What do we need that can't be made in another country?

Convener: Lynne Bonnett, Session I, attendees: Jen, Tony, Shula, Drew, Fred, Ben, Ethan, Sara
email for convener: lybonnett@gmail.com

I: It is important to consider growing jobs based on what we need (we also considered what those things might be) with a focus on opportunities for local business development in the form of cottage industry and consideration of broader issues of the need for manufacturing. As transportation costs grow goods may become more expensive and without local production we will pay more for our standard of living. We have also lost jobs because of globalization and job exportation; there must be businesses that will meet our needs that are not easily exportable.

II: Our needs center around food and shelter.
A: The foods we eat influence our health and well being. Many people live on prepared food that is quick to fix but not nutrionally balanced.
Local business opportunity: offer to shop, cook, prepare a nutritious meal based upon local food production for people that request it based on trust of the people involved in the same way that one would hire a babysitter to take care of their children for a night out.
Start a cooking school focusing on local food, nutritious eating, food shopping and preparation.
Currently there are businesses that offer coaching, personal fitness training, exercise physiology that could expand to include a focus on health and wellness through food`preparation.

B: shelter
heating/cooling issues, weatherization
local business opportunity: investment in capital equipment and network of workers could do energy audits ($5000 for heat images; $10000 for blower fans to assess leakiness) and provide information to help homeowners make good decisions to make their home use resources more efficiently.
Insulating materials: ceramic paint, new or old technologies, cob buildings. Old homes in New Haven are definitely a challenge to make more energy efficient; any business that could figure ways to do this for a reasonable cost are greatly needed.
Water use: technologies exist for cleaning storm runoff in order to reuse it for home vegetable gardening.
Building demolition: disassemble buildings in order to save materials for reuse instead of demolishing them; Urban Miners and Reclamation on Grand Ave support this idea. There is a good supply of old buildings.
Custom window covers that insulate in summer and winter save money on heating/cooling; do not require special hardware to put up; could be made locally (measured and manufactured locally) as a cottage industry.

C: Surplus materials:
Urban leaves: currently New Haven sends its leaves to West Haven for composting. The city supports a new initiative to plant new trees. We need to compost our own leaves and make the compost available to residents for use- residents now have to purchase our composted leaves from West Haven.
Urban gardening: Gardeners need to be able to test their soil for toxins. Currently residents have to send their samples to the University of CT in Storrs for a fee. We need a local business that can test our soil, tell us what the levels of toxins are and what would those levels mean for growing our own vegetables. People need information about how best to deal with toxins found in their soil samples.
Pragmites: anyone know what to do with these?
Intellectual waste: Workers in Germany contribute to corporate decision making but not here.

D Local manufacturing and or cottage industry.
making pickles canned in glass containers (avoid BPA toxins from cans and plastic).
Sustainable harvest in water authority property converted to crafts, furniture, other?
Could car generators be refurbished to be used for renewable energy?
We may not be able to get things in the future due to globalization and some things are too big and heavy to be made in other countries such as sewer covers.

ACTION ITEMS: Fred asks if we should make this a new group. Our focus was on thinking of cottage industries that we could do now with little capital investment. Would people be interested in trying to start new businesses based on some of these ideas? Drew mentioned that he currently works in personal training and would like to expand into the health and wellness arena through healthy eating. Tony is currently exploring home weatherization/energy audit on a personal level but has not yet decided about whether to offer it as a business. Jen has education in chemistry, is definitely interested in a business that would help a local person get started in healthy eating through gardening. Future action to be determined. Lynne has made window coverings that insulate in summer and winter and really help keep the temperature moderate inside.

List of contacts relevant to the above. To be determined.

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