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  • The Case for Natural Building
  • — "Natural building is any building system which places the highest value on social and environmental sustainability. It assumes the need to minimize the environmental impact of our housing and other building needs while providing healthy, beautiful, comfortable and spiritually-uplifting homes for everyone. Natural builders emphasize simple, easy-to-learn techniques based on locally-available, renewable resources. These systems rely heavily on human labor and creativity instead of on capital, high technology and specialized skills."

  • Building Relationships
  • — "A casual conversation with Bill Steen and Athena Swentzell Steen, two of the authors of the best-selling book The Straw Bale House, on the essence of building."

  • What is "Natural" Building?
  • — "Is crushed rock from a rock-crusher somehow more a product of violence than crushed rock from a glacial moraine? Is sawmill lumber from a plantation tree less violent in its genesis than sawmill lumber from a 500-year-old forest monarch? What about the felling of the former compared to the latter? And the violence of a monocrop agroforestry timber production system? Is it more or less violent to remove gravel wash from an existing river bed than to quarry it from a hillside that was a river bed millions of years ago?"

Materials & Techniques

Local & Regional:
Not from here?
  • Brattleboro: Frommers
  • — "Set in a scenic river valley, the commercial town of Brattleboro is not just a good spot for provisioning; it has a funky, slightly dated charm that's part 19th century, part 1960s. The rough brick texture of this compact, hilly city has aged nicely, its flavor enhanced since its adoption by ex-flower children, who moved here, grew up, cut their hair, and settled in, operating many of the best local enterprises."

  • Brattleboro (05301) Weather Conditions & Forecast
  • — How's the weather up there?

Community-building: education, information, & events
  • iBrattleboro
  • — A local, active, reader-written, citizen journalism site.

  • The Commons
  • — Windham County's independent source for news and views, produced with volunteer efforts of local writers, editors, photographers, artists and mentors, and the support of local advertisers. The vision and intent of Vermont Independent Media (VIM) is to counter the trend to ever-larger media consolidation and control over locally produced and owned community media.

  • Brattleboro Freecycle Network
  • — Freecycle is a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. The Brattleboro list typically sees between 100 - 200 postings per month.

  • Brooks Memorial Library
  • — Our local library. Use it!

Local enterprises and businesses that get it
  • Post Oil Solutions
  • — Their projects and initiatives include community education about peak oil and global warming; establishing community gardens; Eat Local campaigns; local currency; ride sharing; and more. The group meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month.

  • Renew Building Materials and Salvage
  • — ReNew is a non-profit, environmentally-driven store offering used, surplus, and salvaged building materials including doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, hardware, plumbing, electrical, lumber, appliances, and tools. Stock is derived from donations and deconstruction projects. They also offer an expanding selection of new green products and materials. Profits support other local initiatives and organizations.

  • BuildingGreen
  • — An independent company providing accurate, unbiased, timely, world-class information designed to help building-industry professionals and policy makers improve the environmental performance, and reduce the adverse impacts, of buildings. Print and electronic resources approach design and construction from a whole-systems perspective, promoting integrated design to minimize ecological impact and maximize economic performance.

  • Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center
  • — BEEC is a member-based, nonprofit organization founded to sustain an ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance the vitality of southern Vermont's bioregion. They carry out innovative community-based research and conservation programs for residents of all ages.

  • Everyone's Books
  • — A family-owned, independent bookstore specializing in books about social change, the environment, and multicultural children's books. Everyone's books provides a friendly, personal place where folks can shop, meet, rant about right-wing government, nurse a baby, or learn. They have a huge selection of bumper stickers, pins, T-shirts, and cards on issues from peace and justice to women's rights to the current sorry government. There's always a great selection of bargain and remaindered books.

  • Save the Corporations from Themselves
  • — A retail store and community meeting space, Save the Corporations offers earth conscious choices and environmentally positive products and services, including hemp clothing & accessories, organic unbleached cotton clothing, low impact personal care and household goods, sustainable school and office supplies, indigenous handmade crafts, and books, magazines, and cards Their upstairs space is devoted to community action, and provides free literature and resources on current environmental and social justice campaigns—including petitions, a community bulletin board, mailing campaigns, and pamphlets and flyers. The space is also available for readings or meetings for activist groups.

  • Brattleboro Food Co-op
  • — Begun in 1975 as a small buying club, the Co-op today is a community-owned, 16,000-square-foot supermarket for members and non-members alike.

  • Brattleboro Farmers' Market
  • — The Farmers' Market has over 50 vendors of agricultural products, crafts, exotic foods—homegrown, homecooked, handcrafted.

  • World Learning - International Education, Sustainable Development
  • — Promotes international and intercultural understanding, democracy, social justice, and economic development through education, training, and field projects in over 100 countries on five continents.

  • New England Coalition
  • — Since 1971, NEC has advocated for safe energy in New England, providing education and resources for alternatives to nuclear power.

State & Region
  • Yestermorrow Design/Build School
  • — One of the only design/build schools in the country, Yestermorrow offers over 100 hands-on courses every year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft. Their 1-day to 2-week programs are taught by architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country, and accommodate people of all ages and experience levels.

  • Vermont Green Building Network
  • — VGBN is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing Vermont's participation in green building and to promoting the environmental, financial, community, and health benefits of green design, construction, and building operation practices. Builders, designers, developers, policy makers, service providers, and other building industry professionals working together to improve building practices in Vermont.

  • Vermont Natural Resources Council
  • — VNRC is a statewide environmental organization protecting natural resources and the environment through research, education, and advocacy.

  • Efficiency Vermont
  • — The first statewide energy efficiency utility in the U.S., Efficiency Vermont helps Vermonters reduce energy costs by making their homes and businesses energy-efficient... providing technical assistance and financial incentives to help identify and pay for cost-effective approaches to energy-efficient building design, construction, renovation, equipment, lighting, and appliances.

  • Vermont Public Interest Research Group
  • — VPIRG is a member-supported watchdog and advocacy organization promoting and protecting the health of Vermont's environment, people, and locally-based economy.

  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
  • — NOFA Vermont, one of the oldest organic farming associations in the U.S., is a non-profit association of farmers, gardeners, and consumers working to promote an economically viable and ecologically sound Vermont food system for the benefit of current and future generations.

Join the BANG email list to receive >>>  
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photos by Mark Piepkorn
and Sarah Machtey