Category Archives: Environment

The Center’s Annual Meeting – Thursday, 11/16

Join us for What’s Next 2018 – The annual meeting of the The Center for Community Growth, Indiana PA, Each year we bring together members to help determine the organization’s direction for the next year.

Our mission continues to be to support individuals and organizations in advocating for social justice. This year was a big one for us – two Center built projects have a life of their own, and are creating real policy change in Indiana County. A third significantly reduces barriers to healthy, local produce for low-income residents of Indiana County. 

Your petition let to the creation of the Indiana County Sustainabe Economy Task Force – a government led body tasked with diversifying our region’s industry, and to identify and pursue opportunities in the expanding renuable energy field.

No kidding, that was your petition, right here in the middle of coal country.

Also, have you been to the Food Co-op of Indiana PA on Philly street – right in the middle of freaking town!?! It’s real, and this organization built the movement to give it power.

Lastly, your donations and long term support helped launch the Indiana County Farmers’ Market program, where customers on food assistance double their buying power at the Farmers’ Market.

What’s Next in 2018 is an opportunity for new leadership to focus the direction of the Center for Community Growth, an organization that has built progressive power in Indiana County.

We are recruiting board members to take us in to 2018. Please join us.

Gerald Smith
Co-Director, Center for Community Growth


Sustainability Campaign wins!

After a wildly successful Sustainability Summit organized largely by Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, and the League of Women Voters last month, the County Commissioners have responded to our requests for an institutional commitment to a new economy by establishing a Sustainability Task Force.

Why a task force? Jobs! Here’s how Commissioner Sherene Hess laid it out:

“A clean energy revolution is taking place across America, underscored by the steady expansion of the U.S. renewable energy sector,” Hess said. “The clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity, and is expected to continue to grow. … There is tremendous economic opportunity for the counties that invent, manufacture and export clean energy technologies. Renewable energy and sustainable agriculture can play an important role in rural economic development.”

We’re so excited that Commissioner Hess is following through on her pledge to put real resources to building a new energy economy.  Center member, Tina Purdue lays out what the Task Force will do:

…the task force will identify and promote sustainable economic initiatives that diversify the county’s economic base by attracting businesses and jobs in the renewable energy sector; that reduce costs for government, agriculture, business and private individuals; and that protect and restore the county’s natural resources.

Tina Purdue lays out the agenda at the Sustainability Summit

Perdue said that to achieve those goals, the organizers are recommending that the task force develop an action plan with short- and long-term goals in three categories — economic development, education and job training. The goals may include investigating ways to bring jobs in the renewable energy field into the county; identifying the needs of potential employers in the renewable energy field in order to expand or relocate in the county; identifying and supporting green energy entrepreneurs; planning educational programs to build awareness of sustainable energy opportunities for employment; identifying sustainable practices that will work in the county to contain costs and improve the management of natural resources; educating stakeholders in agriculture, business and government about sustainable practices that will cut costs; identifying current job training at local facilities that promote green technology jobs; and proposing partnerships with local educational institutions to train or retrain people for jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Read all about it here! Great work!!

Thrive Sustainability Summit – April 21

The Center is proud to announce the Thrive Sustainability Summit, Friday April 21, in collaboration with the League of Women Voters, Evergreen Conservancy, and the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development!

Why should YOU attend? The sustainable economy is no longer a pipedream!  According to the latest research, there are more than 3 million clean energy jobs in the US – and many more are projected.

Clean vehicles, grid development, energy efficiency, and battery storage are among the fastest growing industries in the country. And in Pennsylvania, renewable energy jobs are growing faster than jobs in fossil fuel. The numbers are even better if you include sustainable agriculture and other clean economy sectors.

Given these exciting developments, you may be asking yourself . . . What can we do to attract economic development to our rural counties and towns? Can we guarantee good jobs and healthy communities in the new sustainable economy? How can we use existing assets to ensure that our communities can once again thrive?

To help answer these questions, you are invited to the THRIVE: Sustainable Economy Summit.     At the Summit, you will learn from local and national experts about:

  • various types of renewable energy and related infrastructure, including regional initiatives by clean energy companies;
  • the economic potential of sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism, and energy efficiency; and
  • the emerging field of green chemistry and its potential to transform manufacturing.

Capacity-building sessions will provide tools to measure the economic benefits of sustainable development, as well as strategies for marketing those benefits. We want to help you to attract funding and new businesses to your community.

The THRIVE Summit is specifically designed for municipal officials and staff of local and county governments in rural Southwestern PA. Community members and students who want to become involved by serving on community boards and task forces are also welcome.

Your help is needed. Let’s join together to build thriving communities in the new, sustainable economy!


Final 2016 Film Features Hellbenders!

This week the Center rounds out the 2016 Film Series: Getting Local, and we get SUPER local! If you’ve been following us, you’ll recognize the East Run HellBenders Society, a group of community activists in Grant Township, Indiana County so powerful they legalized civil disobedience.

These brave folks are featured in the lastest from IUP alum Melissa Troutman, and her production company Public Herald Films. This team of investigative journalists last brought us Triple Divide – which documented fracking across the Pennsylyvania

Their new film picks up locally, called Invisible Hand.

“Free market forces have recently manifested as ‘fracking’ in Pennsylvania – a high risk method to extract natural gas – that state and federal governments support. But communities hell bent on protecting their rights are fighting back against state and corporate take over – some with success.

So what does it take to defeat a billion-dollar corporation with more rights than you? INVISIBLE HAND tells the story of people figuring out how. One method is by bringing about the Rights of Nature.”

The film documents the stories of Grant Township, and others who pushed back against the weight of big monied gas companies to protect their community. Indiana County is among the epicenters of a movement to reclaim our local authority from the unholy alliance between big gas and our state government. Join us to see how you can help!

Thanks to the IUP Sustainability Studies Program for co-sponsoring.


See you there!

invisible-hand-flier-v2-docxDoors open- 6:00
Director Comments – 6:30
Film – 7:00

3/27 Power Of One Voice – Featuring the film-maker!

Great news! Not only are we very excited about our upcoming screening of “The Power Of One Voice,” on 3/27, but we have also confirmed the film-maker, geneticist, and Rachel Carson expert, Dr. Patricia DeMarco as our Keynote speaker!

The Power of One Voice  chronicles the life of Rachel Carson, and her transformative work, Silent Spring. It is no exaggeration to say that without this one woman, we would not have the environmental movement we have today.

Come join us as we move from Awareness to Action!

Friday, 3/27

6:00 Doors Open

6:30 Keynote Speaker

7:00 Film followed by Q&A with the film-maker.

Please join us!