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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Six green ideas from Northampton

From a giant community farm open to all to a walking school bus, how one Western Massachusetts community is getting serious about the environment.

GREEN PROJECTS are everywhere in Massachusetts. For energy efforts alone, 110 cities and towns from Provincetown to Pittsfield have been designated Green Communities by the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs since 2010 and have received more than $21 million in grants. If the Green Communities program meets its long-term goal, all 351 cities and towns will move toward clean energy from renewable sources and maximize their energy efficiency.

Financial support and a committed local government are of course crucial to towns struggling to be greener — but so is the initiative and creativity of the community. And on all those fronts, Northampton, nestled in the Connecticut River Valley, appears to have a winning combination. With a critical mass of activists (they figured out how to create the largest community farm in the state), innovative green entrepreneurs, and municipal leaders who take reducing the city’s carbon footprint seriously, Northampton, population 28,500, is getting things done. Here are just a few ways the city is growing greener.

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