At Wildside Cottage & Gardens we seek to offer a can-do grass roots approach to Earth's uncertain future. We are a demonstration site and an open teaching platform, and we are active stewards of the land. We explore practical ways, old and new, to achieve greater food and energy security for ourselves and our communities over the long run, within a diverse and thriving natural environment.
All are welcome.
Now in our sixth year, we've become a destination for young people, professional teachers and classes at all levels, architects and builders, garden clubs and the general public, about 300 a year in all. Visitors arrange a time and come, free of charge, year-round. A guided tour of the cottage and gardens takes about two hours.
We feel we've done our job when visitors leave Wildside resolved to act: to build, to retrofit, to insulate, to go solar, to plant, to store, to renew, to gather family, friends and neighbors and divide up the tasks and the learning assignments. To plan and help others plan for energy efficiency and food security, to go deeper in the quest for underlying connections in the natural world. To develop a vision beyond Wildside of the kind of broad, practical, information-swapping, resource-sharing consciously green communities we can -- we must -- learn to create.
A can-do approach has ripple effects throughout a community -- as it should! Clearly, come what may, no one household can expect to enjoy food and energy security on its own -- and there will be as many ways as there are communities, of organizing cooperation among neighbors, friends, gardeners, farmers, teachers, knowledgeable mechanics and builders.
For energy security: Here, we have helped bring our local Select Board and Community Action together to provide generous funding ($60,000 a year for three years) and important information about what utilities offer, to make winterizing local homes affordable for people of all income levels. In coming years we will offer workshops on solar energy technology and where to find subsidies for financing 'green' energy.
For food security: : We are currently working with the food pantry in the next town, which has served our town well for many decades. We are organizing an 'Extra Row Club' of local gardeners who plant a row of food crops for the food pantry. Wildside's surplus yields are also donated. And following Wildside's example several local households will be trying out rice culture, with guidance from a neighbor who has been quietly growing rice in our town for thirty-five years.
For generations to follow:: We are pleased to be providing an outdoor teaching platform for grade school classes from the nearby Hawlemont School, a public school developing innovative approaches to basic subjects through the study of nature and agriculture.
Since 2012, Wildside has been able to hire a part-time intern to help through the busiest months of the farm and garden year. Summer interns are key to our achieving our goals, broadly understood: yes, they help hands-on, and yes, they bring their own prior experiences and important questions to the work we do. Just as importantly, they take the knowledge and insights gained at Wildside back out into the world as young people even better equipped to work for the common good.
Wildside is now accepting inquiries for the intern position for 2015.