The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE) was founded on Earth Day, April 2013 by Shawn Kane, Zizi Vlaun, Scott Vlaun, and Seal Rossignol, residents of the Western Maine foothills. We had been brainstorming for several years about how to best help our community transition to greater sustainability and resilience in light of climate change, environmental degradation, economic instability, and resource depletion. We finally decided to pool our collective skills in green building, product design, permaculture, photography, graphic design and curriculum development to collaborate with other like-minded organizations in the Western Maine region.
As CEBE, we have chosen to focus on food, shelter, transportation, and energy as essential, perennial needs of a community. This campaign will help fund four inaugural projects at the hub of our community in Norway, Maine. The projects include:
• SOLAR POWER STATION: Working with the Alan Day Community Garden to fund and build a solar photovoltaic power station to pump irrigation water, light the barn, and run power tools;
• EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY KITCHEN: Partnering with the Fare Share Coop, our local food hub, to help renovate their commercial kitchen to better support community food events and education;
• MAPLE SUGAR HOUSE FOR LOCAL STUDENTS: Facilitating the design and construction of a timber-framed sugar house for the Western Foothills Land Trust at the Roberts Farm Preserve for local school students to learn about sustainable building practices and the process of maple sugaring;
• COMMUNITY BIKE RACKS & BIKE LIBRARY: Collaborating with Healthy Oxford Hills' Active Community Environments to place community bike racks on our streets and create a community bike-lending program.
These four kick-off projects are valuable because they each focus on using and promoting sustainable local resources, both in materials and skills (solar power, local timber, food from local farms, community infrastructure), and less use of petroleum-based transportation.
Contributing to our campaign will also help keep our doors open on Main Street for community meeting and organizing. This will allow us to continue to engage the community and begin mapping needs and opportunities, and collaborate more effectively with partnering organizations.
As our community comes together to address these critical issues, CEBE plans to develop a replicable model that other small communities could use to accomplish initiatives in the areas of food, shelter, energy and transport, allowing them to become more resilient and sustainable as well.
We are working to get the word out about CEBE and what we have to offer. We have distributed hundreds of brochures and have presented our vision and mission to various local groups. Currently, we are members of a local food collaborative to develop a distribution program for locally-farmed foods, while also assisting in the development and implementation of a regional student-centered leadership program focused on food system work. We continue to raise community awareness by hosting workshops, book discussions and public forums and are researching the creation of a local Time Bank, Micro-Financing, and hosting a Skills Share events.
To promote our long-term goal of a locally-based, inter-reliant, and sustainable economy, we are currently in the planning and development stage of creating a Maker Space for Western Maine—a space where innovators and entrepreneurs can access the tools and resources they need to develop and market products utilizing appropriate technologies to address local needs.
Any amount you can give to help support CEBE will be deeply appreciated and take the Western Maine Foothills one step closer to creating an economy based on local and renewable resources and the creativity and ingenuity of our communities. Please visit our website ecologybasedeconomy.org or visit our Facebook page to find other ways you can help and become involved.