to develop the Labeling Ordinance. It requires retailers to display labels that educate consumers on hazardous waste and encourages the use of non-hazardous substitutes. The Sustainable City Program will conduct public surveys to determine the success of the labeling. Other programs that are in progress include a comprehensive energy retrofitting of all city facilities and a sustainable schools project. A working group of the Sustainable City Program is defining sustainable construction guidelines for the civic center redevelopment project. These regulations will then be applied to all future city construction. Other projects include an environmental awards program for businesses and an environmental audit (including water, energy, recycling and waste evaluations) of businesses that is provided by the city for free. 

Indicators of Effectiveness

To assess the programs effectiveness, benchmarks and quantifiable targets for measuring progress were established. Sixteen specific targets, or sustainability indicators, were selected. Each indicator has a base year value in 1990, a 1993 value and an assigned target for the year 2000. For example in 1990, water use was 14.3 million gallons per day (gpd), in 1993 it was 12 million gpd and the year 2000 target is 11.4 million gpd. As work continues on the Sustainable City Program, it is envisioned that new indicators will be added and existing indicators will need to be revised or replaced.

The Task Force on the Environment and the city staff will prepare an Annual Sustainable City Report for the City Council that will assess progress made during the past year, evaluate overall program effectiveness, and recommend any program modifications that might be necessary. The Sustainable City Program is presently collecting data and developing measures of achievement for the first Annual Report to be submitted September 20, 1995. 

City to Set Example

The Task Force on the Environment and many others in the community believe that city operations themselves should be the first to take the practical steps toward sustainability. The city will serve as a model for other institutions and organizations in the community as well as for other cities in the region and nation. In its first year of implementation, the Sustainable City Programs Procurement Working Group has developed a checklist to be utilized by all city departments to ensure that broad environmental implications of decisions are considered, and that decision-making occurs in conjunction with its goals. The checklist targets three areas that encompass sustainability issues in the city decision-making process: purchasing, construction and development, and programs and services. 

Within each area, a decision tree categorizes the type of decisions and subcategories with a list of specific considerations important to the process. For purchasing durable and consumable goods, for example, the list of considerations includes cost, effectiveness, durability, recyclability, material source (virgin or recycled), resources used during manufacturing, local economic benefits and existing city purchasing guidelines. Once complete, the checklist will be supported by two databases. The first will provide city departments with information on environmentally acceptable products, suppliers, consultants, sustainable policy options, best available technologies and best management practices. The second database will include existing and proposed city regulations, and policies as well as environmental and sustainability considerations. 

A Volunteer Effort

Up to this point, the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program has operated without a formal budget. Task Force members work as volunteers and administrative overhead has been absorbed by the Environmental Programs Division of the City of Santa Monica. Because the program designs new policies for existing city programs, the costs of implementation are being covered by each individual department. The projects implemented under the program, such as water usage reduction and waste reduction have already resulted in an overall savings for the city. 

Funding for non-city projects is being secured from foundations and other forms of grant support. For instance, the Santa Moncia Bay Restoration Project will fund an educational project on urban runoff and bay contamination. 

The lack of a formal budget has restricted the number of personnel who can work directly on the program. To alleviate this problem, the program has developed a working group with individuals from all city departments who will assist with data collection and evaluation of progress for the annual report. 

Key to the continued success of this project has been the support and active involvement of all key players in the program. Including the City Council, city departments, businesses, and citizens in the decision-making process has allowed the Sustainable City Program to move as quickly as it has.

Next Steps

The first year of the Santa Monica Sustainable City Program has been primarily organizational—defining the priorities of the program and how those will be implemented. With a number of programs underway, such as the Procurement Working Group and the Labeling Ordinance, the Sustainable City Program envisions that this next year will focus on programming. The Sustainable City Program already serves as an umbrella organization for existing city departments and is working to strengthen its relationships with community groups and businesses. 

A 21 minute video, "Sustainable City: A city meeting its current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same" that features citizen activism in sustainability, is available from the city for a nominal charge. 

Boulder county healthy communities initiative

Boulder, Colorado

Contact: Susan Q. Foster, Project Administrator; c/o The Walter Orr Roberts Institute; University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; P.O. Box 3000; Boulder, CO 80307; Tel: (303) 497-2108; Fax: (303) 497-2100

Scope: Countywide

Inception Date: 1995

Participants: Coalition of county residents from public and private organizations representing business, government, the media, education, environment, arts, health and human services, and religious institutions

Project Type: Community-wide visioning, sustainable indicators, comprehensive community development 

Methods Used: Community-wide collaborative problem-solving process: public meetings; information sharing; research

Lessons Learned: Importance of strong leadership from the beginning. Difficulties of keeping the focus on issues of sustainability and of increasing participant diversity.

"To develop and implement an inclusive action plan that, by integrating common evolving values, honoring diversity and creating a shared vision of a healthy and vital community, sustains such a regional community for generations to come."

—Initiative Mission Statement


Boulder County, Colorado is located along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains 30 miles northwest of Denver. Its spectacular scenery, encompassing peaks on the Continental Divide to rolling eastern plains, and high standard of living has lured an increasing number of new residents. Between 1980 and 1990 the county's population grew by 36,000 people. Between 1990 and 1995 another 16,000 people were added along with 13,810 new jobs. 

In the late 1950's the city of Boulder foresaw the pressures uncontrolled growth might bring on its natural environment and quality of life, the very resources that brought people there in the first place. In 1959 it enacted a "blue line" - an elevation line across the foothills above which development could not occur. Eight years later the city voters approved a special sales tax to fund the purchase of eventually 26,000 acres of open space, many of which were outside city limits in unincorporated areas. In 1976, based on a task force's projection that Boulder's population could grow to 300,000 - 400,000 in 20 years, voters approved an annual growth cap of two percent for the city to be enforced through a limitation on building permits. 

These measures have kept the city's population to under 100,000, but have caused housing costs to skyrocket, making living in the city unaffordable to many, and have had a profound impact on the surrounding jurisdictions. Boulder's residential building restrictions and the rise in housing costs have forced many who work there to live in the neighboring communities of Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, and Broomfield. 

Forty-three percent of the work force now commutes, creating traffic congestion and air pollution and spreading sprawl development to the outer edges of the county. Boulder's open space purchases have insulated the city from the rest of the county but, at the same time, removed land from the market that other jurisdictions might have bought for retail space to enhance their tax base.

Recognizing that some form of regional planning was necessary if the quality of life was to be sustained for all county residents, a group of 38 county leaders formed a committee in 1994 to apply for a planning grant from the Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI). In order to be considered, a community must demonstrate broad-based community support and prove that it is a community as defined by the CHCI: " a geographically delineated area defined by the shared interests of all its inhabitants." The proposal was approved in November 1994 and the Boulder County Healthy Communities Initiative was launched in January 1995.

The Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative

The Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative is a statewide, five-year $6.8 million program sponsored by the Colorado Trust and designed and directed by the Denver-based National Civic League. It gives technical and financial support to up to 30 Colorado communities to establish community-based approaches to health and quality of life issues. Health is defined broadly to include issues that address the underlying factors that affect the quality of life beyond the absence of disease: a clean, safe physical environment and sustainable ecosystem, the provision of basic needs, quality education, and a diverse, vital and innovative economy.

Collaboration and consensus-based decision-making are key elements that characterize this work. Communities are encouraged to find new ways of doing things, of providing services, sharing information, and operating local governments. They are encouraged to develop indicators of performance and benchmark goals on a wide variety of community issues such as: air and water quality, educational performance, population density, green space, and economic criteria. 

Once selected, the community follows a specific community-wide collaborative problem-solving process developed by the National Civic League that takes the community through a 12-14 month planning phase and a two-year implementation phase. Each community can adapt this process to reflect its own character - its geography, resources, culture, values, and visions. It is also expected to raise matching grants. To date the Boulder Initiative has raised support from foundations, municipalities, hospitals, the media and the county government. 

The Boulder Plan

In January 1995 an Initiating Committee of community leaders from business, government and non-profit sectors began to design the framework for the initial planning phase. Following the National Civic League's guidelines, one of its first tasks was to select "stakeholders", a core group of approximately 120 people representing every sector of the County. This group was charged with the overall task of defining a vision for the county, beginning the process of finding a set of regional indicators of long-term health, and developing a plan of action to achieve these goals. The Initiating Committee dissolved in April. 

Monthly meetings began in May and will continue until April 1996. They will be held in different parts of the county and the public is encouraged to attend. A plan of action and implementation strategies will be completed by the final session. 

The first meeting was held in May 1995. Participants were asked to express the values and visions they felt are necessary and important for a healthier future for the county. After the meeting, the comments were compiled by theme: social values; neighborhoods; environment; education; economy and business; children, youth, elders, and family; transportation; leadership/government; health care/human services; housing; arts and culture. These were then summarized and assimilated in a draft vision paper for review and discussion at the next monthly meeting. As an integral part of the process the Initiating Committee hired Neal Peirce, a nationally-syndicated columnist and urban affairs reporter, to interview Boulder County residents and assess the county's problems, strengths, and options for action. The report served as a springboard for discussion. It was published in its entirety by The Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call, the county's two leading newspapers, distributed to participants present at the June meeting, and discussed further at neighborhood pizza parties hosted by volunteers during the months of July and August. 

The media has played an important role in publicizing the progress of the Initiative and keeping the public informed. Members of the press have attended meetings and reported on the discussions. The Daily Camera and the Times-Call carry announcements of the meetings and report extensively on each one.

The August session focused on the selection of priority areas and on a draft community profile entitled "Roadmap for Collaboration". Within the overarching themes of sustainability, diversity and communication six primary issue areas have emerged from the meetings: education; children, youth, elders, and families (38% of the county's population is under 24); civic discourse; regional governance; community design, land use and accommodation; and materials allocation and energy use.

In the draft report the Research Subcommittee presented possible indicators, based on research into current, available, reliable data, in each initial theme category. The final set of indicators, to be chosen once the community's vision and goals have been established, will be used to measure progress and success in achieving these goals. This list might also include additional indicators that address linkages between the vision categories, indicators for which original research will be necessary. Subsequent monthly meetings will refine the list of priorities, form committees to develop actions to achieve these goals, and, finally, develop and reach consensus on an action and funding plan. 


The critical challenge is to continue to frame the process in the context of sustainability and long-term health, keeping the participants focused on what is best for the county as a whole rather than for each individual. Although several hundred people have been involved to date, the Initiative is still seeking ways to increase participant diversity. They want to involve youth, who have a great deal at stake, and plan to hold youth focus groups. Another challenge will be to strike a balance between a regional vision and the desire for strong, independent local communities - an issue much on the minds of many of the county residents. 

For an area the size of Boulder County the Healthy Communities Initiative process provides a valuable framework for residents to envision and create a sustainable future. It gives the many communities within the county a structured opportunity to work together on a regional vision rather than working independently of each other or in ad hoc collaborations as they have done in the past. It comes at a time when people are beginning to realize how interdependent their neighborhoods have become and that a comprehensive regional plan may be a necessity in order to preserve their environment and quality of life for future generations. 

Vision for a greater New Haven

New Haven, Connecticut

Contact: Heather Samson Calabrese, Director; 195 Church Street, 15th Floor; New Haven, CT 06510; Tel.: (203) 782-4310/80; Fax: (203) 782-4329

Scope: Greater New Haven area 

Inception Date: 1993

Participants: Local citizens, agencies, businesses

Project Type: Community-wide visioning, citizen-led initiatives

Methods Used: Visioning process, community organizing

Lessons Learned: Maintaining an open and representative process is critical to success. It is equally important to balance this process with concrete, visible achievements.

Vision for a Greater New Haven is a community-wide, citizen-driven process for developing and implementing shared community goals. The process consists of three phases: generating ideas for a citizen's agenda; developing short-, medium- and long-term objectives; and implementing the plans, all with continued participation from local citizens.

The New Haven effort is based on the citizens' vision concept that began in Chattanooga in 1984 and has been successful in a number of cities throughout the United States. Chattanooga, for example, estimates that its vision process over nine years produced $793 million invested in the city through 223 projects generating 1,500 permanent jobs, 7,000 temporary jobs, and providing services for 1.4 million people.

A Broad Concept of Citizenship

Vision for a Greater New Haven began in the spring of 1993. Members of the religious community and the Chamber of Commerce organized a group of area leaders to think about an alternative planning process. The initial informal group formed the core of the current steering committee, 22 people representing business, government, the arts, religious organizations, grassroots organizing efforts and individual citizens.

Nearly 2,500 people from the greater New Haven area participated in the initial stage, the visioning process. Ten community meetings were held in February and March of 1994; seven meetings were held in neighborhood schools, two in senior citizens complexes, and one meeting brought together 85 high school students.

The meetings were preceded by three months of aggressive outreach based on two months of planning. The goal of the outreach efforts was and is to involve the broadest range of citizens in Vision, including those with the most power and those with the least power in the community. Vision's Director, Heather Calabrese, recounts that "at one of the early meetings at a neighborhood high school, we literally had a major utility president sitting with an ex-gang member, talking together about their vision for this city."

Early Achievements

The ideas generated at the community meetings were divided into 33 categories ranging from drugs and crime to transportation, economic development and the arts. Over 500 people met to discuss specific topics of interest and develop concrete goals and recommendations. In June 1994, the results were presented on the New Haven Green; citizens were asked to "vote" for the goals they thought most urgent for the city and the region and to sign up for citizen action groups to work on achieving those goals. 

The citizen action groups developed short-, medium- and long-term objectives, the second phase of the process, while continuing to work on outreach and seek opportunities for collaboration with efforts already underway in the city. Early in the implementation process, citizen action groups have also accomplished a number of concrete successes. 

The most visible achievement to date is the mile-long pedestrian pathway to connect downtown with the Long Wharf waterfront created by Vision's Waterfront citizen action group. The group forged an alliance with the U.S. Post Office, the office of Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's office and the Special Olympics World Games to create the wheelchair-accessible walkway in time for the Special Olympics in the summer of 1995. The next steps will be interim goals of creating signage, lighting and recognition for the "Vision Trail"; long term goals are to create access along all waterfronts, including rivers, and to enrich these areas with recreational and cultural activities.

The Image citizen action group created a Council on Public Relations that produced a press kit distributed during the Special Olympics and an Internet site with New Haven information. The Youth citizen action group implemented a short term goal of a roller skate donation drive with drop off at local libraries and organized roller skating parties at school gyms. The Economic Development citizen action group is building a coalition of groups interested in establishing a summer camp for youth entrepreneurs in 1996.

Priorities for the Next Nine Months

The citizen action groups continue to forge ahead in specific areas, with support from Vision staff. Meanwhile, a strategic planning process in the summer of 1995 brought together steering committee members and citizen action group leaders to decide on Vision's priorities for implementation in the next six to nine months. The Vision Trail is one of four priorities; the others are:

Housing: The Homestead Act for New Haven

Vision's long-term goal is the rehabilitation of 600 units of blighted housing in New Haven. In the next year, Vision will create a formal consortium with city agencies, nonprofit housing developers, banks and intermediaries. The consortium will develop a plan for rehabilitation, ownership and residence and will also rehabilitate 25 units of housing this year.


A regional transportation authority is the project's long-term goal. In the next year, Vision will develop and implement a transportation action plan that demonstrates visual progress. Examples include placing bike racks downtown and on buses.

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas

Vision's long-term goal is to support the creation of an international arts festival in New Haven, linking it with the New Haven Register's Waterfront Festival. In the next year, Vision will work with city schools to develop curriculum relating to the festival. Vision will also develop a plan with city artists and neighborhood organizers for local economic and performance opportunities related to the festival.

Promoting Understanding Among Current and Future Leaders

Vision is working with the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference program to create and implement a 6-hour training for 150 leaders in the community who represent diversity in experience, culture and race. This training will launch an ongoing dialogue to contribute to cultural understanding and respect in the community, and thus to increase diversity within Vision efforts.

Maintaining integrity and trust

Heather Calabrese believes Vision has worked hard to move from a leadership model of planning into a "true citizen's model that strives to give every participant an equal voice." The challenge is to keep moving in that direction. She notes that the two ways that Vision might lose its integrity and fail would be if it does not stay an open process and if it does not continue to reflect the way the community looks. Calabrese recalls a conversation with an outreach worker in the African-American community, a long-time activist who told her "I'm involved in Vision because I trust that you won't just pick my brain, say thank you, and go away and do whatever you want." Calabrese feels that Vision has been successful so far in demonstrating that "this is not a white, middle class, warm and fuzzy effort. In New Haven, people who have been involved in social change for a long time feel really used and abused. Vision will not just use them for legitimacy without allowing them to remain in the decision-making process." Vision's biggest challenge, however, remains the struggle to keep the process as diverse as possible as it moves to a focus on implementation.

Measuring Success

Calabrese emphasizes: "This process is not touchy-feely. It is very strategic, with clear short-term, long-term and intermediate goals. But it moves slowly to allow open participation. The challenge is how to communicate that to the community and to funders." Participants and funders both expect to see concrete, visible results quickly, and neither group is used to this kind of alternative, participatory process. Vision must balance the need to show successes, like the Vision Trail, while continuing education about the process.

Northern Delaware greenway council

Wilmington, Delaware

Contact: Edith Carlson, Executive Director; Northern Delaware Greenway Council, Inc.; P.O. Box 2095; Wilmington, DE 19899; Tel: (302) 762-7237; 

Fax: (302) 762-7907

Scope: Local, urban

Inception Date: 1990

Participants: Volunteer staff, government agencies, county and state park agencies, citizen groups

Project Type: Greenways, land use planning, community design

Methods Used: Educate citizens through civic groups and park groups; speak at planning board hearings; work with public agencies, develop public-private partnerships between businesses, citizens groups and government agencies

Lessons Learned: Persistence of a staunch volunteer core and cooperation of and between government agencies, political leadership, and business sector creates success.

Summary of Project

In 1987, the Presidents Commission on American Outdoors called for the establishment of greenways—human and animal accessible corridors that connect larger natural areas. Greenways provide a solution not only to the problem of limited recreation in urban areas, but also a means of protecting water supplies vital for public health and economic growth; a means of preserving the environment for future use and enjoyment; and a fundamental planning tool to create more livable communities. Recognizing the need for a massive grassroots effort, the Commission called for a "prairie fire of Community action" to create a network of greenways across the USA.

The Northern Delaware Greenway Council, Inc. (NDGC) responded to that challenge and is, today working to build a Greenway network in Delaware. Founded in 1990, the NDGC is a non-profit organization with over 400 members, an Honorary Board that includes former and current political representatives, an Advisory Board, and a core volunteer staff. The Northern Delaware Greenway Council brings together federal, state and local agencies; elected officials; private foundations; businesses and corporations; and private individuals to create greenways. 

At present there are over five miles of completed greenway trails. The NDGC is now working on Phase One of the Northern Delaware Greenway connecting over a dozen city, county and state parks from the Delaware River to the Brandywine River. 

Greenway Benefits

Greenways are multi-objective, resulting in a wide range of benefits, incorporating all facets of sustainability. They:

• • • are attractive tourist destinations;

• • • add value to nearby homes and offices;

• • • create a "quality-of-life" that attracts relocating and new businesses;

• • • add new opportunities for recreation close to homes, schools, and offices;

• • • encourage new recreation-related businesses;

• • • link important cultural and historic sites;

• • • foster local pride and unify communities;

• • • provide refuge and safe migration routes for wildlife;

• • • help preserve the biological diversity of plant and animal species by connecting isolated natural areas;

• • • improve water quality by buffering streams and trapping pollutants;

• • • reduce flood damage and help recharge under-ground water supplies;

• • • serve as car-free routes to and from schools, shops, workplaces and parks; and

• • • help improve air-quality.

Connecting Community

Designed to support an improved quality of life—social, economic and environmental—the Northern Delaware Greenway, when complete, will be a ribbon of green that ties together the natural, cultural, and historical resources of Wilmington. State, county and city parks will be linked to museums (such as Rockwood, Hagley and the Delaware Art Museum), schools, cultural institutions (such as the Wilmington Drama League and Wilmington Music School), churches, synagogues and workplaces. The greenway will protect vital watersheds along the Brandywine River and the Delaware River north of Wilmington. When the Cross County greenway connections are made, the regional greenway system will serve over 440,000 residents of Northern Delaware.

To serve recreational, transportation and preservation purposes, greenways can be either paved or unpaved depending on the location. All trails are pedestrian and bicycle accessible. In accordance with the American Disability Act, many of the trails are built for handicap accessibility. 

The purpose of a greenway is to connect all aspects of a community through a land corridor that will also serve as a social, economic, and environmental corridor. The NDGC has found citizen involvement critical in the development of greenways. The NDGC speaks to neighborhood civic groups, educating them on the purpose of greenways and encouraging their involvement in the development process. The NDGC also talks to "friends of" park groups, environmental groups, planning boards and various public and private agencies. NDGC maintains an on-going public presence, reaching individuals on a personal level, and larger audiences through mass media.

Public and Private Partnerships

Currently, all greenway trails are built on public property including a combination of park land, transportation land, and public works land. One advantage of utilizing public property is that the NDGC can piggyback government projects. For instance, construction of a new sewer line provides ideal conditions for a greenway—a cleared, levelled area that connects major urban centers. A finished sewer line needs only a trail surface to become a working greenway corridor. 

The use of public lands has enabled the NDGC to leverage funding from government sources more easily. In 1990, NDGC encouraged the City of Wilmington, New Castle County and the State of Delaware to establish Greenway programs and policies. In June 1990, the General Assembly slated $500,000 for a state-wide Greenway program as part of open space legislation. In 1991, public agencies were awarded a $98,000 planning grant for the Northern Delaware Greenway Project from the State of Delaware's newly instituted Statewide Greenway Program. In 1992, the first segment of the Northern Delaware Green opened. This 2+ mile trail that was a cooperative effort of the Division of Parks and Recreation, Woodlawn Trustees and the NDGC.

The NDGC worked cooperatively with state and county parks departments to obtain $650,000 in funds under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1990. Under the provisions of the act, a certain percentage of transportation money must be spent on enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian pathways. In this case, the money is being applied to enhancing those features within the greenways. Offering alternative forms of transportation to and from work and other destinations not only cuts down on traffic congestion and air pollution, but enhances the health of people who use them. 

In addition to benefiting the environment and the social well-being of the Wilmington community, the greenways are capturing the support of local businesses and developers. The construction of a greenway increases the real estate values of bordering lands and, therefore, their marketability for future development. In 1995, NDGC began working with the New Castle County Board of Realtors to encourage incorporation of greenways into development projects. And the NDGC has received sponsorship from local companies for trail amenities such as benches and kiosks. 

Bridges Through Cooperation

The NDGC realizes that there is an overarching purpose of greenways: to ensure the quality of life of citizens through both growth and preservation. Only by striking a balance between these two has NDGC succeeded. The economic value of NDGCs work has been proven through the support of the business community in the creation of greenways. Likewise, the greenways protect the areas water supply, thereby benefiting the entire community. Working in a cooperative, non-adversarial way toward common goals, the NDGC has succeeded in building a unique and very strong bridge linking the environment, business and government sectors. 

Because NDGC works with the concerns and motivations of both the environmental and business sectors, it has maintained a positive working relationship with the political leadership. The greenways are working to connect not only sections of land, but create interconnections between the social and economic elements of the state. 

Meeting the Challenges

The interconnected nature of NDGC, while one of its greatest assets, has presented the organization with its toughest challenges. The creation of a greenway demands cooperation between not only citizen and business groups but also cooperative efforts between a multitude of government agencies. For instance metropolitan planning agencies mandate the integration of the transportation departments with land-use planning. While agency cooperation should result in a more constructive process, there are often questions such as which agency has the prerogative in a particular issue. To facilitate the coordination of efforts, NDGC created the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) in 1994 to coordinate greenway construction between state, county and municipal agencies. Finding the means to develop partnerships between government agencies in an efficient manner has been the greatest challenge for the NDGC.

Present Status

The Northern Delaware Greenway Council was recently one of 10 recipients, out of 2,000 participating groups, selected to receive the "Trails for Tomorrow Award," sponsored by DuPont Cordura® Nylon. As part of the National Trails day event, this award has helped build the confidence of the business community in the work of NDGC. 

The NDGC is presently in transition from an all volunteer organization into a staffed non-profit. At this time the NDGC has a part-time development person as well as 14 board members who contribute substantially to the volunteer efforts. For special event projects, the NDGC generally pulls in an additional 30-40 volunteers. In 1994, the NDGC received a $20,000 grant from the Laffey-McHugh Foundation as seed money to further the organizations goals for expansion. 

The NDGC is also changing its focus from a locally-driven organization to one with a state focus. Goals include creating a "Cross County" greenway system that links to the White Clay Creek, the C&D Canal, Delaware's Coastal Heritage Greenway and to greenways being formed in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In June 1995, NDGC received $6,000 from the State Legislation Grant & Aid Program to expand its work to a state-wide level. 

Marshall heights community development organization

Washington, DC

Contact: Lloyd D. Smith, President and CEO; Marshall Heights Community Development Association, Inc.; 3917 Minnesota Avenue, NE; Washington, DC 20019; Tel: (202) 396-1200; Fax: (202) 396-4106

Scope: Communitywide

Inception Date: 1978

Participants: Civic organizations, residents, businesses, religious institutions 

Project Type: Economic redevelopment, job creation/training, comprehensive community development

Methods Used: Developing strategic plans, demonstration projects, public education campaigns, provides training, use of for profit corporations

Lessons Learned: Value of comprehensive approaches in all activities. Importance of collaboration with public and private institutions and neighborhood organizations. Restraint in not undertaking projects if there is a lack of expertise or experience.

"MHCDO's mission is to build hope, people, neighborhoods, homes, businesses, jobs, and expand the economic opportunity for the citizens of Ward 7 of the District of Columbia."

—Mission Statement


The Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, Inc. (MHCDO) was founded in 1978 with the philosophy that residents could define and control the quality of their community. Since that time it has worked to reverse the decline of a deteriorating neighborhood through a comprehensive approach to economic, human and community development.

MHCDO is located in southeast Washington, in an area that, although historically the poorest of Ward 7, nonetheless has had a history of civic activism. In the mid-1970s, however, its stabilizing middle class population and retail businesses began to leave and the neighborhood began to decline. In 1976 a group of concerned citizens came together to address such issues as housing rehabilitation and deteriorating infrastructure and, in 1978, formed MHCDO.

Since that time MHCDO has employed an integrated approach to community building through a series of initiatives based on collaborations, partnerships and joint ventures.

The Organization

MHCDO's goals are threefold: to create new and diverse economic opportunities; to ensure that all residents have access to affordable housing; and to help area residents overcome barriers to self sufficiency. Its 72-member Board of Directors represents community members from civic associations, the faith community, businesses, public housing and many others. This inclusive mix of board members ensures a strong attention to the needs and desires of the community. 

According to its President, Lloyd Smith, "MHCDO's most significant function is to act as a facilitator in bringing its disadvantaged community into the mainstream of U.S. economic activity through marketable projects that bridge the gap between capitalism and community development." Its activities are funded through government contracts and grants, foundation grants, and profits from its economic activities carried out through three wholly- owned, for- profit subsidiaries: East River Park, the Citizens' Housing Development Corporation, and the Burroughs Development Corporation. 

East River Park, Inc. is a commercial real estate development corporation which co-owns and manages a shopping center. The center began with a $25,000 venture capital grant from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, and is now worth more than $10 million. The Citizens Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) develops rental and for-sale housing. The Burroughs Development Corporation (BDC) focuses on industrial development and has recently begun work on the Kenilworth Light Industrial Park and is planning development of an office complex. These three corporations are involved in the various other projects and all their profits are fully reinvested into MHCDO.

Four-pronged plan

MHCDO's various projects are organized under the areas of housing, economic development, human development, and drug and alcohol abuse programs. Within each a wide range of processes and strategies have been used.


Since the inception of its HomeSight Housing Development, the CHDC has renovated and sold 69 units totaling over $4 million. These have included renovated single family homes, new modular houses, and condominiums. The CHDC also owns units which it rents. The Transitional Housing Program gives homeless individuals and families a place to stay while MHCDO provides job counseling and placement services. In another effort to make housing affordable, MHCDO has initiated its Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing project, a building where individuals have private bedrooms while sharing common rooms and kitchen and bathroom facilities with other residents.


MHCDO's Business Development Services (BDS) program, established in 1994 and funded by the city, works to expand business development and job creation in order to increase and diversify the local economic base. As a full-service business incubator, BDS offers not only a location for businesses but also consulting services and seminars on subjects as the different kinds of insurance businesses need. The BDS includes a micro-loan program for local businesses which otherwise may have difficulty raising capital. The loans range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are made in conjunction with local banks.

The MHCDO is undertaking other business ventures aimed at community economic development through East River Park, Inc. One such project is the construction of a new bank branch. It has also established several funds aimed at attracting new businesses to the area and providing affordable housing. As a result of MHCDO's economic development efforts, residents now spend 50% of their disposable income within the community, up from 20% previously.

Human Development

The mission of the MHCDO's Human Development Division is to help people overcome barriers and move toward self-sufficiency. Its strategy includes employment counseling, crisis intervention, housing and financial counseling, education, senior day care, telecommunications training and an integrated service delivery model using a telecommunications system to bring services to low and moderate income residents of Ward 7. This past year the Human Development Division provided services to the equivalent of 24,250 clients. Moving into the forefront of human services delivery, the Division is spearheading initiatives regarding family services, sustainable community education opportunities and job development.

This holistic approach to social change is not only helping residents improve their quality of life, but in some cases is helping residents rebuild their lives. One story illustrates the range of services residents can receive. One resident, the mother of two young children, decided to confront her addiction to crack cocaine and after receiving medical treatment turned to MHCDO's John Wilson Center where a counselor helped her organize her life. She received help in finding food, an apartment, and furniture. She also received job training, help in locating a job and one-on-one training in dealing with her personal finances. Today she is working toward self sufficiency and her children, who had been in the juvenile system, will shortly be returned to her.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs

The Fight Back Initiative is MHCDO's campaign to improve the health of Ward 7 residents. To raise public awareness it has sponsored a number of events from seminars to walk-a-thons. Its prevention, intervention and early identification component includes curriculum development for seventh and eighth graders and the annual Shoot Hoops! Not Guns! three-on-three basketball tournament.

The environmental improvement component motivates and empowers residents to better use the resources available to them and improve their community's quality of life. MHCDO acts as a conduit for environmental activities: its staff and board members along with community residents have participated in cleanups of the Anacostia River, the Richardson elementary school and Ladybird Park.

Treatment is another focus of the Fight Back Initiative. In partnership with the D.C. Department of Human Services, this program provides services from counseling and child care to HIV/AIDS testing.

Rebuilding Communities Initiative

In the fall of 1995, with a planning grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, MHCDO began its new Rebuilding Communities Initiative. This initiative is a process in which all the community's stakeholders — businesses, residents, organizations — are actively involved in developing a comprehensive approach to improve the neighborhoods in which they live. Beyond the tangible results, the ultimate goal of the initiative is to further strengthen the network of bonds between community organizations and the individuals who reside in the community. The initiative is guided by an 88-person steering committee and four working groups. It has five components: 1) Education, 2) Jobs and Training, 3) Health and Community Wellness, 4) Housing, and 5) Systems Reform and Resource Development.


Many parts of Ward 7, however, remain underdeveloped and disadvantaged. Crime and drug use continue and the infrastructure is still inadequate. The community needs to attract a greater proportion of city funding given its population and would benefit from greater community recognition of its needs. It would also benefit from a strong economic base that can encourage middle class residency and leverage other business activity. 

MHCDO is distinctive in its holistic approach to community planning and development. It has been extraordinarily successful in simultaneously addressing a broad array of issues. MHCDO's most important role has been in attracting new businesses, programs and services to the community.

Quality indicators for progress

Jacksonville, Florida 

Contact: Lois Chepenik, Executive Director; Jacksonville Community Council; 2434 Atlantic Boulevard; Jacksonville, FL 32207; Tel.: (904) 396-3052; Fax: (904) 398-1469

Scope: County, urban 

Inception Date: 1985

Participants: Jacksonville Community Council Inc., Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, City of Jacksonville (City Council, Mayor, government agencies), other small municipalities in the county, local citizens

Project Type: Sustainable indicators, public education

Methods Used: Multi-stakeholder cooperation; coordination by non-profit organization; citizen participation in committees and task forces; assembly and presentation of data from standard reference sources and a special telephone survey

Lessons Learned: The broad-based interest in indicators, including that of the Chamber of Commerce and a local non-profit, has lead to diverse support and funding for the indicators project.

Summary of Project

Each year, since 1985, a report on Life in Jacksonville: Quality Indicators for Progress (QIP) has been produced in the community of Jacksonville, Fla. The report contains current and historic values for a set of statistical measures that have been selected to reflect changes in the city's quality of life. The information is used to monitor community performance in a number of key areas including: education, the economy, public safety, natural environment, health, social environment, government/ politics, culture/recreation and mobility. The indicators report is specifically intended as a tool to help in building a sustainable future for the community. 

The reports features include: 

• • • data that shows both where the community has been as well as the progress that has been made in moving toward target values for each statistical measure;

• • • priorities among the statistical measures;

• • • text that includes explanatory information concerning the significance and the source of data for each measure;

• • • graphic charts showing trends over time;

• • • "gold star" indicators for significant progress;

• • • "red flags" for current or emerging problems; and

• • • recommended community actions for achieving target levels.

Specific objectives of the Jacksonville QIP report include:

• • • producing an annual report card on community progress;

• • • highlighting community success stories and giving credit for work well done;

• • • identifying areas of decline or concern where community action is needed;

• • • educating residents about their community and the factors that citizens consider important to their quality of life; and

• • • encouraging citizens to take an active part in addressing community problems.

The target audience for the indicators is broadly defined and its information is used in a variety of ways: 

• • • Citizens use the report card to gain knowledge about their community;

• • • Elected and appointed officials use the information for planning, legislative and budgeting activities;

• • • Professional planners, both in government and private institutions, use the data as reference material to guide their decision-making;

• • • Journalists and media representatives use the community information in research, reporting, and editorials;

• • • Business and community organizations use the information for strategic planning and developing annual work plans;

• • • Foundations use the data to gain understanding of the community needs and to guide grant-making decisions; and

• • • Local governments and Chambers of Commerce use the data as an economic development tool.

Citizen Involvement in QIP

The QIP project was initiated by the Jacksonville Community Council Inc (JCCI), a non-profit organization of citizens concerned about the future of their community. At the beginning of the project, the President of JCCI sought and obtained initial funding from the local Chamber of Commerce. A 10-member steering committee was selected whose participants served as the chairs for subcommittees organized to develop indicators in specific topic areas. Participation on the subcommittees was open to members of the JCCI and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as to other interested citizens. Each subcommittee met four times on a weekly or biweekly basis. Subcommittee members had access to background information obtained and organized by the JCCI staff. This included responses to a questionnaire published in the local newspaper as well as suggestions sent in by community members in response to public interest announcements on the local television stations. The subcommittees selected specific indicators that conformed to agreed upon criteria. Initially, background data for each indicator was collected from the mid 1970s through 1984 or 1985. Once the project was initiated, the data was gathered on an annual basis. Data on personal perceptions was obtained in telephone surveys. The surveys were conducted by AT&T American Transtech from 1985 through 1992. In 1993 and 1994, the surveys were conducted by Populus Research. Both survey groups donated the costs for these surveys.

Indicator Development Process

In 1991 an additional 140 citizens were organized into task forces to review and enhance the indicators used in the project. This followed a process similar to that used in 1985. The task forces eliminated several indicators because of questionable validity or unavailable data. For purposes of clarity, several other indicators were revised. New indicators were added, including four new telephone survey questions.

The task forces identified target values for each of the indicators. The JCCI collected and summarized research and reference data on generally accepted standards and goals for each data category supported by Community Development grant funding provided by the Jacksonville Department of Housing and Urban Development. This data was then used in selecting target goals for the year 2000. Task forces prioritized each of the nine subject categories, selecting a key indicator within each category for reference purposes.

In addition to the planning groups, the annual compilation of indicators is generally overseen by a citizen Quality of Life Committee. Its members are selected to represent a range of interests and expertise, including members with specific background in demographics and statistics. The Committee helps oversee the data collection process and provides comments and recommendations on the specific results. Currently, the compilation of the annual report and the work of the committee are being supported by funds from the City of Jacksonville.

What the Community Learns

A total of 74 indicators in nine categories are included in the most recent November 1994 report. The main categories, the key indicator for each, and examples of the other indicators in the category are listed below:


Public High School Graduation Rate— achievement-test scores, expenditures per student, and participation in higher-education programs.


Net Job Growth—black unemployment, effective buying income and retail sales, taxable real- estate value, new housing starts, students in free/reduced lunch program, tourism/bed tax revenues.

Public Safety

People Feeling Safe Walking Alone At Night—violent and nonviolent crime rate, people reporting being victims of crime, response times for rescue, fire, and police calls, motor vehicle and other accident deaths.

Natural Environment 

Days of Air Quality Index in the Good Range—river and stream compliance with water quality standards, water level in aquifer, septic tank permits, tons of solid waste.


Infant Deaths Per 1,000 Live Births—deaths from heart disease and lung cancer, number of packs of cigarettes sold, new AIDS cases, student fitness test scores, rating of local health-care system.

Social Environment

People Believing Racism Is A Local Problem—substance-exposed newborns, child abuse/neglect reports, births to females under 18, city human services expenditures, contributions to charities.


People Rating Local Govern-ment Leadership Good/Excellent—percent 18 and older registered to vote, percent registered who vote, percent of elected officials nonwhite and female, rating of local public services effectiveness.


City Financial Support of Arts Organizations—parks and recreation expenditures, public park acreage, public library materials and circulation rate, attendance at museum , symphony, and zoo.


People Reporting Commuting Time of 25 Minutes or Less—commercial flights and destinations with direct flights, bus ridership, miles of bus service, bus headways..

The fact that the Quality Indicators of Progress reports have continued to be produced annually for ten years confirms their usefulness for Jacksonville citizens, government and business. As mentioned earlier, the reports can be used by a wide variety of individuals and groups for different purposes. Two specific examples of successful applications are cited here: A continuing decline in water quality indicators from 1983 to 1987 resulted in a city-wide campaign and the establishment of a group, Stewards of the St. John's River, which worked with local jurisdictions and private citizens to improve water quality; similarly, a decline in high school graduation rates from 1984 to 1989, led to the development of a very successful "Cities in Schools" program in which local citizens and businesses worked with school personnel, students, and parents to improve educational performance.

Today, the Quality of Life Indicators program can be adapted by other communities. The Jacksonville Community Council Inc. offers a replication package for sale, complete with educational video tapes, instructional and guidance materials, and support services. Although this package is not inexpensive, it could prove to be of significant value to communities who want a head start in developing similar programs for themselves.

Carver hills neighborhood project

Atlanta, Georgia

Contact: Arnold Weathersby, President; Carver Hills Neighborhood Association; 1586 Mary George Avenue, NW; Atlanta, GA 30318; Tel.: (404) 799-5382

Olin Ivey, Executive Director; Georgia Environmental Organization; 6750 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite 802; Atlanta, GA 30360-2218; Tel: (770) 447-4367; Fax: (770) 447-5668; E-mail:

Scope: Neighborhood, Urban 

Inception Date: 1964; Carver Hills Civic League formed; revitalized as Carver Hills Neighborhood Assoc., Inc. in 1989

Participants: Neighborhood residents, non-profit organizations, public agencies, businesses 

Project Type: Leadership development, redevelopment, urban forestry

Methods Used: Citizen empowerment and participation through monthly meetings, door-to-door canvassing, civic participation, community events and fund-raisers, annual events, clean up campaigns

Lessons Learned: Strong leadership, tenacious and active community participation, and assistance from local and national grassroots organizations are important.

Summary of Project 

Carver Hills is a low-income, African-American subdivision of single-dwelling units enveloped by several government and subsidized apartment complexes in the Northwest, inner-city section of Atlanta. The residents have for the most part maintained their homes in good condition with attractive, though simple yards.

In 1964, residents formed the Carver Hills Civic League. In 1989 the community revitalized itself in the face of mounting environmental and social injustices resulting from the neighboring, city-owned Gun Club Landfill. The landfills blowing trash and lumbering trucks were a constant presence in the community, creating unsanitary conditions and pollution that is thought to have contributed to an increase in health problems in the community. Discouraged by seemingly insurmountable challenges, apathy settled in among the Carver Hills residents. In response to this, and with hopes of mobilizing community residents as well as improving poor environmental conditions, the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association, Inc. (CHNA) emerged.

The overarching goals of the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association are to:

• • • empower community residents;

• • • increase the awareness of the city government and its citizens regarding problems of health and environment as they impact on the community;

• • • train the citizens of the community in the process of critical thinking and analysis so they are able to identify problems and the means to solve them;

• • • create new and stronger organizations within the neighborhood as well as strengthen existing ones so that the goals of CHNA can be more effectively realized and a stronger interlinking bond can be established among the people;

• • • expand awareness concerning the environment and plan action programs to bring about a cleaner, greener, and healthier community;

• • • be alert to the manner in which any of the issues confronted can be solved not only through community involvement but also by entrepreneurial solutions within the community.

To achieve these goals, the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association and the Georgia Environmental Organization, Inc. (GEO), a non-profit, statewide organization headquartered in Atlanta, established a partnership in Summer 1992. GEO provided strategizing assistance to the community, and was able to make available its local, state, and national contacts, which provided additional support to the community. One of those, the Highlander Educational Research Center in Tennessee, helped increase national awareness of the Gun Club Landfill problems by publicizing the story. The publicity bolstered the interest of the Carver Hills residents, letting them know that outside support did exist. GEO and Highlander have also provided leadership training to neighborhood residents throughout the process to close the landfill and turn the residents energies to improving their community. 

Closing the Landfill

The Gun Club Landfill lies on the opposite side of Procter Creek from the Carver Hills neighborhood. Dumping first began in 1965, and in 1974 it became a licensed municipal landfill. It is situated on 179 acres, of which 106 acres were licensed for dumping. It received up to 890 tons of trash a day to reach a height of 23 stories of layered household solid waste (garbage, trash, leaves, paper, and yard waste) and soil. The Department of Public Works resisted closing the Gun Club Landfill because it served as one of Atlantas largest receptacles of garbage. The ultimate closure would mean finding new means of dealing with vast amounts of garbage.

Despite the resistance of the Dept. of Public Works, the Carver Hills Neighborhood Association was able to catalyze a strong campaign for the closing of the landfill through monthly neighborhood meetings, flyers, door-to-door educational canvassing and neighborhood events. Residents of Carver Hills and the nearby Gun Club community (residing on the other side of the landfill) attended City Council committee meetings and testified about the poor environmental and economic conditions of the community due to the landfills existence. After several unsuccessful attempts to close the landfill, the City Council passed an ordinance to do so in December 1992. 

Creating a Community Vision

Once the landfill was closed, the CHNA led residents to search for ways that the resources of the community—both natural and human—could be improved to make the area a more livable one. Carver Hills is a neighborhood of approximately 2,000 people. The Carver Hills Neighborhood Association meets the first Monday evening of each month with between 30-50 residents attending at any one time. All members of the neighborhood have both voice and vote. Activities for the whole neighborhood and for the various age-groups occur regularly.

The CHNA set out to find a means of improving Carver Hills. The abandoned Finch Elementary School site offered the ideal location for community life and activities that could also enrich the ecology of the area. The property, comprising 13 1/2 acres of land, had lain fallow ever since the school was closed and torn down. It has four naturally tiered levels, the lowest of which is a wilderness area that borders Proctor Creek. The Gun Club landfill is on the creeks opposite bank. 

Carver Hills purchased the 13 1/2 acres of land for $6,000: $1,500 in earnest money was provided to the community to secure the property by the Georgia Environmental Organization; the remainder was raised through a combination of community donations, special event fund-raisers such as "Fish Fries" and money from city and foundation grants. 

With the acquired land, Carver Hills residents plan to transform the entire neighborhood into a "Natural Space/Urban Forest Community" that will include:

A Community Center

• • • Within the parameters of the budget, the neighborhood center will be designed with community needs and ideas in mind and will be built with donated environmentally friendly materials and equipment;

Natural Areas

• • • Two wilderness areas with a total of four and a half acres and a connecting trail;

• • • The park will be ringed by trees, about one third of which are already standing and two-thirds of which will be planted. Trees will be planted in conjunction with Trees Atlanta, Georgia Trees Coalition, U.S. Forestry Service, American Forests, and Trees Working for Tomorrow Foundation;

Stream/Stream Bank Restoration

• • • Proctor Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, has little life left in it. Working with the city, with Roy F. Weston Company, and with an arm of Americorps, the neighborhood will clean the Creek and develop streambank stabilization;

• • • GEO, working with the stakeholders who live or own businesses along Proctor Creek, will develop a Protection and Management Plan for the whole of the waterway;

• • • Working with the Environmental Forum and the student environmental organization from Georgia Tech, the neighborhood will establish monitoring stations for Proctor Creek;

Neighborhood Design

• • • Each block in the neighborhood, working with students from the School of Environmental Design from the University of Georgia, will design its own sidewalks and the public spaces in the block;

• • • Each household will be taught how to compost. For those who do not wish to have their own compost bin, two central composting sites will be provided and maintained by the Neighborhood Association;

• • • All playground equipment and the park benches will be made from recycled material. A neighborhood recycling program will collect materials to be recycled into the equipment;

• • • Other programs to train households in how they can be sustainable are in the planning stage.

A board has been formed to oversee the project. Fourteen leaders from many sectors of Atlantas leadership have joined with members from the community to direct the project. The board has been meeting for over a year to lay the plans and to gather wide-spread support for the overall project and its many components.

Making the Vision a Reality

One of the larger barriers to the project lies in the procurement of funds for a full-time staff person. The community has been able to obtain volunteer assistance from a landscape architect, an architect designing the community center, and nearby universities, as well as representatives from organizations such as the president of Safeplay Systems. Once plans are in place, two week-ends will be set aside to bring everyone together to do an old fashioned "barn-raising" in which the majority of work on the community center will be completed. The goal is to finish the project, including the trails and planting of the trees, by the Summer of 1996. 

Wai'anae backyard aquaculture project

Wai'anae coast, Hawaii

Contact: Puanani Burgess; Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development Corporation; 86-649 Puuhulu Road; Wai'anae, HI 96792; Tel.: (808) 696-4629; Fax: (808) 696-7774

Scope: Local, rural

Inception Date: 1987

Participants: Families and community residents

Project Type: Community development, economic development, cultural preservation, food production

Methods Used: Fish farming tank technology; family scale enterprise as a condition; subsidy at start-up with trainings; revolving loan aspect.

Lessons Learned: The "family-run" requirement gives powerful benefit to eroding traditional social structures; new home-based venture encourages other options to emerge. Initiatives based in community culture and values, gains supporters and participants; single initiatives lead to expanded opportunities.

Summary of Project 

The Wai'anae Backyard Aquaculture Project provides support to families interested in the small-scale production of Wai'anae sunfish as part of a community economic development project. Under a formal agreement, the project provides financial assistance to families for initial capital expenditures and first-year operating costs. It supports the development of a local market for sunfish and the formation of a family-run association of aquaculture producers.

The goals of the Backyard Aquaculture Project are:

• • • self-reliance in food production;

• • • the strengthening of social relationships;

• • • home-based income opportunities for Wai'anae Coast families; and

• • • improvement of the community's nutritional standards.

The project:

• • • selects, trains and provides technical support to families interested in backyard-scale fish production;

• • • arranges financial assistance for tank construction and first-year operating costs;

• • • coordinates a common marketing system for all participating families;

• • • develops local and external markets for the Wai'anae sunfish; and

• • • conducts research to improve the productive efficiency of the backyard aquaculture system.

Families participating in the program:

• • • complete an intensive hands-on training program designed to produce competent and confident backyard aquaculturists;

• • • construct a backyard aquaculture system and help other families do the same;

• • • participate in the project's coordinated marketing system; and

• • • become active members of the Wai'anae Backyard Aquaculture Family Association.

The project sponsor is the Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development Corporation (WCCADC). It was formed as a 501(c)(3)tax-exempt, non-profit organization in 1987. Its aim is to promote self-sufficiency and self-reliance for the Wai-anae Coast, and, in the process, to rebuild the community's self-esteem and strengthen community members identity as Native Hawaiians.

"Work is Medicine"

The WCCADC developed out of a citizens movement in the late 1970s to challenge plans for construction of a $3 billion luxury class tourist and residential project by West Beach Estates at the mouth of the Wai'anae coast community. Concerned residents formed an unincorporated association, the Wai'anae Land Use Concerns Committee (WLUCC). The residents saw that the development of the type and magnitude proposed at the mouth of the Wai'anae coast would deplete human and natural resources as well as cause environmental, social and spiritual problems in an already stressed community. There was 20% unemployment in the community and high rates of substance abuse and domestic violence. So the WLUCC actively sustained its challenge of West Beach Estates' plan for more than ten years.

A mediated agreement was reached between West Beach Estates and the WLUCC on January 22, 1987. In the agreement, West Beach Estates formally recognized the need for the Wai'anae Coast Community to maintain stewardship of its own natural and human resources by developing an independent economic base to support the social, cultural and spiritual development of people and families in the community. West Beach Estates contributed funds to assist in the establishment of a community-based development organization. The Wai'anae Coast Community Alternative Development Corporation resulted. It represents the mature vision of many community members and organizations that have tried for more than two decades to solve the problems of rapid urbanization and ghettoization of one of the few remaining rural areas on the island of Oahu. It seeks to provide a cultural anchor for the people of the Wai'anae Coast, and to assure residents that there can be economic development that does not sacrifice the community's self-esteem and respect for Native Hawaiian culture. Its guiding philosophy is "work is medicine."

One Foot on Land; One in the Ocean

The Backyard Aquaculture Project is one of two WCCADC projects. The development process used by WCCADC in the project draws upon traditional Hawaiian values and principles of sustainable development, appropriate technologies, cultural compatibility and spiritual guidance. 

The first two years of the project, 1989-90, were devoted to technical research and development using funds contributed by West Beach Estates. The pilot phase of the project began in 1991 with nine families. It was funded by a $300,000 grant from the Hawaiian Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The Growth Phase ending in June, 1995, was funded by a $617,000 grant from the Administration for Native Americans. 

Backyard aquaculture was chosen because the island people say they live with one foot on the land and one foot in the ocean. Historically, fish has been a key element in the diets of all Hawaiians. Present day consumption of fish has declined dramatically. This decline reflects a supply and demand situation that supports high prices for fresh, locally caught fish. 

Fish farming provides an alternative means of supplying fresh fish to local markets. Backyard aquaculture is essentially a modern translation of the ancient practice of raising fish in enclosed ocean "ponds." In earlier times, raising fish ensured families of available food when oceans were rough or fish was not plentiful. The same thing is true today. A fish-raising family can have fresh, safe fish to eat even in times when fish are scarce, polluted or, because of high prices, prohibitive to buy.

Most Wai'anae families can master the technology of backyard aquaculture. It is not time, space or water intensive. The tasks of tank construction, management and harvesting of the fish can involve all members of the family. 

A major long-term goal of the project — self-reliance through food production — is beginning to be met both for the family and the community. There are 28 families participating in the project, including five who are currently being trained. The families operate a total of 50 backyard aquaculture tanks. A family operating a single backyard system can produce 500 to 600 pounds of sunfish per year and are averaging approximately 235 pounds of market-sized fish per tank per six month production cycle. Collectively, the families in the project are able to produce about 20,000 pounds of sunfish per year. 

Families Work Together

The projects focus on strengthening social relationships is based on an interpretation of the difference between work and employment. Work is considered to require passion and dedication and leads to building self-esteem for individuals, families and communities. Employment is considered an activity that pays bills, but may not help self-esteem. The project promotes backyard aquaculture as family work. It supports the idea that families who work together will form strong bonds that can endure stress. And the project provides residents with a way to share the results of their work with friends and neighbors. Participating families have agreed to sell fish to community members at a discount ($3.00 to $3.25 a pound) in comparison with Oahu's market price ($4.00 to $4.50 a pound). The spirit of sharing success is valued in Hawaiian culture.

Another goal of providing home-based income opportunities for Waianae families can be met because the production of sunfish is profitable. The cost of production is between $1.00 and $1.30 a pound, well below the price to community members. A single tank may not generate much income, but additional tanks can be built by a family. 

The project also has the potential to improve the community's nutritional standards. State Health Department statistics show that the Hawaiian population of the Wai'anae Coast has the greatest prevalence of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Health officials link the problems to high fat diets. The Wai'anae Sunfish has one of the lowest fat contents of any species available to residents. As fish replaces other animal protein in the diet, people will benefit. 

Next Steps

The Backyard Aquaculture Project is entering into an expansion phase, planned to extend through June 1998. This expansion will:

• • • Extend participation to include families dependent on public assistance programs;

• • • Double the number of families participating in the program to approximately 60;

• • • Enhance the capacity of current families to produce food by: 1) supporting the expansion of their aquaculture activities; and, 2) providing training and technical support for integration activities such as taro, vegetable, or fruit cultivation, and/or hydroponic plant production;

• • • Aggressively establish an expanded market for the sunfish;

• • • Broaden the product base by introducing new species of fish; and

• • • Establish a legally-defined family cooperative;

The community-based economic development approach and activities of the Waianae Backyard Aquaculture Project are well known within the community and throughout the state of Hawaii. The project has gained a number of supporters in state government, some of whom initially wrote the project off as "small-scale and insignificant." Agencies supporting the expansion include the Departments Agriculture, Hawaiian Homelands, the Housing Authority and Welfare Dept.

The WCCADC has developed a formula that works—for the people, for their economy and for their environment—and it is replicable, in similar climates "state-side," or with protection in colder climates. 

Tri-State implementation council

Sandpoint, Idaho

Contact: Ruth Watkins; Project Coordinator; Tri-State Implementation Council; 206 No. 4th Avenue, Suite 157; Sandpoint, ID 83864; Tel.: (208) 265-9092

Scope: Regional

Inception Date: 1993

Participants: Federal and state agencies; representatives from industries, municipalities, counties, utilities, Native American tribes, timber, agriculture, and environmental groups 

Project Type: Regional watershed management, public education, restoration/cleanup

Methods Used: Public outreach and participation, coordination of implementation activities 

Lessons Learned: Importance of broad representation of stakeholders in planning and policymaking. Effectiveness of collaboration with local and state agencies. Necessity of ongoing public education.


The Tri-State Implementation Council came into being in 1993 to oversee, review and educate the public about the three-state water quality management plan developed for the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille watershed which encompasses roughly 26,000 square miles in northern Idaho, western Montana and northeastern Washington. 

This plan was the outcome of a series of steps that grew out of citizen concerns over the increasing amount of algae and aquatic weeds in the Clark Fork River and Pend Oreille Lake in the late 1980s. In response, additional language was added to the 1987 Clean Water Act directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a three-year study of pollution in the basin. The result of this study was the development of the tri-state management plan. Seventy different control measures were identified and categorized, resulting in a condensed list of the top priorities. 

The Tri-State Implementation Council, a citizen-led group, was formed by the EPA and the three states' water quality agencies in October 1993 to oversee implementation of the plan. The Council is staffed by a project coordinator at its headquarters in Sandpoint, Idaho. It meets biannually at different locations throughout the three states.

The Council consists of 28 individuals who represent major stakeholder groups such as industry, municipalities, counties, businesses, utilities, Native American tribes, timber, agriculture, and environmental groups. The members, all volunteers, take an active role in building support for implementation activities through both the formal work of the Council as well as its subcommittees which work locally. Each Council member sits on one of the local subcommittees which meet at different times and frequencies depending on the needs of their local projects. They are each responsible for raising funding to support these activities. 

The Council helps coordinate policymaking and the work of local committees. It provides assistance to those working on specific aspects of the management plan. Information and updates on committee activities are compiled and circulated by the Project Coordinator. After five years the Council will review and evaluate the progress made on the plan. 

Pollution control and prevention 

Initially, the Council listed the following as its most immediate goals:

• • • the reduction of phosphorous and nitrogen pollution in the Clark Fork River and Pend Oreille Lake through a nutrient allocation system;

• • • the introduction of alternative wastewater treatment at the municipal facilities in Butte, Deer Lodge, and Missoula;

• • • the development of a coordinated approach for wastewater management in the Pend Oreille watershed;

• • • the design and implementation of a nonpoint pollution control strategy beginning with the Pend Oreille River and Lake and the Bitterroot river valley;

• • • the establishment of a coordinated water monitoring network; and,

• • • the promotion of citizen education programs to educate them about their role in protecting the watershed. 

Integrated Planning

During the first 18 months of its existence, the Council has worked to make the most efficient use of its members and resources to collaborate with other organizations, primarily at the grassroots level, in an integrated process. It began to address the most pressing needs first as initially defined. These include:

Nutrient Targets

The first meeting of this committee was held in early 1994 to review current data and reports and to develop consensus among dischargers and agencies on nutrient target levels. The committee held a briefing workshop to better understand target levels and how they might be incorporated into a lake nutrient allocation strategy for the rivers and the Lake. Strategies are currently being developed for state and federal approval.

Wastewater treatment

Deer Lodge and Butte jointly agreed to obtain a declaratory ruling on water rights issues as they relate to the proposed application of wastewater on land. For Missoula the committee researched and compiled alternative wastewater treatment options and is participating in a facilities planning effort with the city. 

Pend Oreille Lake Sewers

Several information sessions have been held for local sewer district officials to identify issues, problems and concerns, as well as existing regulations and technical options for dealing with operational problems. The subcommittee is working with the county on possible land use planning alternatives. 

Nonpoint Source Pollution 

The Bitterroot River valley is one of the five heaviest nutrient sources in the Clark Fork Basin. For this reason, the Council has been working with a local grassroots organization, the Bitterroot Water Forum, to develop a nonpoint strategy. They began an extensive inventory of water quality data to use in identifying priorities for additional information needs as well as developing a management strategy. The Council is also working informally with the Pend Oreille County Watershed Coordination Committee, an independent group in northeastern Washington, on a broad-based community education plan. 

Water Quality Monitoring

Charged with developing a tri-state monitoring plan, the subcommittee enlisted the services of a consulting firm to help with its design and evaluation.

Public Education

Some of the greatest progress has come in the area of public outreach to all ages. In Idaho the subcommittee developed three project concepts: a Natural Resource Center for a new county library; a citizen monitoring program on the Pack River featuring an intergenerational (student and landowner) monitoring/streamwalk emphasis; and a primer for newcomers on water quality. 

In Montana, a series of events and educational activities have begun to spread the word about individuals and their impact on the watershed. In June, the Missoula Water Festival was held to celebrate the Clark Fork. In partnership with the Montana Natural History Center, one of the members of the Council's subcommittee worked with sixth grade teachers to plan two days of educational and entertainment programs including hands-on projects developed by the students. This effort brought together local volunteers who had not known each other previously and who were successfully able to raise over $20,000 for the project. 

The Council has helped prepare a traveling watershed educational program designed for elementary schools,. When completed the Paddle to Pend Oreille Watershed Trunk will contain puppets and other entertaining educational presentations. In order to introduce the general public to watershed protection, the Council will distribute a basinwide publication to report on the management plan and establish a "sense of place" for watershed residents.


One of the ongoing challenges is obtaining the funding needed to staff the Council and to carry out the work of the subcommittees. Some support has come from local sources, businesses and government grants. The Council is not incorporated as a nonprofit organization. It has found that it can carry out its mission by working with and developing partnerships with local organizations and by complementing the work of public agencies. 

The Council is playing a key coordinating and educational role in this watershed and has been effective in gaining widespread support for its protection. 

Buckwheat growers of Illinois

Sumner, Illinois

Contact: Kevin Brussell; Buckwheat Growers of Illinois; Route 1, Box 450; Sumner, IL 62466; Tel.: (217) 923-3774

Scope: Throughout rural Illinois

Inception Date: 1991

Participants: Farmers

Project Type: Marketing cooperatives, sustainable agriculture, value-added businesses

Methods Used: Growing, marketing and selling buckwheat

Lessons Learned: It takes complete dedication to make a project like this work. Things take twice as much time and cost twice as much money as you think they are going to.

The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1991 to help farmers in Illinois grow buckwheat for commercial purposes. Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the major crops in Illinois, but none of them replenishes the soil and helps other crops the ways that buckwheat does. The Buckwheat Growers has made it possible for farmers who were previously either not growing buckwheat of growing buckwheat only as a cover crop (cover crops are grown to protect the soil) to profit from raising buckwheat while improving their farmland.

The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois pools the production from many growers to guarantee a large and constant supply of buckwheat to millers. The delivery point of the buckwheat is at the Buckwheat Growers' processing facility in Sumner, Illinois. The buckwheat owned by each individual farmer is tracked as the crop goes from harvesting to processing to final sale.

In 1995, the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois is raising buckwheat on approximately 1900 acres, at 750 pounds per acre. This will yield 1.425 million pounds of buckwheat. About 35 farmers pay 25 dollars per year to be members of the Buckwheat Growers. This entitles them to sell their buckwheat through the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois and to attend the group's meetings which are partly educational. There is a wide range of farmers that are members: their farms range in size from 200 acres to several thousand acres. The Buckwheat Growers holds at least one educational meeting somewhere in Illinois each year to educate other farmers about the benefits of growing buckwheat and to recruit new members.

Buckwheat gives back to the soil

Buckwheat has several positive environmental impacts unlike other crops such as corn and soybeans:

• • • Buckwheat "pumps" phosphorus into the soil, thus improving the soil and yields for other crops. It can positively change the chemistry of the soil in as few as 35 to 40 days. Farmers growing buckwheat and corn in rotation, for example, can expect to harvest an additional three to five bushels of corn per acre on land previously planted with buckwheat.

• • • Buckwheat requires no inputs such as pesticides and fertilizer, just initial spraying with an herbicide before planting buckwheat seeds; and

• • • Buckwheat attracts desirable predatory insects including lacewings which eat insects, such as aphids and corn borers that harm crops. When buckwheat is grown close to corn or other crops it can reduce insect damage and therefore reduce the need for pesticides.

Buckwheat is not a true cereal, but a fruit, and is suited to situations that are unfavorable to other grain crops. Under dry growing conditions when other crops are adversely affected, buckwheat goes dormant and only returns to normal when moisture returns. Also, buckwheat is not so particular in its soil requirements as are other grains, and it will produce a better crop on poor soils.

Economic Benefits of Buckwheat

Buckwheat has several economic advantages over other crops that farmers grow in Illinois: 

• • • Because buckwheat requires few inputs, it is less expensive to grow than other crops and there is less of a financial downside if there is a poor harvest;

• • • There is also less risk of a poor crop of buckwheat. Rose Vollmer, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Buckwheat Growers notes that farmers may only get a really good soybean crop every five years, but they are more likely to get a good buckwheat crop with a higher frequency; and

• • • Buckwheat is an investment in farmers' soil. It increases the yield that farmers will get the following year on the same field; and "It's such a good crop to produce that it's almost too good to be true," says Ken Heinzmann, a farmer who is a member of the Buckwheat Growers. He notes that as beneficial as the crop is to the soil, "You wouldn't lose money on the crop even if something came up that would keep you from harvesting it. It loosens the soil, improves soil tilth, and helps retain moisture over the winter."

Farmers Coming Together to Market Their Crops

The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois was founded in 1991 by Robert Vollmer and other Illinois farmers who wanted to sell the buckwheat that they had been using as a cover crop. "It seemed like it would make some sense to look for a market, coordinate production, pool resources, and launch a sales effort," said Vollmer at the time.

Vollmer originally started growing buckwheat in order to build up his family's poor soils. He hoped to use buckwheat in rotation with other cover crops to eventually improve yields for corn and soybeans. In 1991, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) named Vollmer "Sustainable Agriculture Farmer of the Year," a distinction he won, in part, because of his initiative to implement practices on his family's farm that are both good for the land and profitable.

Selling Buckwheat Overseas

In the summer of 1991, officials from the Japan Buckwheat Millers Association visited the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois to inspect the buckwheat crop. The Illinois Department of Agriculture helped arrange the contact. Japan grows, on average, just ten percent of the buckwheat that its milling industry requires to fulfill the national demand for the sobe noodle, which is made of buckwheat.

As a result of the visit, the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois secured a trial order from the Association and the Kasho Co. Ltd. for 200 metric tons, about 440 acres worth, in 1992. In 1995, the Japan Buckwheat Millers Association is buying 500 metric tons of buckwheat from the Buckwheat Growers.

Adding Value to the Crop

The Buckwheat Growers of Illinois clean, pack and weigh the buckwheat before it is exported to Japan. The Buckwheat Growers is looking into ways to add more value to the buckwheat before it is sold. According to Kevin Brussell, President of the Buckwheat Growers, the short term plan is to increase the amount of buckwheat sold that is minimally processed, like the buckwheat exported to Japan. In the long run, the Buckwheat Growers would like to buy additional equipment to add more value to the buckwheat. Brussell says that the organization is raising capital to buy a dehuller which would enable the Buckwheat Growers to process buckwheat for human consumption. The organization is currently working with a nutritionist to develop a snack food made with the buckwheat. The Buckwheat Growers has also been approached by organizations that supply food to developing nations.

Some markets are hard to crack 

Although buckwheat is an excellent food for livestock (and for people), the Buckwheat Growers has had a hard time selling it as animal feed. Buckwheat contains all essential amino acids in good proportions, making it closer to being a "complete" protein than any other plant source, even soybeans. When farmers use buckwheat as livestock feed, they can reduce the amount of nutritional supplements that they give to their animals. The animals also gain weight faster and are healthier when eating feed containing buckwheat.

However, Rose Vollmer notes that cracking the market has been hard. She attributes this to the contracts that farmers have signed with large agriculture corporations: "We have a hard time breaking through to individuals that are already tied up with seed salesmen . . . In our area here we have a lot of Cargill operations. You can't crack them. The buckwheat would not be nearly as expensive but they don't want to recognize the fact that it is a complete feed."

Help from a related business

The Buckwheat Growers do not own the facility they use to process the buckwheat. Rose Vollmer and her son Robert formed a partnership, Earth Select Bio-Energy to rent space to store and process the buckwheat. The Japanese purchasers of the buckwheat recommended, for quality control purposes, that they purchase a facility with proper equipment, but the Buckwheat Growers is a non-profit and didn't have the collateral. According to Kevin Brussell, the members of the Buckwheat Growers were not willing to make the financial commitment to invest in the facility.

Earth Select Bio-Energy took out a bank loan and bought the property that they had been renting, which includes a warehouse and 9.5 acres of land, in addition to five 18-foot storage bins in downtown Sumner, Illinois. Since they made the purchase, Earth Select has received a loan from a federal Small Business Development Center to install equipment to clean, pack and weigh the buckwheat. Vollmer says that she made the purchase both as an investment and to help the Buckwheat Growers get their buckwheat processed at a reasonable price. The Buckwheat Growers had previously been hiring contractors to clean the buckwheat for a lot more than Earth Select Bio-Energy was charging the Buckwheat Growers.

Dedication key to success

Kevin Brussell attributes the early success of the Buckwheat Growers of Illinois to the dedication of Robert Vollmer, who passed away in early 1995. He spent all of his time working on the project and kept all of the other members involved. "He was always on the phone looking to stretch what little money we had," says Brussel. Brussel says that for a project like this to work, there has to always be at least one person working on it full time.

Clean cities recycling, inc.

Griffith, Indiana

Contact: Marie Fryar; 1010 Reder Road; Griffith, IN 46319; Tel.: (219) 922-1652

Scope: Lake County

Inception Date: 1994

Participants: Local non-profit organizations, businesses and government

Project Type: Job creation/training, recycling

Methods Used: Establishment of a joint venture, a county-wide network of recycling drop-off centers and a warehouse/processing facility 

Lessons Learned: To affect legislation and public policy, it is necessary to prove there are viable alternatives. It is important to bring in everyone — businesses, community organizations and government — as responsible partners.

Clean Cities Recycling, Inc. (CCR) is a nonprofit community development corporation formed as a joint venture between 2-Ladies Recycling, Inc. of Hobart, Indiana; the Gary Clean City Coalition, a community-based environmental organization; and Brothers Keeper of Gary, a shelter for homeless men. The mission of CCR is "to benefit the public interest and lessen the burden on government by creating permanent employment by utilizing the economic opportunities available through the processing and marketing of [Lake County's] residential recyclables."

The joint venture was formed in 1993 to compete for a two year contract awarded by the Lake County Solid Waste Management District to set up and operate 25 drop-off recycling centers. The District and its Board were established in 1991, when the State of Indiana set a goal of reducing trash to landfills by 35 percent by 1996, and 50 percent by the year 2001. CCR's winning contract bid of $354,000 was 66 percent of the bid submitted by the next competitor.

Job creation through recycling

To date, CCR has set up ten drop-off centers at grocery stores. The sites are open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are serviced daily. They collect clean, source-separated household recyclables: glass, aluminum, steel cans, newspaper, cardboard and some plastics. Materials are sold to local markets and established scrap dealers in the Greater Chicago area: fiber is purchased by a paper mill in Lake County, glass by a company just over the county line in Illinois, and steel returns to the steel mills.

CCR now employs six full time and two part time workers who are paid $6.50 to $10.00 an hour. CCR provides job training, a local work history, and letters of recommendation to homeless shelter residents who are paid a stipend for their work; the venture also helps provide continuing financial support for Brothers' Keeper. Benefits from the business flow to the city of Gary and surrounding communities.

After further expansion this summer, CCR will be able to hire up to four more full time employees, including Brother's Keeper shelter residents who by then will be trained warehouse workers. The enterprise anticipates generating $300,000 annually from sales of recyclables. Selling recycled materials to end-users in Indiana and the Greater Chicago area will increase the capacity and the labor requirements of local industry; for example, one Lake County paper mill that buys CCR's fiber to manufacture egg cartons and fruit box liners estimates that once CCR operates at capacity, the mill will be able to increase its output by 20 percent and hire more employees.

Environmental Education

CCR diverted over a million pounds of recyclables from area landfills in the first six months of 1995, after moving into the new warehouse/processing facility. The drop-off centers also serve as environmental education centers. Information is posted about recycling and resources saved—for example, how many trees were saved by recycling at each drop-off site. The emphasis is town-based, not county-wide, so local residents take ownership and pride in their community's efforts. 

"Closing the Loop"

The project also works toward "closing the loop" by promoting use of recycled materials. One grocery store hosting a drop-off site introduced green "please return for recycling" shelf tags under certain products and additional shelf tags listing the recycled content of packaging with a "smiley-face earth" logo. One national cookie brand's sales representative who toured the shelves was concerned because his competitor's brands displayed these attention-getting shelf tags; he has since been working to convince his company to adopt recycled packaging.

CCR has received start-up and ongoing support from a wide range of local, state and national sources. The Gary Clean City Coalition provided CCR with administrative and clerical services and office space until the facility in Griffith was completed. All current CCR staff volunteered their time during the start-up phase; community volunteers as well as community service workers assigned by county and city courts still help to support the program. Grocery site locations are donated by the merchants, who also contribute $1,000 and help find "shelf sponsors," such as local dairies and the local newspaper, to make matching contributions. 

CCR has received some equipment on loan, such as a $10,000 can crusher/separator and a vertical baler that will become CCR's own property after five years. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management provided advice as well as funds for equipment. The Hoosier Environmental Council and Greenpeace contributed advice on legislative matters. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, based in Washington, DC, facilitated the development of the joint venture and provided technical assistance in helping to draft the business plan and obtain financing.

Key Elements of Success

The experience of the participants was a critical element of the project's success. The Gary Clean City Coalition played a major role in getting the city to establish and expand a curbside recycling program, and Brothers' Keeper had collected newspapers as a source of income for years. 2-Ladies began as a volunteer, recycling educational effort initiated by a mayor's committee in Hobart. Marie Fryar and her partner participated in this effort but found that "education was not enough if there was nowhere to take the stuff," and opened the first drop-off center in 1989 on land left by her father-in-law. Fryar became convinced that "it is necessary to prove there are viable alternatives in order to affect legislation and local policy." 2-Ladies, the Gary Clean City Coalition and other groups worked with the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Lake County Solid Waste Management District Advisory Board to insure that proper recycling programs were implemented.

In addition to credibility as recycling operators, their years of working on the Community Recycling Cooperative Effort for the Environment gave 2-Ladies a strong base of support in local communities. Fryar recounts: "we worked with the mayors, with the churches, the Chambers of Commerce, the Kiwanis Clubs, the Boy Scouts, the grocery store owners, old, young, everybody." This made them "somebody to be reckoned with" in the political arena and helped them win the district contract.

Barriers to Credit for Nonprofit Recyclers

The major barrier to expansion and self-sufficiency for CCR has been lending institutions' refusal to provide matching financing, largely due to policies on collateral. CCR was told that their $80,000 of equipment is not on the list of acceptable loan collateral and that recycling equipment is "too specialized". The contract for $178,000 a year from the Lake County Solid Waste Management District was also considered insufficient security for the loan—even after CCR, at the banks' request, renegotiated an extended four year contract. Banks were unwilling to accept future sales of recyclable materials as collateral for purchasing equipment.

The unanticipated barriers to obtaining credit for nonprofit recyclers set back the program schedule in the initial business plan, as CCR has had to focus on fundraising from local business donations and grants or loans from the state and from foundations. The three sites scheduled to come on line and the final twelve drop-off sites will be set up by the end of the summer, now that CCR is obtaining the necessary equipment and financing. Meanwhile, a new business pilot program is picking up materials from a major appliance distributor and a tavern.

Iowa energy programs

Des Moines, Iowa

Contact: Ms. Roya Stanley; Chief, Energy Bureau; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Wallace State Office Building; Des Moines, IA 50319-0034; Tel: (515) 281-8681; 

Fax: (515) 281-6794

Scope: Statewide

Inception Date: 1985

Participants: Iowa's Department of Natural Resources; government facilities, schools, hospitals, local governments and other non-profit organizations; utilities

Project Type: Energy management, renewable resource development, alternative financing

Methods Used: Innovative energy legislation and financing arrangements, marketing and public education, development of comprehensive energy plans

Lessons Learned: Importance of state and federal legislation for comprehensive energy planning. Necessity of innovative financing systems and marketing. Value of modeling education and utility leadership.


In 1985 Iowa began an ambitious series of innovative legislative program and planning strategies aimed at improving the state's economy and decreasing its dependence on external energy resources. Its goal was to reduce overall energy use, develop "home-grown" renewable energy sources, and to build a local renewables industry. 

Using Energy More Efficiently

The goal of the Building Energy Management Programs of Iowa's Department of Natural Resources is to achieve annual energy savings of $50-60 million on a capital investment of $300 million in all state facilities, schools, hospitals, and local government and other nonprofit organizations through the implementation of cost-effective building energy management improvements that have a payback period of six years. Improvements range from caulking and weather-stripping to replacing boilers and chillers. 

Traditionally, lack of capital has limited investments in energy efficiency. To overcome this problem, the State of Iowa has developed several innovative financing programs. In 1985 a state law was passed authorizing state agencies to use lease-purchase financing for improvements and setting up a non-profit corporation to facilitate implementation. Savings that result from these improvements go to meeting the lease payments. A School Energy Bank, set up in 1986, assists schools with energy audits, engineering analyses (paid for with six-month interest-free loans), and lease financing for improvements. Additional enabling legislation, passed in 1987, allows all school districts to get the same low interest rate regardless of credit rating. Other legislation set up similar programs for hospitals, private colleges, and local governments. By the end of 1993, $113 million in improvements had been identified and about 16% of these installed. Future programs will focus on industrial and commercial facilities, as well as promotion to other states. 

Increasing "home-grown" energy resources

Iowa's Comprehensive Energy Plan, developed in 1990 by the Department of Natural Resources, calls for 10% of Iowa's energy usage to be composed of renewables by 2010. Due to the large number of highly-rated wind sites in Iowa, wind energy will be the primary resource used. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that wind turbines could generate more than two trillion kilowatt-hours per year in the state. Additional sources will be biomass, including ethanol, wood waste, methane, and municipal solid waste. 

As with the Building Facilities Program, legislation has made development of this capacity possible. In 1992 the Iowa Utilities Board set guidelines requiring purchase by utilities of 105 megawatts of electricity generated by alternative power producers. A 1993 law exempted wind generation equipment from state sales tax and allowed local governments to exempt landowners from paying additional property taxes on the value of wind conversion systems. In addition renewable energy projects by cities, counties, and school districts became eligible for low-cost financing through the Iowa Energy Bank Program, operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

The Spirit Lake Community School District in northwestern Iowa was one of the first institutions to benefit from this program. Using funds from the U.S. Department of Energy's Institutional Conservation Program and low-cost financing from Iowa's Energy Loan Bank Program, the school district built a 250-kilowatt wind turbine in 1993. In the first year of operation the district saved $26,000 which, according to Superintendent Harold Overman, "will provide a computer lab a year for our students." 

The 1990 legislation requiring investor-owned utilities to purchase 105 megawatts of independently produced energy provides an added economic benefit to the school district. They can sell excess electricity to Iowa Electric at a guaranteed rate. Because this mainly occurs during the summer when school is closed, this supply serves to meet the utility's additional seasonal needs.

The students benefit by learning about energy conservation and other environmental concepts, e.g, the wind turbine will keep 1800 pounds of pollutants and 650,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. They are monitoring the wind speeds and turbine production data with classroom computers and sharing this and other information with other schools through the Iowa Communication Network. 

The success at Spirit Lake has inspired other initiatives. A local manufacturer in Adair, Iowa installed a wind turbine early in 1995. The system is expected to provide 70-80% of the company's electrical needs and to pay back within eight years. It also prompted a gift from two philanthropists of two generators to the Nevada County School District and a third to a community hospital.

Integrated resource planning: Waverly, Iowa

In 1990 Iowa required municipal utilities to report their energy efficiency plans by 1992. Waverly was the first utility to submit its comprehensive plan, which has become a model for others in the state.

Waverly is a small, growing farm town of 9,000 in northeastern Iowa. Its publicly-owned electric utility, Waverly Light and Power, serves roughly 4,000 customers in a 33-square mile service area. It generates 45% of its power while the rest is purchased from Midwest Power Systems (MPS). During the late 1980's energy demand grew at a rate of 4.2% annually from an increase in population and small businesses, Faced with a contract termination with MPS in 1999 and steady growth in demand, it became increasingly concerned about future energy supplies. It looked to Osage, Iowa, where an impressive set of demand-side management programs had achieved 100% participation and significant savings for the city. 

In 1990, the board of Waverly Light and Power hired a new general manager and energy efficiency expert, Glenn Cannon, who prepared the utility's first integrated resource plan in 1992. It identified fifteen environmental and conservation goals which provided cost-effective strategies and rationales for increasing customer efficiency and conservation in the use of energy and for investing in renewable resources.

The demand-side programs involve residential, commercial, and industrial customers. They include energy efficiency in new building construction; residential audit and appliance rebate programs; commercial audit, lighting and HVAC programs; home loan programs; and a demonstration electric vehicle program. 

On the renewable supply side, after extensive research Waverly Power and Light installed an 80 kilowatt wind turbine on an acre of land leased from a local farmer. Although it is the costliest source of energy in its current supply, the utility foresees that wind will play a permanent part in its future mix. It is also a source of local pride among residents. 

With the University of Northern Iowa, Waverly has also established the Midwest Wind Energy Program to provide evaluation, demonstration, and dissemination of wind energy information. In the words of Mr. Cannon, "We have a moral obligation to our customers and society as a whole to provide electrical service in the most responsible manner, and that's got to include the environment." 

By developing an integrated energy plan, implementation has come at minimal cost for Waverly Power and Light. Careful planning ensures that energy-efficient appliances and other equipment were available before the plan was implemented. Effective communication and public education through radio spots and newspaper advertisements and public meetings reduced the need for expensive promotions and incentives. 

In addition the success of the program was a boost for the local economy, making it possible for the utility to make an interest-free loan available to buy land for an industrial park. Administration commitment, efficient use of resources, credible messengers, long-term strategic planning have all been distinctive elements in this effort. For more information contact: Glenn Cannon, General Manager, Waverly Light and Power, 1002 Adams Parkway, P.O. Box 329, Waverly, IA (319) 352-6251 Fax: (319) 352-6254. 

Key elements for success statewide

Favorable legislation and state assistance in research have been key to the success of Iowa's energy programs. In the case of wind generation technological innovations in turbine design and efficiency have greatly reduced costs and increased technical reliability. As a result, there is far more public support for renewable energy projects. 

The programs of both the State of Iowa and the town of Waverly demonstrate that careful, integrated, long-term resource planning addressing all sides of the energy equation can succeed and bring economic, environmental and educational benefits to communities as well as a sense of civic pride and the opportunity to be a model for others to follow. Energy efficiency and renewable sources result in a cleaner environment and fewer environmental and health costs. Dependence on supplies of fossil fuels is reduced and new industries, products, markets, and jobs created. Education has a significant role in teaching sustainable energy use and development to future generations. 

The land institute

Salina, Kansas

Contact: Dr. Wes Jackson, Director; The Land Institute; 2440 Water Well Rd.; Salina, KS 67401; Tel: (913) 823-5376; Fax: (913) 823-8728

Scope: National

Inception Date: 1976

Participants: Researchers, interns, scientists, land grant university 

Project Type: Sustainable agriculture, natural resource conservation, public education

Methods Used: Research, peer-reviewed results, educational centers and programs, partnerships with universities

Lessons Learned: Importance of vision, long-term view and demonstration of principles. Value of educational exchange. 

"When people, land, and community are as one, all three members prosper; when they relate not as members but as competing interests, all three are exploited. By consulting Nature as the source and measure of that membership, The Land Institute seeks to develop an agriculture that will save soil from being lost or poisoned while promoting a community life at once prosperous and enduring." 

—Mission Statement 


The Land Institute was founded in 1976 by Wes Jackson and his wife, Dana, to research and model new agricultural production methods that exemplify the best of sustainability — in agriculture, water and energy efficiency, waste management, and shelter. According to Dr. Jackson, a farmer and plant geneticist, its goal is to develop a system of agriculture that "saves the soil, runs on sunlight, and rebuilds local community." This small institute demonstrates what an enormous impact dedicated individuals with vision can have by virtue of their commitment to change, their ability to model what they believe in, and their inspiration to others. 

Located on 28 acres south of Salina along the Smoky Hill River, the Land Institute now covers 275 acres, 100 of which are the original prairie. It began as a school to explore and model sustainability. Classes were first held in the fall of 1976, but within a month a fire destroyed the building. What happened next is symbolic. The students stayed and worked with the Jacksons to use the resources available to build a solar-heated classroom, an office and library and to begin their research. 

For over two decades, staff, researchers and students have been learning from native prairies, seeking to identify and grow perennial prairie grasses in mixtures that would collectively retain and build topsoil, hold moisture, counter pests naturally, produce high yields of edible seeds, and require minimum tillage. They are taking the best of traditional empirically-derived approaches. 


The Land Institute is based on a philosophy of "Natural Systems Agriculture", or an agricultural system that takes its cue from natural ecosystems whether they be prairies, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, alpine meadows or Arctic tundra. It is this fundamental belief that distinguishes the Land Institute from other research institutions. Natural ecosystems cannot be understood by looking at individual parts rather as an integrated whole.

He sees nature as an analogue, believing that ecosystems have worked for millions of years and have much to teach us. To the extent that researchers can unlock their secrets, the land and people will benefit. The challenge is to develop a more sustainable agricultural system.

Learning from the prairie

In their research, the Institute has tried to answer the following questions: Will perennials have the same high yields of seeds produced by annuals? Will this system address pest management effectively? Will a polyculture produce as much or more than a monoculture? Will it produce its own nitrogen? Through its research, the Land Institute has answered all the questions except how the prairie can adequately develop its own nitrogen.

Innovative research and education

To expand this research the Land Institute recently joined forces with Kansas State University in a collaborative development of a project. It will set up ten "plant materials" systems centers around the country. They will be located in different parts of the country so that an ecosystem approach can be adapted to local conditions and different environmental conditions. 

In each center there will be a team of scientists comprised of ecologists, plant breeders, biotechnologists and environmental historians. All the scientists will be under 40 so that in their lifetimes they can see the results of their experiments to find what kinds of polycultures, or mixtures of plants, will be best suited to different landscapes. Dr. Jackson estimates that this 25-year program will cost around $750 million. 

The Land Institute has also had some influence on what land grant universities teach and research. Admirers in many of these institutions are engaged in polyculture research and work in collaboration with the Land Institute and Kansas State. Because of these efforts and increased public interest, educational institutions are addressing sustainable agriculture more than before.

The transmission of this approach to the next generation and to interested colleagues is integral to the mission of this institution. Every year eight to ten interns come for ten months to study, write, conduct research, work, and grow crops. Visiting scholars come as well. 

Dr. Jackson is also a prolific writer and lecturer. He has written three books, Becoming Native to this Place, Altars of Unhewn Stone:Science and the Earth, and New Roots for Agriculture, as well as many articles, and given numerous interviews. 

Translating vision into action

Sunshine Farm Project

Begun in 1991, this project is intended to provide a type of control for comparisons with the Land Institute's perennial prairie polyculture research model. Conventional crops such as wheat, alfalfa and sorghum, or monocultures, are being grown but using sustainable practices. The Land Institute is also using an integrated approach that includes draft animals, tractors fueled with vegetable oil, wind turbines, crop rotations, and conservation tillage. By developing a farm that is regenerative and self-sufficient in energy and food and that receives no subsidies, they will be able to contrast and evaluate the two operations.

Matfield Green — An Experiment in "Keeping the Books"

In this new experiment, a small town of 50 in the Flint Hills will be used to gather data on inflows and outflows of materials, or what Dr. Jackson terms "setting up the books for ecological community accounting." Here, as in many rural areas, there is an increasing loss of "cultural seed stock" and with it the diverse knowledge base that is a strength of any community.

Once a thriving town, Matfield Green has lost most of its residents to the cities. What it has retained is clean air and water and a healthy quality of life. Here, the Land Institute is developing a rural studies center where researchers will identify how "to live within ecological limits." Several assumptions are made: that communities can be studied; that they have 'ecological capital'; that capital loss can be tracked; and that communities need to "balance the books" if they are to be sustainable. 

Unlike human settlements, the prairie has two identifiable features: everything runs on sunlight, and it recycles all materials. In this study, the Institute will attempt to identify what principles guide the human community. How can we learn to live more sustainable lives? What is missing or what could be added to the community experience that would help guide the community toward sustainability? Matfield Green will become the research center to answer these questions. 

Back to the Future

Dr. Jackson uses the following analogy to explain the status of the Institute's research. In 1903 the Wright brothers knew they were on to something when they got the plane airborne at Kitty Hawk, but they could not have foreseen the day when jets could fly across the ocean. He explains that they are at the very beginning of a significant revolution in agriculture and he cannot predict where this experiment is going. He is certain that the kind of agriculture the Institute is seeking to model will reflect the wisdom of ecosystems they are studying.


The Land Institute is primarily funded by foundation grants and contributions from supporters in all 50 states and a number of other countries. Like many nonprofit organizations it is vulnerable to changes in foundation priorities and to the desire for short-term results. Reductions in funding in recent years has meant that the staff has been reduced and salaries cut. Although the ten centers will require substantial funding, Dr. Jackson estimates that the return on investment will be substantial and is seeking government funding for the centers. 

Through its research and by training students and spreading the word among the research community and reaching a wider audience, the Land Institute is increasing the number of people and projects teaching and researching in this new kind of thinking. It has already and continues to make a remarkable contribution to developing innovative means of sustaining land, water, air, people and communities. 

Mountain association for community economic development

Berea, Kentucky

Contact: Don Harker, President; MACED; 433 Chestnut Street; Berea, Kentucky 40403; Tel: (606) 986-2373; Fax: (606) 986-1299

Scope: Regional

Inception Date: 1976

Participants: Residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, government officials

Project Type: Comprehensive community development, leadership development/training, public education

Methods Used: Technical assistance, training, education, revolving loan fund

Lessons Learned: Importance of residents in building sustainable communities. Necessity of developing social capital including relationships among people and organizations. Recognition of how much we need to learn about sustainable community development.


The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) was formed in 1976 by ten community development organizations to improve the quality of life in mountain communities, particularly that of low-income residents. Its work encompasses the 49 eastern Kentucky counties served by the Appalachian Regional Commission. 

These communities face serious economic, social and environmental problems. Of the 49 counties served, 38 are classified as distressed. Nearly 25,000 jobs have been lost in the state since 1979. The number of farms has declined from 267,000 to just 88,000 since 1940. Poor agricultural, mining and logging practices have left a toll on the environment throughout the state. The population of the area generally lacks the education and skills to become more employable. Only half the adults 25 and older have high school degrees, and deep divisions remain between the haves and have-nots.

Over the years MACED has developed programs to facilitate economic renewal and to increase the capacity of local citizens to build more sustainable, equitable and prosperous communities. Its staff of 23 draws on its expertise in finance and leadership development, community organizing, environmental issues, business, law, and education. Its Board of Directors represents the broad diversity of this region. Its annual operating budget is around $1 million; the revolving loan fund, $3.5 million. Funds are derived from government grants, private foundations and income from investments and consulting fees. 

Economic Transitions and Transformations

Community Economic Development

MACED is best known for its work in communities to improve their economic base. Its business development program supports projects to help low-income people which private banks will not finance. Over the years, MACED has helped to create more than 600 jobs through $8 million in investments in 20 enterprises, such as secondary wood manufacturing processes and more efficient mill operations. It works with entrepreneurs and small businesses and helps to create flexible manufacturing networks that help small businesses work together on joint purchasing, training programs and collective marketing. Government funding from such programs as the Discretionary Grants Programs of the Office of Community Services (OCS) has played a key role in helping companies become more competitive. 

One successful example of MACED's ability to provide a timely infusion of capital and ongoing technical assistance is the B & H Tool Works, Inc., a tool and die manufacturer in Richmond, Kentucky. Begun in 1979 by two men in a garage, it grew to $150,000 in revenues by 1984. It sold common stock to its employees, bought five acres and constructed a 1,200 square foot building. By 1985 they had 18 employees and sales of more than $212,000. To take advantage of market opportunities they needed to raise capital. MACED provided a $100,000 capital loan when no other source was available. They also offered technical assistance with a business plan and counseling on information and computer systems to help track costs and market opportunities. They later were able to obtain a grant from the OCS for $279,000.

Today B&H employs 115 people full-time in high skill jobs. Its sales in 1995 are anticipated to be $6 million. Over one-third of its workers earn $40,000 or more, which is double the average for the workers in the area. The company, in turn, has benefitted the region and the state and federal governments: the original OCS investment of $279,000 returns an estimated $37,500 to the city and county, $125,000 to the state and $375,000 to the federal government each year through payroll taxes.

Kentucky Local Governance Project (KLGP)

Since 1991, the KLGP has worked at the grassroots level in nine counties to help citizens make local government more responsible, accountable, open and democratic. It encourages governments to solve local problems: repairing unsafe roads, cleaning up polluted waterways and dumps, providing public transportation to underserved areas, and enhancing parks and recreation areas. It has also been effective in opening up opportunities for public participation in governmental processes. 

To help citizens become more informed about their communities and better able to participate in local decision-making, MACED conducts workshops using an adaptation of the Rocky Mountain Institute's Economic Renewal model workshop and a compendium of case studies. These workshops have been particularly effective in attracting much wider community representation in discussing economic alternatives, a traditionally closed process. 

In these workshops, participants identify assets and needs within the communities and analyze case studies for their applicability to their specific communities. In the course of the workshop they are asked to list a number of proposed projects. In recent workshops facilitators, Don Harker and Liz Natter, have added the issue of sustainability by asking participants to identify and incorporate sustainability indicators into their thinking processes about which local enterprises might work. They have also added follow-up workshops to define the next steps, timelines and areas of responsibility. In addition, the Local Governance Project has provided the ongoing technical assistance that is key to future implementation.

The KLGP also provides small stipends (roughly $2000/year per group) to undertake special projects such as creating summer youth programs, improving a community center, or providing scholarships. 

Generating new initiatives

Over the years MACED has been instrumental in helping to form new organizations that complement its work. Forward in the Fifth is a group dedicated to educational quality in eastern and southern Kentucky. By working with local affiliates that engage a broad cross-section of the community, this group has helped to enhance education through mini-grants to teachers, student attendance improvement and parent involvement programs. Since 1986 it has supported local organizations, organizing over 2000 members in 39 counties affecting local schools that enroll over 170,000 children. 

Another representative organization, the Women's Initiative Network Groups (WINGS), was formed by three women entrepreneurs to help women in eastern Kentucky build skills and businesses through life assessment and business training workshops. 

Sustainable Communities Initiative

In recent years MACED has built upon the effectiveness of its past economic development work to incorporate more fully the principles of sustainability that recognize the interdependence of ecology, economy and equity. Instead of simply looking at ways to create jobs, they are examining opportunities to build a coordinated civic infrastructure in two counties that will enable citizens to determine the future of their communities. 

In 1995 MACED plans to launch a five-year Sustainable Communities Initiative in Letcher and Owsley counties that will demonstrate how developing social capacity can inform and lead to sustainable development. The economy in the two counties centers on coal and agriculture. Owsley is Kentucky's poorest county. With a poverty rate of 52.1%, it is largely made up of small farms that grow tobacco. But its strength is in its active citizen groups, some of which have participated in the Economic Renewal workshops and are ready to diversify the economy. Letcher is a coal county with 31.8% living below the poverty level. It has two notably progressive institutions, its local newspaper and Appalshop, a nationally-recognized media center. 

The Sustainable Communities Initiative will address fundamental problems and opportunities in an integrated environmental, economic, and social approach that makes efficient use of resources. It will demonstrate the benefits of moving away from an economic growth model to one that improves peoples' lives while reducing the use of natural resources. MACED will work together with many local organizations as well as with other non-profit groups that have special expertise. Both counties will work together and develop linkages to other communities as well as to state, local and national agencies. 

MACED plans to develop a guide about sustainable development and social capacity for public education. This will complement its previous publication, Where We Live: A Citizen's Guide to Conducting a Community Environmental Inventory, authored by Don Harker and Elizabeth Ungar Natter, and a forthcoming primer on sustainability for the general public. 


Two of the ongoing challenges are finding entrepreneurs with the skills, vision and willingness to undertake new approaches and developing the social capacity for community sustainability. MACED's programs and new initiative are specifically targeted to address these needs.

All of MACED's work is intended to guide communities toward more sustainable development. Through local capacity building, technical assistance, education and public outreach, MACED is helping citizens and businesses work together to develop new approaches that improve their quality of life.

The coalition to restore coastal Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Contact: Mark Davis; The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana; 200 Lafayette Street, Suite 500; Baton Rouge, LA 70801; Tel.: (504) 344-6555; Fax: (504) 344-0590; E-mail:

Scope: Regional, coastal, urban/rural

Inception Date: 1989

Participants: Businesses, community organizations, individuals

Project Type: Restoration/cleanup, public education, citizen-led initiative

Methods Used: Education, organizing citizens' groups

Lessons Learned: People can make a difference; motivated and informed citizen action has catalyzed state and national policy; important to move away from assigning blame and instead move toward solutions.


Studies through the years showed that the coast of Louisiana and the only great delta ecosystem in North America, the Mississippi River delta, was disappearing at the rate of 25 to 40 square miles per year: Between 1930 and today, Louisianas coastal land mass has shrunk approximately 1.2 million acres, or 30%. The state, which contained approximately 25 percent of the coastal wetlands in the United States, was suffering about 80% of all national coastal wetlands losses. 

The delta is of economic as well as environmental importance. Its fisheries, both recreational and commercial, contribute about $2 billion to Louisianas economy each year, supply a large part of the nations commercial catch, and about 50,000 to 70,000 jobs for the people of Louisiana. The delta area provides about 50 percent of the nation's fur harvest. It is the nursery and feeding area for millions of waterfowl. And the coastal wetlands provide hurricane and storm protection for the inhabitants of the coastal zone. This is important because about 65% of the population of Louisiana lives within 50 miles of the coast. 

Stewardship Basis for Growth

Concerns for the health and vitality of the coastal lands, its communities and economy spurred informal meetings among environmental activists, scientists and concerned coastal residents beginning in 1986. They came together to discuss possibilities for taking action to halt the loss of coastal lands. They recognized that the loss of land is caused by human actions—the siting and protection of industries, communities, levees, and transportation infrastructure—as much as natural occurrences. And they decided to try to do something to halt the loss.

In 1987, several different religious denominations passed a common resolution that urged the people of Louisiana, particularly those in coastal parishes, to accept personal responsibility for environmental stewardship and to support groups and politicians who did also. Over the next two years churches and synagogues throughout coastal Louisiana sponsored 20 forums attracting more than 2,000 people to learn about ways to protect and restore wetlands.

In early 1988, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) formed out of the informal, ad hoc group, and was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). By 1989, more than 60 clubs, businesses and organizations belonged to the coalition. More than forty people served on the Board of Directors. Most were representatives of religious organizations, universities, local governments, service organizations, environmental groups, small businesses or tourist bureaus. Among them were attorneys, scientists, environmentalists and landowners. About twenty-five scientists and engineers agreed to act as advisors. Today nearly 150 businesses, corporations, trade associations, civic, religious and environmental groups and hundreds of individual members are involved in CRCL activities to support its mission of advocating for the restoration and preservation of the Mississippi River Delta and the coastal wetlands of Louisiana.

Ambitious Citizen Action Plan Realized

The Coalition, which received foundation grants and challenge grants that were matched by in-state donations, released a citizens' action plan for saving the Delta, Coastal Louisiana: Here Today and Gone Tomorrow?, in April, 1989. Draft reports were circulated among and commented on by governments, fishermen's associations, research institutions, environmental and conservation clubs, civic groups, religious organizations, coastal landowners, scientific consulting firms and private businesses and industry. The plan proposed to:

• • • create dedicated, recurring and substantial state and federal funds for investment to preserve and restore threatened coastal wetlands;

• • • introduce the restoration of the Mississippi River Delta as an important component of the national environmental agenda;

• • • fast track and coordinate coastal wetlands restoration efforts by the Governor's office; and,

• • • convince Congress to expand the mission and mandate of the Army Corps of Engineers to include wetlands creation and preservation in addition to the traditional jobs of maintaining navigation and flood control.

The plan was considered extremely ambitious and generally was viewed as unlikely to be realized in the foreseeable future. But in 1989, voters of the state approved a constitutionally protected Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund. A trust, it is funded by a portion of the oil and gas royalties received by the state, which provides up to $20 million annually to coastal restoration efforts. 

The Coalition then developed a national "Save the Wetlands" campaign that helped move Congress to pass the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) in 1990. CWPPRA provides $40 million annually to restore Louisiana's coastal wetlands.

Federal/State Task Force Oversees Restoration

A task force composed of six federal agencies (the Departments of the Army, Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency) and the State of Louisiana was created to manage planning and project construction. The task force gets input from citizens through public meetings and an advisory Citizens' Participation Group (CPG). The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has played a major role in the selection of restoration projects under CWPPRA. In 1995, it led discussions of how to improve the selection process used by the CWPPRA Task Force and the criteria it uses in choosing restoration projects.

Over the past five years, 65 projects have been selected by the CWPPRA task force and the state. Five of these projects have been completed, or partially completed, and seven more are under construction. By year end, eight are expected to be complete and 14 under construction.

Restoration projects range in estimated cost from a high of $8,142,000 to a low of $126,000. A sampling of completed projects include:

Bayou LaBranche Marsh Creation

Completed in April, 1994, this project recreated 350 acres of marsh that had been lost to conversion and flooding. Once the area has settled, it is expected to be a freshwater and intermediate marsh that will serve as a valuable nursery habitat for finfish and shellfish. 

Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Erosion Protection and Marsh Enhancement

This project protects more than 640 acres of freshwater marsh to prevent erosion of the spoil bank that separates the wetlands from the waterway. 

Vegetative Planting Demonstration Project

Four locations, including West Hackberry in Cameron Parish, DeWitt-Rollover in Vermillion, and Timbalier Island and Falgout Canal in Terrebonne, are sites intended to demonstrate the suitability of using various plants to decrease erosion in areas prone to salt water intrusion and wave action. 

Citizens' Restoration Support Agenda

In its ongoing effort to support coastal restoration and preservation, The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has a number of projects on its agenda designed to inform, involve and educate citizens, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. These include:

• • • supporting CoastWatch, local citizens' groups;

• • • sponsoring student field trips;

• • • developing educational programs ;

• • • maintaining a speakers' bureau;

• • • publishing CoastWise magazine, a semi-annual, and Coast Currents, a monthly newsletter;

• • • creating a Christmas Trees Project to build barriers in wetlands using Christmas trees; and

• • • testifying at state and national hearings in support of wetlands protection and coastal restoration legislation.

CoastWatch is a project of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. CoastWatch groups are coalitions of local conservation and civic groups and individuals formed by volunteers to work on water quality, habitat or coastal restoration issues in their local area. Each region in Louisiana is faced with different conservation or restoration issues so each CoastWatch group sets its own agenda, structure and policy. The group becomes a way for local citizens to gather and share information about important local conservation issues, and to organize and act quickly when necessary. CoastWatch groups have:

• • • monitored and made suggestions for expenditures for state and federal coastal restoration funds;

• • • improved sewage treatment laws and enforcement;

• • • worked on regional river planning; 

• • • opposed projects harmful to the aquatic environment; and 

• • • produced education materials.

The Coalition offers CoastWatch groups the latest information on wetlands and coastal issues; technical and legal expertise; assistance in forming and maintaining an effective local conservation group; funding and development assistance; and, statewide support for local initiatives.

The Coalition also sponsors workshops in different areas of the state on issues related to coastal preservation. For example, it held a two-day Barrier Shoreline Restoration workshop in New Orleans in the spring of 1995. More than 100 people attended to hear speakers and panel members from as far away as Maine, New Hampshire and Virginia. The Coalition also holds Louisiana Wetlands Workshops with local residents and guest speakers showing how citizens depend on healthy wetlands for food, safety, recreation and livelihoods. 

Education projects include field trips that take students into coastal wetlands to teach them about the problem of erosion and restoration solutions. Other education projects include classroom presentations that use slides, video and activities to explain the process of coastal loss and efforts at coastal restoration in Louisiana.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is joining with six other major coastal organizations to establish a national education campaign about the importance of the nation's coastal resources and estuaries. The campaign will focus on their value as fisheries and wildlife habitat and their cultural and economic importance. 

Sustainable Cobscook

Cobscook, Maine

Contact: Dianne Tilton; Sunrise County Economic Council; 63 Main Street; Machias, ME 04654-0679; Tel.: (207) 255-0983

Scope: Nine towns on Cobscook Bay

Inception Date: 1993

Participants: Individuals and organizations in the Cobscook Bay region

Project Type: Community economic development, sustainable indicators, comprehensive community development

Methods Used: Small grants to local sustainable development projects, public participation

Lessons Learned: Most people are not used to having the power to make important decisions affecting their communities and local economies. Grassroots economic development is getting everybody in the community involved in every level of major decision making.

Sustainable Cobscook was founded by citizens from communities around Cobscook Bay in northeastern Maine as an effort to plan and implement sustainable development in their region. Four task forces composed of members of the community have begun to establish and raise funding for local projects in four areas: environment, economic development, education, and community/cooperation. These efforts include a sustainable indicators project, a conference on using Cobscook Bay as a teaching tool, a soft shell clam habitat restoration and management project and a directory of regional cottage industries.

There are nine communities along the rim of Cobscook Bay, with a combined population of 6,801 people. The lack of significant economic development in the region threatens the qualities the people in Cobscook Bay wish to maintain: their livelihoods, the natural environment, their communities and their educational systems. Many people in the region are concerned that some types of economic development could be a threat to those aspects of the area as well. Residents are also concerned that if their towns are unable to provide quality education and job opportunities, they face losing their most precious resource as their children grow up and leave the area.

Flexible Funding

Sustainable Cobscook is part of the Northern New England Sustainable Communities Project, a three-state initiative funded by the Ford Foundation. The underlying principle of the Project is that only the people living in a community can decide how to enhance or preserve what they value most. Sustainable Cobscook received $10,000 from the Ford Foundation its first year and $40,000 each of two following years. 

Each of the four task forces received $6,500 per year to use however they decided. The task forces are also authorized to seek other sources of funding. The only restriction made by the Ford Foundation was that grant money could not be used to pay staff salaries. The Foundation wants the money to be used only to increase capacity in the community.

Indicators of Sustainable Development

The first action taken by the Economic Development Task Force was to hire a student intern from the College of the Atlantic to begin developing indicators to measure the status of the four commonly held values of the residents of the Cobscook Bay area.

Some of the specific indicators chosen by the task force are the dollar value of local fish landings to indicate economic health; the percentage of nesting eagles that successfully reproduce to indicate the health of the environment; the number of organizations with regional interests to determine the level of community and cooperation; and school test scores to indicate the quality of local educational institutions. These indicators will be used to track the history of changes in different aspects of life in the region as well as to determine if and when successes have been achieved in different areas.

Teaching About Local Ecosystems

All of the task forces provided funds for an Environmental Teaching Conference to be held during the summer of 1996 to train teachers to use Cobscook Bay as a learning tool. They hope that this will instill in young children an appreciation of the importance of the Bay ecosystem to the region. 

The Education Task Force has also contributed money to create a computer animation project for students in area schools that illustrates how the ecosystem of Cobscook Bay works. The program will create a visual record of how the Bay is changing with time. The second phase of the project will be a simulation program for the ecosystem of the Bay which will allow students to learn how different factors affect the Bay.

Reviving the Clam Industry

Because of poor water quality and over-harvesting, the soft shell clam industry, which was a large part of the regional economy less than 15 years ago is now virtually nonexistent. The Environmental Task Force received a grant of $75,000 over two years from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Cox Charitable Trust to create a regional soft shell clam habitat restoration and management project. 

This project will encourage regional shellfish management practices around Cobscook Bay, coordinate information among towns, and encourage local water quality testing using local school students and volunteers. The project will be working with the Maine Department of Marine Resources to open closed clam flats that are safe to reopen. The Environment Task Force is also investing funds in a clam seeding project to seed newly opened beds.

Helping a New Agricultural Industry

The cranberry industry has recently returned to the Cobscook Bay region after a 50 year absence. The cranberry growers association educates new farmers about how to properly use pesticides. The industry is currently small, so the growers association is underfunded. There have also been problems with cranberry farmers using pesticides in larger than needed applications. The Economic Development Task Force is trying to correct this problem by contributing two thousand dollars for research to identify available funding for the growers association to hire staff. The association plans to be able to support itself within five years because the industry's barrel self-tax will bring in more money as cranberry growing becomes more popular in the region.

Building Awareness of Cottage Industries

Many people in the Cobscook Bay area are self-employed, making products or performing services out of their homes. Most of these businesses advertise solely by word of mouth which means that people that don't know about them will often leave the region for products or services they need. To make people more aware of these local products, the Economic Development Task Force is creating a directory of all the businesses and services available from cottage industries in the nine town area.

Bringing communities closer together

Lubec and Eastport, the largest two towns on Cobscook Bay, are separated by only two miles across the water but are forty miles apart by land. The Community/Cooperation Task Force has contributed funds for Lubec to acquire a water taxi that will be used to transport people between the two towns.

Building community involvement

A local ad-hoc steering committee met regularly during the first several months of the project in order to plan public participation and educate themselves on the concept of sustainable development. A series of public meetings, with attendance ranging from 10 to forty people, were subsequently held to determine commonly held values in the community.

According to Dianne Tilton, Executive Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council, people who participated in the public participation phase of Sustainable Cobscook began to take ownership over the project: "We had teachers, town officials, people from the land trust, retirees, people from the historical society, students from the technical college. I think they feel ownership of the project because they made all of the decisions. The foundation didn't say we want you to come up with economic development. They had to come up with every step on their own. It was brutal but they can look at the results and can see that it comes from the community up rather than from the top down." 

Tilton feels that community participation has been both the key element in the success of Sustainable Cobscook and the greatest barrier encountered along the way. The project became complicated in the short run as more people got involved. However, it is more successful in the long run because the community supports the effort and because the project reflects the values of the community.

Institute for Southern Studies
P.O. Box 531
Durham NC 27702


Appendix C

Appendix C, A-M

Appendix C, M-W

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