Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: ‘Growing an Agricultural Economy’; ‘Step Up: Empowering Ourselves’; Humane Race; ‘Odeon’ at MASS MoCA; Greener Gateway roadside cleanup

The Four Freedom Coalition's 'Step Up: Empowering Ourselves' will focus on specific issues, how they affect the community, and what the public can do at the local level to address them.

Berkshire Community Land Trust to present ‘Growing an Agricultural Economy’

Sarah Waring. Photo courtesy University of Vermont

Great Barrington —  The Berkshire Community Land Trust and the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires will hold their annual meeting Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St. The meeting will feature the talk “Growing an Agricultural Economy” by Center for an Agricultural Economy executive director Sarah Waring and Matthew Derr, CAE board member and the president of Sterling College.

Matthew Derr. Photo courtesy Sterling College

CAE is based in Hardwick, Vermont, and presents an example of how farmers, entrepreneurs, citizens, town officials and educators can work together to build a local economy that respects a region’s landscape and environment. CAE facilitated the launch of High Mowing Organic Seeds; the Cellars at Jasper Hill, which provides aging, sales and marketing services to local dairy and cheese producers; and Vermont Natural Coatings, a nontoxic wood coating made from whey. Other enterprises incubated through CAE include a soybean operation for tofu processing, an organic compost company, a food processing facility that prepares vegetables for sale to local schools and other institutions, several farm to table restaurants, a bakery, maple products and more.

The cost of the lecture is $10 or 10 BerkShares at the door. For more information or to RSVP, contact the Berkshire Community Land Trust at (413) 528-4472 or


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‘Step Up: Empowering Ourselves’ advocacy workshops

Frances Jones-Sneed. Photo courtesy Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams — The Four Freedoms Coalition will present “Step Up: Empowering Ourselves,” a day of advocacy workshops, Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The workshops focus on specific issues, how they affect the community, and what the public can do at the local level to address them.

The opening keynote will be given by MCLA professor of history, political science and public policy Frances Jones-Sneed. A closing dance will be performed by dysFUNKcrew. Workshop leaders include Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield; North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard; Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru; Shirley Edgerton of the NAACP; Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant of Multicultural BRIDGE; and others.

Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches. In an effort to be environmentally conscience, participants are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles. Coffee, tea and cider will be available, along with water fountains.

The workshops are free, open to the public and wheelchair-accessible. Online registration will close at 6 p.m. Friday, April 27, but workshops may still have space available for walk-ins. It is requested that participants arrive fragrance-free. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact lead organizer Becky Meier at (518) 781-4686 or


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Berkshire Humane Society Humane Race

North Adams — Berkshire Humane Society will hold its 16th annual Humane Race, a timed 5K run and 1-mile fun walk benefitting homeless animals, Saturday, April 28, at Colgrove Park, 24 Church St. Participants are invited to run and walk with or without leashed canine companions. Proceeds will benefit BHS and homeless animals of the Berkshires.

“We’re really excited about this new location,” said race director Christa Abel. “We’ve had many wonderful years in Williamstown, and I’m sure we’ll return. When North Adams offered to host this year, we jumped at the chance to provide a change of scenery for our runners. It’s also an opportunity for our shelter to support – and be supported by – another part of our community and other local businesses.”

Check in and day-of registration will begin at 9 a.m. The race, which will be timed by Berkshire Running Center, will begin at 10 a.m. Both runners and walkers are encouraged to register in advance. The cost to participate is $25 for adults in advance, $30 for adults on the day of the race and $20 for children ages 12 and under. For more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Christa Abel at (413) 664-7777 or


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Ephrat ‘Bounce’ Asherie. Photo: Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob’s Pillow Dance

MASS MoCA to host Ephrat Asherie’s ‘Odeon’

North Adams — Cultural partners MASS MoCA and Jacob’s Pillow will present a sneak peak into Ephrat Asherie Dance’s work in progress “Odeon” Saturday, April 28, at 8 p.m. at MASS MoCA, two months before its world premiere at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

In this new work, the Boston Globe’s “bona fide b-girl” and New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) winner Ephrat Asherie layers breaking, hip hop, house and vogue to the Afro-Brazilian rhythms of 20th-century composer Ernesto Nazareth played live by pianist and Asherie’s brother, Ehud Asherie. “Odeon” was created in part through two residencies at Jacob’s Pillow.

Asherie, who won the 2016 Bessie Award for Innovative Achievement in Dance, is a New York City-based b-girl, dancer and choreographer. As artistic director of Ephrat Asherie Dance, she has presented work at venues including the Apollo Theater, FiraTàrrega, Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts and SummerStage. Asherie has received numerous awards to support her work including a Mondo Cane! commission from Dixon Place, a creative development residency at Jacob’s Pillow’s Pillow Lab, workspace and extended-life residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a travel and study grant from the Jerome Foundation, and two residencies through the CUNY Dance Initiative. Her first evening-length work, “A Single Ride,” received two Bessie nominations in 2012 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. Asherie recently received a National Dance Project award to support the development and touring of “Odeon.” She is a regular guest artist with Dorrance Dance and has worked and collaborated with Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bill Irwin, David Parsons, Gus Solomons Jr., Buddha Stretch and others.

Tickets are $5–$30. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact MASS MoCA at (413) 662-2111 or


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Volunteers from the Lee Greener Gateway Committee’s 2017 roadside cleanup pose with their collection. Photo courtesy Lee Greener Gateway Committee

Greener Gateway Committee to hold roadside cleanup

Lee — The Greener Gateway Committee will hold its third annual Greener Gateway Roadside Cleanup Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to noon as part of the Great Massachusetts Cleanup.

Event organizer and committee vice chair Valerie Bluhm noted that “litter is an eyesore that detracts from one of Lee residents’ most popular pastimes – walking around town. It can also harm wildlife and contaminate the soil. Our cleanups make a big difference.” She also observed that the town’s 2016 bylaws regulating plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers greatly reduced the number of those items found along roadsides but, in certain locations, the litter problem is still serious.

The cleanup will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Railroad Street gazebo near the post office at 35 Frank P. Consolati Way, and end between 11 a.m. and noon with a group picture and food donated by local businesses. Volunteers are encouraged to wear bright clothing and bring their own water bottles, sunscreen, tick spray and work gloves. The committee has a supply of gloves, safety vests, bags and pickup tools.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Valerie Bluhm at



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