The Northern Forest Center has awarded Turning Page Farm a second Tourism Innovation Program (TIP) grant to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions at its brewery and goat farm in Monson, Maine.

Joy wih goatThe new funding supports installation of a 13-kilowatt solar system to provide all the energy needed for Turning Page Farm’s brewery, cheese making room, tasting room, farm store, and goat milking area. In 2019 the Center awarded the farm a TIP grant that enabled the owners to expand brewing capacity, add a food cart offering, and extend their visitation season with a passive solar greenhouse tasting room. With those improvements completed, Turning Page Farm was ready to move ahead with phase two of its plan.

“As the business has grown quickly, and without the proper energy infrastructure, the costs of running refrigerators, heaters, and freezing was crippling,” said Joy Bueschen who owns Turning Page Farm with her husband Tim. “If we can't afford to keep the lights on, literally, we can't make the business model work.”

getNEKed web clipIn support of the recreation, food and creative businesses of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (NEK), the Center supports and administers the getNEKedVT regional discovery campaign. The website and marketing campaign connects residents and visitors with the region’s amenities and supports businesses that are dependent on visitors.

Covid-19 has inspired the campaign to develop some creative new ways to connect with its audiences to keep the NEK in their minds as a destination for future adventures when it's safe for travel to resume.

The Center is supporting the region’s wood product manufacturers as they contend with the business impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. Dave Redmond, director of wood product programs for the Center, is using his experience in banking and manufacturing to provide 1:1 support to companies.

Dave Redmond crpHe’s helping companies, particularly in Vermont, to navigate the multiple government financial programs available to assist businesses, and advising them on reopening their business in compliance with state guidelines. “This industry-wide shutdown is unprecedented,” said Redmond. “The impacts are huge on individual companies, of course, but also on the entire supply chain. They’ve not only had to cease production, but they’re facing very uncertain market demand when they’re able to reopen.”

The Lancaster Rotary Club and the Northern Forest Center have teamed up to ensure that all students at White Mountains Regional High School (WMRHS) and Groveton High School can access the internet to fully participate in the distance learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

190606 NFC LancasterSchoolWalk 002 DSC09171 crpd smallThe Center donated $2,500 to the Lancaster Rotary Club to purchase mobile hotspots with prepaid data plans for students who lacked the internet access they needed, either because broadband internet is unavailable at their homes, or due to data limitations. “This should be enough data for them to use Google Classroom, watch assigned videos, email teachers and peers, maybe do a 10-minute hang-out for discussions,” said Rob Scott, WMRHS’s Career and Technical Education Director, who began distributing the hotspots and helping to set them up April 17.

WMRHS surveyed families by phone to see how many students would need a better digital connection to do their schoolwork and initially found 12 that needed help. As of April 28, Scott had delivered 12 data hotspots to WMRHS students, provided 10 devices to Groveton High School for students in SAU 58, and had 2 devices remaining.