Where You Live: Norwood, Mass.

By Susan Clare

Nov. 14, 2011

BOSTON — Our nonprofit, Together Yes, launched this year, is dedicated to sustainability and community building in Norwood. Our grassroots efforts are aimed at getting "small and local." We are becoming a presence in Norwood, and wish to see the town viable and sustainable for all residents and businesses.

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I see disparity in our incomes that means some of us are able to live comfortably while others struggle. I also see Norwood having difficulty competing with big business nearby (on Route 1, particularly). I wish for Norwood residents to pull together to see that all of our basic needs are met, and to support local and small businesses located in Norwood. I have become convinced, through wide study, that "small and local" is how we can best weather upcoming climate change and economic upheaval. Norwood is a very good-hearted town, and should be able to accomplish this with less difficulty than some communities.
Additionally, I have long been concerned about global warming. Again through much study, I have concluded that issues of sustainability are interconnected, and we must address all if we're to solve even one of them. Economics/finances, social matters, health, environment — they affect one another. So, our organization addresses sustainable practices on all of these.
My notion, when starting Together Yes, was to establish a sense of community, so we could work together on these issues of sustainability. That plays out in small-group and neighborhood initiatives, as well as town-wide activities. Currently underway are projects involving teaching people how to alter, mend and repurpose clothing rather than buying new. Doing this means that those who can't afford to buy new will be able to dress well, and those who can buy new will reconsider before purchasing clothing made at great expense to our fossil fuel reserve and our environment; it will also mean that fewer of our dollars are being outsourced to nearly slave labor in other countries. Together Yes has already found some experts willing to teach workshops, and plans are being made to find sewing machines and notions for those who can't afford them.
The other project involves preserving food, so we can eat inexpensively and in season. Think pumpkin pie in summer and homemade pasta sauce in the dead of winter, with no additives and loads of nutrition. If we work together, helping provide canning expertise and supplies where necessary, more Norwood residents will be able to buy produce in season when it's affordable and "put it up" for the winter. This is especially helpful in New England where our growing season is so short. Here, too, this project bears influence on far more than just getting by for our residents. Our food won't be produced in other countries minus stringent controls about pesticides used, and it won't be traveling internationally to our tables, wasting fossil fuels and contributing to global warming. In tandem with this project, we are planning to start up at least one community organic vegetable garden this spring. Together Yes members will raise the start-up money, locate the land and find experts to give guidance.
You see, we have a lot on our plate, having decided to save the world, beginning with Norwood. Said with a smile, of course. One person, one organization, one town can't pull all that off. But unless we try, we have to answer to ourselves and our descendants, as well as the people in developing nations who suffer greatly at the hands of our gross domestic product mandate.
You can see I am passionate about what we are trying to do here.  
Susan Clare is a grandmother, retired teacher and president of Together Yes. You can reach her at sustain@tgryes.org.

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The new Norwood, Mass. organization Together Yes focuses on creating sustainability and community close to home.

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