The Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (MVEDD), in partnership with a local seamstress, Lisa Smith,  the Kirkland Town Library and Grow Amsterdam NY, has been awarded grant monies from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) to host a series of educational community “Homesteader Workshops”. Through funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), NYSP2I has selected 12 projects across NYS focusing on community-based pollution prevention strategies.

MVEDD’s mission is to promote economic growth and community resiliency within the Mohawk Valley. MVEDD will continue supporting local businesses through sustainable development that emphasizes job growth, enhances quality of life, and increases regional viability.

The term homesteading is defined as a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, including subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and small craft-like trades such as textile working and making common household items within the home. The epitome of homesteading is sustainability and reducing waste as a way of life. There are many homesteader practices that used to be the norm, and have in recent decades fallen out of practice. These include simple repair of clothing, saving seeds and growing food at home, composting food waste materials, and using common, simple ingredients to make household cleaning products. These skills are integral to sustainability and pollution prevention at home. Teaching residents these skills can help to foster more sustainable communities by empowering a network of people in those communities to “do it themselves” – together.

MVEDD would like to announce our first homesteading workshop, called “In the House,” which will take place on April 9, 2024, from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church at 90 Morgan Street, Ilion, NY. You can register here, or by visiting our website www.mvedd.org.  

This free workshop will include a sewing demonstration to teach simple repair techniques (sewing on buttons, mending rips) to reduce textile waste. There will also be a demonstration on making homemade household cleaners without toxins found in many commercial brands. A short presentation will be provided to educate attendees on energy conservation and efficiency programs in NYS that can lower utility bills and reduce energy wastage.

“Many of the household skills that used to be common, and even necessary to daily life, have faded away to modern technology and quick commercialized fixes,” says Samantha Francisco, Clean Energy Specialist for MVEDD. “Less than half of Americans report knowing how to sew on a button, and this loss of skills can often create more household waste, particularly with textiles. We hope that these workshops encourage our communities to be more resilient and less wasteful,” she continued. 

MVEDD is involved in many community based projects across the Mohawk Valley, and has long prioritized pollution prevention through various committees, such as the Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) and Mohawk Valley Farm and Agribusiness Network (MVFAN) initiatives. These workshops, when completed, will be replicable and MVEDD will share the workshop materials with any interested community organization looking to host one of their own.

Reducing pollution at home can be achieved with a few simple behavioral changes, and often, more sustainable practices end up saving both money and energy at once. “MVEDD is looking forward to our first workshop, and hope it provides a fun way to get community members together to promote sustainable living,´ says Heather Devitt, Deputy Director of MVEDD. “We will be announcing another workshop soon, which will take place later in the Spring and will cover another household sustainability topic,” she concluded. 

Please check our website at mvedd.org for announcements and registration links (when available) regarding these events. Or scan this QR code to register for our In the House workshop on April 9, 2024: