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February 2016 - In This Issue:
Upcoming Events

March 1 - Vote!
MA Presidential Primary

March 8 . 8:30am-2:00pm
Local Specialty Crop & Local Food Trade Shows
@ Northeastern University

March 24 . 6:30-8:30pm
Social Media Basics for Small and Local Business
Presented by SBN & Teak Media
@ SBN Boardroom

May 13 . 6:00-8:00pm
Garden Mixology
Presented by SBN & Trustees
Featuring Astraluna, OurCookQuest & Powell & Mahoney
@ St Rose St Garden, JP

Check out our Event Calendar for more information and tickets!
Dear Members and Friends,


Happy Leap Day! I love Leap Day, it's like we get an extra bonus day to be alive! As a business person it's another day to generate revenue and another way to increase my staffs pay for the year.     

The year 2016 has been fantastic for SBN!  We've had two very successful and educational B2B's, the Local Food Trade Shows continue to grow in numbers and impact, and SBN partnered with CABA to participate in a highly effective Solar Day at the state house where members and allies shared our concerns and our support for the solar energy industry.  

On top of all of this, our membership is growing in leaps and bounds--a big leap forward for sure!  :-) Since January 1, 2016 eighteen businesses have joined SBN.This is reflective of SBN's increased value proposition and our new focus on growing membership.   

If you are an SBN member please encourage your friends and associates to join SBN and if you're not a member, please consider joining today. Not only does SBN provide extraordinary opportunities for networking and education, but the work we do improves our community, protects our planet, and grows our local economy. The larger SBN's membership, the larger the impact our collective work will have!  


Sustainably yours,


Laury Hammel
SBN Executive Director

Small businesses often find themselves struggling to navigate the various forms of social media. This B2B will be tailored to the attendees to answer your questions about which tools to use and how to leverage them to their advantage. 

Presenter:
Katie Stinchon - Teak Media + Communication

About Teak Media + Communication:
New England's only B Corp-certified public relations firm, Teak Media + Communication has a singular goal: to help socially responsible companies and nonprofit organizations achieve widespread recognition and increase their revenue. Former reporters using a proprietary journalistic process, we work closely with each client to develop campaigns that intrigue the media, draw attention to good work, and inspire others. And, we've been doing so successfully for more than 18 years.

Light refreshments will be served, Register Now, space is limited!
Local Specialty Crop & Local Food Trade Shows
on Tuesday, March 8!
The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) is offering our 5th Local Food Trade Shows. The 2016 Local Food Trade Shows are designed to facilitate connections and stimulate business relationships between producers and wholesale buyers of local food, with a focus on specialty crop food products in Massachusetts.

This event is ideal for restaurants and institutional buyers interested in trading with local food suppliers and who desire to buy more locally produced products from growers, fishermen, and value added producers from Massachusetts and New England.

>>Register Now!<< (Vendor Registration Sold Out!)
Buyers & Attendees --> Register Here
Volunteer --> Register Here

Click HERE for a list of 2016 Trade Show Exhibitors and Attendees!

Who should attend?
Any wholesale buyers, who are interested in purchasing Massachusetts or New England-produced food items. These buyers can be supermarkets, co-ops, restaurants, hotels, institutions, schools, food processors in search of ingredients, distributors, or anyone else interested in local purchasing options.*This event is intended for commercial buyers, not individual consumers.*
SBN Membership Drive in Full Swing!
SBN is just over half way through our Membership Drive and as you can see below, our network is growing! There's still time to join! 

Do you want to expand the positive impact your business has on our community? Do you want to learn from like-minded business leaders on how to do well and do good?  We invite you to join the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN). For 28 years, SBN has been raising the bar for how caring and passionate entrepreneurs can contribute to our economy.

SBN is embarking on a major campaign to bring all of the terrific sustainable businesses in Massachusetts together so we can enhance and expand our network and our impact!  Now is the time to build a thriving network of businesses dedicated to growing a local, green & fair economy!

You can join online right now by clicking this link.

Together we can make a more just and sustainable planet and we invite you to join our sustainable business movement and have some fun doing it!

New Member Benefits:
  • Join a network that is transforming the world
  • Learn from business leaders & share Best Practices
  • Discounted Rates for SBN Events including:
    • Vendor Fees for the Boston Local Food Festival
    • Vendor Fees & Admission to the Local Food Trade Shows
    • Admission to the Sustainability Leadership Summit
    • B2B Networking Events & more!
  • Visibility on SBN Website, Social Media & Newsletters
  • Listing on DoneGood App
  • Discover Best Practices for Sustainable Business
  • One Complimentary B2B Upon Joining
  • Help SBN Grow and Help Change our World - a Special Bonus!
  • When you refer a business who becomes a new SBN member, you will receive a $100 SBN Program Credit.
Act now and don't delay!

Welcome to the Newest Members of our Growing Network! 

For over ninety years,  Morgan, Brown & Joy  had been one of the preemin ent employment and labor law firms representing management in the United States.  Over the past twenty-five years, they have enhanced their reputation in the field of employment and labor law. With the changing economy, it now counts among its clients some of the largest corporations in America and in many sections of the changing economy.

South Mountain Company is an employee-owned company 
offering integrated architecture, engineering, building, interiors, woodworking and energy services to residential, commercial and institutional clients. They offer great design, high performance building and superb craft - all rolled into one! They combine youthful exuberance with diverse expertise and four decades of experience.

Balin by Design  provides digital strategy, information architecture, platform evaluation and project management services for institutions ready to transform their online web and community presence. Clients include healthcare and educational technology organization. 


Biggest Little Popcorn Company creates English Butter Toffee Baked PopCorn is air popped and baked in a process that sets them apart. The popcorn is light, crunchy and tender and cooked and baked in small batches in their Warren, Rhode Island. Using only the finest ingredients; sweet cream butter, pure cane sugar, non-GMO PopCorn, the best oils and spices to achieve what they believe is the world's best PopCorn. Try it for yourself and learn more on their website!


BlueSel Home Solar has a history of experience and quality. They have installed hundreds of Massachusetts solar energy systems for very satisfied customers. BlueSel is locally owned, a Master Dealer and provide their customers with all of the information they need to make an informed decision about going solar. 

More and more of us want to support businesses doing good for people and the planet. The DoneGood app makes that possible! With the DoneGood app you can easily find businesses in Boston that share your values. Members of SBN are automatically listed in the app! Available for both Apple and Android devices, download it for free in the app store! 



 
Dottie's Delights is home to artisan, classic and imported sweets online and in Massachusetts. Visit their website and peruse their selection of caramels, fudge, meringues, gourmet apples and cookies. Find the perfect gift for events, special occasions or just because and consider them for your next corporate or wholesale order!



Essentially Coconut is like a vacation in a jar! Slowly and carefully crafted in small batches, we never add anything extra, unnecessary, or artificial. Just tender coconut meat pureed to silky, smooth perfection. Except when they throw in a handful of nuts. Try one of their unique blends of sweet almond, creamy cashew and honey pecan.


Hosta Hill makes small batches of lacto-fermented vegetables and fresh-frozen  unpasteurized tempeh here in the Berkshires since 2011. Fro m the start, they've used  local ingredients, working closely with nearby organic farms to source what they can't grow themselves. They're proud to be part of the vibrant local food scene in Western Massachusetts, where their foods are available at cafes, restaurants and wellness centers as well
as at farm stands and independent grocery stores from the Berkshires to Boston.

Lotus Media Management helps you establish a presence, a community and a voice in the social media world. With years in the travel industry, experience in online marketing, travel writing, social media and business management, Lotus Media Management will help you reach and captivate clients. Look to them to leverage the power of online and social media by expanding your business to reach the consumers who will benefit most from your brand.

Mark's Moving & Storage is made up of a team of professionals that have been growing the company for almost 30 years. Named as one of the top moving companies in the Northeast. Mark's offers both local and long distance moving, office, warehouse moving, portable storage containers and more! Visit their website and consider them for your next move. 

MOJO cold brewed coffees are uniquely flavorful, potent and magical. Produce d us ing locally roasted fair-trade arabica coffee beans, a traditional New Orleans cold brewing method and a  beloved recipe, their prepared coffee drink is completely unique. Visit the website to see where you can try some for yourself! 


Ozioli's Italian Cookie Company  creates delicious Italian cookies using an authentic Italian recipe handed down from their grandmother and using the finest, freshest ingredients. Try their Italian Almond, Italian Anisette, Italian Pizette and Italian Lemon. Treat yourself and your family and you'll keep coming back for more! Their cookies are available on their online shop and can be shipped directly to your home!

  Recreo Estate Coffee is dedicated to bringing premium Nicaraguan coffee while practicing social and environmental stewardship. They have been a family farm for over 40 years producing single origin and sustainable coffee. They are a Rainforest Alliance certified business and now one of SBN's newest members!

Renewing Members

Boston Building Resources inspires, educates, and empowers homeowners to increase the efficiency and value of their homes. As a local social enterprise, they focus on affordable solutions that help all of our neighbors create stronger communities while benefiting the environment. 



Cambridge Eats & Beats is an independent, family-owned collection of three restaurants and two live music clubs between Harvard and Porter Squares in Cambridge including Christopher's, Cambridge Common, West Side Lounge, Toad, and Lizard Lounge. We're excited to welcome them back to the SBN community!

Costa has been servicing the foodservice industry for more than sixty years offering a complete line of fresh products including fresh fruit and produce, fresh seafood and dairy and value added fruits, vegetables, and prepared salads. In addition, over 3,500 grocery items are part of their product mix. 


Effie's Homemade was inspired by a family recipe for oatcakes. Founders Joan MacIssac and Irene Costello realized the uniqueness of oatcakes in its honest and simple flavors. All of their products are based upon this premise as they work to rekindle old-fashioned and forgotten recipes.  

Fancypants Baking Company began in 2004 in a small, cramped Boston apartment. Founder Maura was bored and her job and spent a lot of time daydreaming about doing something else. She started baking and was hooked. Co-founder Justin was happily teaching elementary school; but he was a foodie at heart, and couldn't resist the fun of building a cookie business! Watch their story here. 


Interise  is an award-winning nonprofit organization that helps existing small business owners develop their companies. The e ntrepreneurs who work with them have the potential for growth; Interise helps them get to the next level. Through their StreetWise 'MBA'™, they give a diverse group of entrepreneurs an opportunity to hone their management skills and make the right connections-because when small business thrives, communities benefit.
Tickets on Sale for Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest!
SBN is excited to announce our 6th Annual Local Craft Brewfest on June 10 and 11 at Arts at the Armory in Somerville. Tickets are available now!

Choose from 3 sessions:
Friday, June 10, 2016, 6:30 - 9:30pm (plus Cask-conditioned beers from selected brewers)
Saturday, June 11, 2016, 3:00 - 6:00pm
Saturday, June 11, 2016, 7:00 - 10:00pm

Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest is an annual tasting fundraiser presented by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) that highlights and promotes local brewers of beer, newly established breweries, cider & mead, artisan beverage makers, and local food vendors.

The Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest is a unique event that not only showcases local beverage producers, but also showcases local brews incorporating local ingredients. SBN's definition of local starts in Massachusetts and encompasses all of New England. Hyper-Local means local producers (from New England) making products with ingredients from New England. Examples in the past have included brews made with local hops, apples, cranberries, grapes and even local oysters. While having unlimited 2oz tastings from local brewers, you can also sample and purchase delicious local food from local food vendors.

Join us on Friday night for Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest with a special Beer on Cask Tasting "conditioned" by Randy Baril, Head Cellarman of NERAX (the New England Real Ale eXhibition). Try unfiltered, unpasteurized beer with no nitrogen or carbon dioxide added. Compare with the commercial version and tell us which one you love! The Showcase, also featuring a series of 'Brew Chats' with up and coming local brewers, will open dialogues between craft brewers and local craft brew fans. Additionally, attendees will get the chance to interact with other aspiring beer fans, hear from experts, and taste a selection of the brews that will be showcased during the Saturday Sessions. In doubt? Attend both days!

What's included with admission? 
Unlimited tastings from our participating brewers, craft brewers, cideries, meaderies, artisan beverage vendors + Unlimited samples from participating local food vendors, serving size food for sale + Live music and entertainment + Festival Guide with listing of all vendors + Compostable tasting cup + Supporting the local food movement by raising much needed funds for the Boston Local Food Program
Voice your Support for Solar Energy!
On Friday, Feb 5 th  the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced that the SREC-II program has been fully subscribed having received an influx of applications. The Solar Carve-Out II (SREC-II) program is a market-based incentive to support residential, commercial, public, and non-profit entities in developing new solar photovoltaic installations across the Commonwealth.

While those customers who already receive SRECs remain eligible, due to the rapid influx of applications the DOER received, the potential exists that customers who have made decisions to invest in solar energy systems, could be left without access to the state's SREC-II incentive. In short, the Commonwealth is currently left without a viable program for investing in solar energy until the next program is designed and rolled out, which could take a year.
 
Net Metering is Being Threatened
Meanwhile, for the past seven months, our representatives continue to "evaluate" extension of net metering caps; preventing hundreds of towns, schools and businesses from going solar as they are unable to receive a fair rate for the excess energy  produced from their solar array, and  thus recoup the full value of their clean energy investment.
 
Late last year, both the Senate (S-2058) and the House (H-3854) passed legislation with varying approaches to the long-term future of the state's solar programs. L egislators have failed to reach an agreement on the two bills, leaving the solar industry's over 15,000 employees and thousands of stakeholders' futures at stake.  
 
We need your HELP!
While severe restrictions on two of the key incentives for solar is far from good news, we remain optimistic. We are hopeful that an attractive "SREC-III" program will materialize quickly, but the solar industry and its customers do not have the leisure of waiting several months or longer for new solar policy to formalize.
 
Affect change through two key actions:
 
1) Sign the open letter to voice your support for solar energy  (click here to access letter) . The letter is drafted from customer perspective and will be sent to Governor Baker and the  Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy conference committee members responsible for reconciling  the Senate (S-2058) and the House (H-3854) Bills on net metering and solar policy. [Please note that letters sent to legislators are public.]
And;
2) Write an email to your local state legislators asking them to lift the net metering cap, institute the next "SREC" program, and ask that they escalate your request to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Robert DeLeo. 
 
Use this template, drafted by Solect, an email template you can use to urge your state legislators to take action in support of solar.  Simply visit  Find a Legislator  or view the full contact list of  Legislators by Town  to locate your state representative and senator(s), and send them the email today.  (Click here to download email template)
Independent Businesses Report Growing Sales and Hiring, but Policies Tilted in Favor of Large Companies Hold Them Back
A large national survey has found that public support for independent businesses led to brisk sales and a sharp increase in hiring in 2015. This survey is in it's ninth year and once again shows that the Local First Movement and organizations like the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts and its several affiliated Local First networks are strengthening independent businesses. Local businesses in cities with a Local First initiatives report stronger sales growth than those without a buy local campaign.

Local First initiatives are part of what's strengthening independent businesses, the survey found. Two-thirds of respondents in cities with an active Local First, or "buy local," campaign said that the initiative is having a noticeable positive impact on their business, citing benefits such as new customers and increased loyalty among existing customers. Survey respondents shared such comments as, "I see the 'Local First Movement' as critical, and growing."

Along with several other benefits, businesses in Local First cities saw revenue growth of 7.4 percent in 2015, compared to 4.2 percent for those in places without a Local First initiative. The survey also gives us important information about the challenges independent businesses are facing, many of which relate to public policy.

Independent businesses experienced healthy sales growth in 2015, buoyed by their strong community ties and growing public awareness of the benefits of locally owned businesses, according to a large national survey released today. ( Download the full report.
 
The Independent Business Survey, which is conducted by the  Institute for Local Self-Reliance in partnership with the Advocates for Independent Business and is now in its 9th year, gathered data from over 3,200 independent businesses. The respondents reported brisk sales in 2015, with revenue growing an average of 6.6 percent. Among independent retailers, who comprised just under half of survey respondents, revenue increased 4.7 percent in 2015, including a 3.1 percent gain during the holiday season. These figures contrast sharply with the performance of many national retail chains, and overall holiday retail sales, which rose just 1.6 percent in December according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This growth led to a significant increase in hiring. Overall employment at the independent businesses surveyed expanded by 5.6 percent in 2015, with more than 30 percent of respondents reporting the addition of at least one employee.

About one-third of businesses in Local First cities also said that the initiative had led them to become more engaged in advocating on public policy issues, and 44 percent said that the campaign had made elected officials more aware and supportive of independent businesses.
Green Tip of the Month:

      Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
      99 Bishop Allen Dr Suite 100 Cambridge, MA 02139
      www.sbnmass.org . info@sbnmass.org . 617-395-0250