By: Amira Mintz-Morgenthau
On Thursday, June 23 my team and I went to the Marion Institute, an 8 mile ride from our New Bedford home. We took a our very first bike path route of the summer! It went through Fairhaven, the town between New Bedford and Marion. It was very scenic and it was a nice change to be among nature (and of course no cars)!
The Marion Institute, as it says on their website was “Founded in 1993, [and] is a member based non-profit that acts as an incubator for a diverse array of programs and projects that delve into the root cause of an issue and seeks to create deep and positive change. [They] work with individuals, schools and communities to inspire change in the areas of health and healing, sustainability, green economics, environmental education, spirituality and much more.”
We met Glenn Oliveira, the membership and events director at the Marion Institute at “How on Earth,” a California-like grocery/cafe, which sells only local food from the greater New England area and has exotic soups like African apricot puree. Although we brought our own lunch because we are on such a tight budget, Glenn was nice enough to buy us some tasty snacks- artichoke dip, ginger cookies, and ginger yogurt! Because “How on Earth” is connected to the Marion Institute, we were able to meet the owner and everyone on staff. Glenn told us about the inspiring programs that he has helped to put together. One of the institute’s main programs that directly relates to Climate Summer is the Bioneers conference. The conference has taken place for the past 3 years in New Bedford. Children to adults come to this 3-day conference, which Glenn described to us as a “solutions based gathering”. Bioneers attendees attend workshops about health and healing, green business, indigenous knowledge, environmental and social justice, women and youth empowerment, spirituality and sustainability, all working to catalyze a movement to heal our world.
Glenn was extremely interested in what we were doing and what we had done in New Beford. The group also had an intense conversation with him about the future of renewable energy and sustainable practices in New Bedford and the surrounding areas. We talked about Cape Wind, which is a huge project that is going on right now to install wind turbines along Cape Cod. New Bedford is a staging port for the project, meaning the city would be the a manufacturing site for the wind turbines- exciting!!
After “How on Earth,” we met Gleen at the Marion Institute. Because we didn’t have a lot of time, Glenn gave us a quick tour of the building He showed us the really fantastic garden that he and the other employees help out in. There was such a variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables—including Asian pears- my favorite!!! The landscapers specifically added different microclimates to the garden, to produce a variety of produce.
Glenn explained to us that the building that they use was especially designed for their use and is very sustainable. They mainly use natural sunlight, instead of turning on lights, non-VOC paint, and double pained windows.
To top it all off, Glenn gave us free t-shirts from the Bioneers conference last year. Even though its more weight to carry on our bikes, the t-shirts are fabulous, so it’s worth it. Now our team can match even more!