A Hotbed of Practical Innovation and Industry
There are remarkable pockets of innovation(overused term) throughout the area, such as North Quabbin Woods, an active non-profit organization featuring forestry, wood products, and recreation. The Seeds of Solidarity Farm based out of Orange, MA , provides many local restaurants with organic greens and garlic and also created the Sol Garden Project. This project teaches children in local schools how to do community and home gardening, as well as the annual Garlic and Arts Festival. This business is and always has been run entirely off the electric grid and uses biodiesel to fuel their trucks and cars.
Other examples include a foundry off South Main Street, a stamping and machining business, two tiny shops making fishing tackle in North Orange and Tully, software designers and consultants working from home offices in Petersham, Wendell, and New Salem, an engineer who designs and builds recumbent, partially electric powered bicycles, a tractor and medium sized equipment repair and machining shop near Lake Mattawa, and any number of other operations located either in garage shops or individual buildings throughout the area. The Randall Pond Industrial Park is home to Dean’s Beans, the coffee business that helped create the Fair Trade movement. Heyes Forest Products, our local sawmill, producing milled locally grown wood products from industrial grade pine and hemlock lumber to fine kiln-dried hardwood lumber.
In the Spring of 2013, Greenworks, with the support of volunteer craftsmen from the Town of Orange & North Quabbin, resurrected a half-built Boathouse on the banks of the Miller’s River. Three months and $100,000 dollars worth of donated labor and materials later, the Boathouse was complete. Peak Expeditions, an extreme outdoor sports and youth leadership outfit, took the helm. They ran the operation of the Boathouse on our bequest and with the Town’s generous forebearance. New jobs were created and we were one step closer to branding North Central Massachusetts as a destination.
The Orange Innovation Center
The founders of Greenworks, prior to its incorporation, worked together with the former proprietors of the Bedroom Factory, Noel Vincent and Zita Rasid, in re-branding and turning a partially vacant building into an energy efficient multi-use center for Social Services, Environmental Organizations, Small Business and Artists. It has become a model for other mill re-purposing and revitalization projects across North Quabbin, and is currently owned by Greenfield resident Jack Dunphey who continues its mission.