Annual Report 2014

Thank you for your interest in the Local Living Venture and our work with and for the community.  Below you will find our most current Annual Report, unabridged, for your use.  An abridged version is available upon request.

Click link for Annual Report 2015.
For previous Annual Reports (2010 - 2013), please go to this page.


Local Living Venture
Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future

Annual Report 2014

Our Vision 2014
The Local Living Venture envisions a vibrant, capable community and a resilient regional economy in the North Country of New York State. 

Mission Statement 2014
The Local Living Venture is working towards a resilient regional economy through community education, rural skills–building, and dynamic infrastructure development.

“Sharing Knowledge from the Past ~ Building Skills for the Future”


The newly constituted Local Living Venture’s first meeting of the Board of Directors  was held Feb 15, 2014. The three Board members were present and unanimously agreed to appoint the following positions: Melinda Ely (Chairperson and Treasurer), Chelle Lindahl (Vice Chairperson and Secretary) and Rajiv Narula (Board Member-at-large.)  Subsequent board meetings were held regularly, with a total of nine meetings in 2014.

Melinda Ely and Chelle Lindahl have continued in their roles as Co-coordinators of the Local Living Venture (LLV.) Melinda has resumed duties handling LLV finances. Jackie Bartholomew has continued working as Education Outreach Coordinator. Donna Dilworth has continued as Project Organizer. Rajiv Narula and Chris Butchino, Development Coordinators, directed Strategic Planning and fulfilled administrative roles.
In June, Krystal White re-joined the LLV staff, this time as the Correspondence Gatekeeper.
Matt Nowak has ended his work as Fundraising Coordinator due to his time constraints. Chris Butchino also stepped down from his position as Development Coordinator due to personal reasons. He has held many positions over the years with the LLV ranging from Volunteer Coordinator to Finance.
  Both Matt and Chris made stellar contributions to the work of the Local Living Venture and will be missed.
In June we lost a dear friend to the LLV, Paul Pickens, who was our guide and mentor in all things related to organizational development for much of the last two years.  His warm and generous spirit, as well as his vast knowledge of non-profit organizations, will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Four Strategic Planning Meetings were held in February, March and April. These meetings were “Image Modeling” meetings led by Chris Butchino.

A Development meeting was held May 19 to discuss the LLV budget, 501(c)(3) status, business plan, handbook completion, and grant-writing/future funding. The Development Committee will work on Fund Development and acquiring land for a campus for the “Homestead Learning Community”.

The application for Incorporation was originally submitted Jan 31, 2014 and was resubmitted in April after a change in wording. The LLV’s non-profit incorporation papers were accepted by the State of New York on May 6. Since the LLV will no longer be under the umbrella of Seedcorn, Melinda attended Seedcorn’s Annual meeting May 15 to begin the Local Living Venture’s withdrawal from Seedcorn.

The Local Living Venture’s status as a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit application was filed with the IRS and is still in progress. Chelle Lindahl, Melinda Ely, and Matt Nowak worked on this process.

The Local Living Venture, with a generous grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation, hired “Gilbert Web Design” as the creator of our new website.  After a lot of hard work by Gilbert Stankiewicz and Chelle Lindahl, our new website had a “soft launch” in December, with an official launch planned in January, 2015.

Planning has begun for the Local Living Festival 2015. A Festival Committee will work on securing funding, speakers and a location.

Weekly staff meetings were held throughout the year at the Canton Free Library and at the BOCES building in Canton. 


Program Income
$7921.00 Gross Workshop Income
$11417.30 Donation/ Outreach/ Benefit Income
$406.43 Merchandise Sales
Total Income: $19789.73 

Program Expense
$11,901.00  contract labor
$250.00  performance bonuses
$171.60  volunteer and staff appreciation
$1,825.09  workshop expenses (materials, presenter costs, space rental)
$251.13  insurance
$121.58  equipment
$350.00  tech support/web domain and URL registration
$740.00  storage unit  rental
$68.00 PO Box rental
$293.19  miscellaneous (postage + printing + reimbursements)
$230.00  memberships dues
$325.00  conference fees
$125.00  publicity
$973.86  Indian Dinner Benefit costs
$85.00  merchandise ( tree identification book purchase)
$300.00  NY Bee Wellness (from a dedicated Bee Wellness Education fund)
Total Expenses: $18010.45 

Expenses from Seedcorn/SLP dedicated grant fund account:
$3000 Website Development to Gilbert Web Design

Beginning Balance Jan. 1, 2014:
$5421.38 ($386 LLV account + $5035.38 Seedcorn dedicated grant fund account)
Ending Balance December 31, 2014:
$4,322.39 ($2,287.01 LLV account + $2035.38 Seedcorn dedicated grant fund account)

There were several fundraising projects in 2014.

  • A fundraising appeal was posted on the LLV website and emailed to all on our mailing list on May 30. The LLV received $3163 in donations (and $1500 pledged) from 57 supporters.
  • The Indian Dinner Benefit was held October 18 and had a net income of $1142.14.
  • Dr. Saidel had a Tree Sale at his Canton office and donated $180 in proceeds to the LLV.
  • Bottle returns at CJ’s netted the LLV $17.30.
  • Bruce Dana Photography Benefit was held on October 2, $46 net.
  • The Thrift Map sponsors have been updated on the old website and will be fully updated for the new website in the coming months.
  • Workshop Scholarships are still being developed. Local businesses will be able to sponsor workshops by providing scholarships.
  • The LLV searched for a new Fundraising Coordinator but was unable to fill the position due to legal technicalities for non-profit organizations.

Sponsors and Donors 
Maple Ridge Charitable Foundation: $2000 general operating funds donation
North Country Savings Bank: $400 for the 501(c)(3) filing fee
Northern New York Community Foundation: $5000 website and equipment grant
Fifty-seven donors responded to our May Fundraising Appeal raising $5163.

Donors of $100 or more
Bob Shepherd, Marion Stein, Rainbow Crabtree (Nature’s Storehouse), Sandy Maine (Adirondack Flavor and Fragrance Farm), Chris Morrow and Family (Northshire Bookstore), Basia Marie Parham, Andrea Bachrach, Valerie Ingram, Mark Berninghausen, Anna Campbell, Jim and Libby Blackmore, Mikey Owen, April Haggett, Carolyn Filippi, Shawn Lindahl, and Holly Chambers.

In Kind Donations
Potsdam Food Co-op ($180 food donation for Fermented Food Workshop, Gluten Free Workshop, and Beans and Grains Workshop +$49.20 Donation for a second Gluten Free Workshop)  
Potsdam Agway ($72.45 donation of soil and pots for Seed Starting Workshop) 

Indian Dinner Benefit Sponsors
Kaneb Orchards
Old Market Farm
Potsdam Food Coop
Price Chopper (Canton and Potsdam stores)
Prosper’s Farmstead Creamery
Whitten Family Farm

Volunteers and Interns

Volunteer Hours: 3393 Total Volunteer Hours in 2014 (a non-Festival year)
Total number of volunteers: 106
Coordinator volunteer hours (included in total above): 2427 hours (2128.5 hours Chelle Lindahl + 298.5 Melinda Ely) are also included in the breakdown below, as follows:
Outreach and conferences: 470.5 hours
Benefits:  267 hours (Indian Dinner: 259 hours)
Workshops: 425.5 hours
Board, Meetings, Committees: 199.5 hours
Administrative: 1792.25 hours
Miscellaneous Volunteer Hours: 24 hours

No current interns.

Review of Programs (Festival, Workshops and Events)

Local Living Festival

Serious Fun  *  Delightful Education!

The date for the next Festival is set for September 26, 2015. Planning has begun, exciting collaborations are being entered into, and venue options are being explored.

Resourceful Living / Rural Skills Workshops and Events
In 2014, the Local Living Venture offered 53 workshops and events attended by approximately 800 people. Evaluation results polled very strongly positive from attendees (available by request.)

Workshops Coordinated
Nutritious Delicious! Cooking Seminar – Fermented Foods:  Making Kimchi and Sauerkraut, Jan 20, 27 attendees
Bee and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, Jan. 29, 12 attendees
Nutritious Delicious Cooking Seminar: Gluten Free Eating and Living, Feb 27, 27 attendees
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, Feb. 26, 18 attendees
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, March 26, 21 attendees
Nutritious Delicious Cooking Seminar:  How to Cook Grains and Beans, March 27, 11 attendees
Pruning Your Apple Trees and Other Orchard Fruits, March 29, 19 attendees
Traditional Maple Sugaring, March 29 – cancelled
Nutritious Delicious Cooking Seminar: Gluten Free  Eating and Living,  April 3, 18 attendees 
Green Home Tour - Cheap and Efficient Mass Heaters, Masonry, Bell and Rocket Stoves, April 5, 34 attendees
Roll Up Your Sleeves: Spring Bicycle Main-tenance, April 26, 5 attendees
Starting Your Summer Hive with Package Bees – Workshop and Mentoring Session, April 19, 36 attendees 
Spring ‘Package Bees’ Buying Co-op, April 26, 44 packages (over 350,000 honeybees!)
Bee Hive Package Transfer Mentoring sessions, two sessions, April 27, 12 attendees
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, April 30, 19 attendees
Shiitake Fundamentals- from Spawn Runs to Soup Recipes, May 3, 16 attendees
Start Your Garden Seedlings Indoors and Learn How to Transplant, May 4, 5 attendees 
Whole Health Healing Academy “Whole Foods to Heal Everybody and Every Body Cell”, May 21, 12 attendees 
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, May 28, 23 Attendees
Whole Health Healing Academy, “White Sugar Blues”, June 11, 11 attendees
Composting Made Simple for Garden and Home Food Waste (plus bonus Worm Composting), June 21, 18 attendees
Woods Work! with NYFOA – Basics of Working in The Woods for Firewood and Saw Logs, 22 attendees
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, June 25, 23 attendees
Mind and Body Centered Anxiety and Stress Relief Workshop Series:
Session 1: Body Awareness in Stress Management, July 17, 16 attendees
Session 2: Developing a Philosophy of Stress Free Living, July 24, 15 attendees 
Session 3: Using the Mind to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, July 10, 19 attendees
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, July 30, 15 attendees
Re-Queening Bee Hives for Winter Hardiness, July 31, 19 attendees 
Bees and Bee Keeping Discussion Group, Aug 27, 11 attendees
Oasis Permaculture Food Forest Discovery Tour with Make +Take Oyster Mushroom Bag, September 13, 24 attendees
Essential Oils 101:  For Your Family, Animals, and Home, September 18, 8 attendees
Composting Made Simple for Garden and Home Food-Waste, September 20, cancelled
The Bloom is Off -- Readying Your Bees For Winter, 22 attendees
Organic Gardening Planning & Practices at Martins Farm Stand Gardens, Sept 27, 7 attendees
Overwintering Fresh Herbs Basket for Your Kitchen Window, September 20, cancelled
Whole Health & Healing Academy Workshop Series: 
Session 1: Whole Foods, Whole Health, Holistic Health, September 25, 16 Attendees
Session 2: Natural Foods Know How, Oct 2, 10 attendees
Session 3: Healthy Menu Prep, Oct 9, 11 attendees
Session 4: White Sugar Blues, Oct 16, 4 attendees
Session 5: Gut Health, Oct 23 , 9 attendees
Session 6: Proteins, Carbs & Fats, Oct 30, 5 attendees
Session 7: Detox Nourishment Diets, November 6, 10 attendees  
Session 8: Gluten Free Eating & Loving It, November 13, 13 attendees 
Session 9: Divine Weight Loss, December 4, 14 attendees
Healthy Menu Prep (presented for SLU Wellness Committee), October 9, 18 attendees 
Home Tour: Rocket Mass Heater Demonstration Project, October 11, 29 attendees 
Practical Garlic Growing, Oct 19, 11 attendees
Women & Wood: How to Safely Split and Stack Firewood, 4 attendees 
Bees & Beekeeping Discussion Group, October 29, 14 attendees
It’s a Wrap! Wrapping Your Bee Hives for Winter, November 8, 18 attendees
Sewing 101: A Make & Take (tote bag), November 12, 5 attendees
Art & Craft of Making Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: A Make & Take, November 15, 20 attendees 
Kitchen Sink Soap Demo: Basics of Soap Making Using Goats Milk and Lard, November 15, 12 attendees
Bees & Beekeeping Discussion Group, November 19, 18 attendees

Outreach Events and Presentations
The LLV attended 15 outreach events with specific issues to represent and/or an interactive agenda of promoting our programs, and exhibiting a professional, yet home-spun, booth display.

Tabling events include

  • Clarkson Health and Wellness Fair,  January 28 
  • SUNY Potsdam’s Health & Wellness Festival, Potsdam, NY, April 2
  • North Country Folk Festival at SLU, Canton, NY, April 25 and 26 
  • SLU Wellness Festival, Canton, NY, May 1
  • Dairy Princess Festival, Canton, NY, June 7
  • Power and Equipment Museum, Antique Gas and Steam Engine Exhibition, Madrid, NY, June 14
  • Mare's Wares Arts Festival, Morristown, NY, July 1
  • Potsdam Summer Fest, Potsdam, NY, July 11 & 12
  • Colton Country Days, Colton, NY, July 19
  • Wellness Fair, Norwood, NY, August 2
  • Power & Equipment Museum Old Fashioned Harvest Days, Madrid, NY, August 30
  • Potsdam Museum's Sandstone Festival, September 18-21
  • Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival, Paul Smith’s College, September 27
  • Community “Food for Thought” Forum: Seeking Hunger/ Poverty Solutions for Northern New York, Potsdam, NY , outreach table, October 8

Events hosted or attended

  • Cinema 10 film “More Than Honey”, Co-sponsor, February 24
  • Fourth Annual Community Seed Swap, Co-sponsor, Winthrop, NY, April 5
  • AAUW/League of Women Voters Annual Meeting (attended), Canton, NY, May 22
  • WPBS-TV Volunteer Phone Bank Session staffed by Local Living Venture volunteers, September 11
  • Fed Up! Movie at Cinema 10 – special panel discussion by GardenShare & LLV, September 22
  • Adirondack North Country Association 2014 Annual Meeting (attended), Canton, NY, September 26
  • Route 68 Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Clean Up, October 4
  • Textile Recovery Program - A highly successful collaboration headed by The New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR) partnering with the Local Living Venture, Development Authority of the North Country, St. Lawrence County Solid Waste Department, Environmental Management Council and Planning Department, and area thrift stores promoted reusing and recycling textiles, November 15 - 22. This collaborative effort resulted in the collection of 856 bags of recyclable material, diverting approximately 5 tons of useful textiles from the waste stream during the campaign week.
  • Coordinated a Spring ‘Package Bees’ Buying Co-op, with delivery arranged to Canton on April 26 of 44 packages (over 350,000) honeybees to reinvigorate 44 empty hives in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.  The LLV Bees & Beekeeping Discussion Group is the only active bee club in the region.

Other Community Outreach
Sign-up sheets during major outreach events, workshops and media notices swelled our e-mailing list to over 2,400, to whom we send updates two to three times per month.

Conferences/ Webinars Attended

  • NOFA-NY Winter Conference January 24-26, 2014, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • NY Farm Viability Institute Grant Writing Workshop, March 12
  • North Country Symposium “Education, Community, and Economic Development”, April 7, Saint Lawrence University, Canton, NY
  • “Grants 101: An Introducti​on to Grants for Non-Profit Organizations”, April 2, Potsdam Public Library
  • Adirondack Wellness Summit, May 13
  • Seedcorn Annual Meeting and Potluck, May 15
  • North Country Clean Energy Conference, June 4-6, Lake Placid, NY
  • Community-Based Food Business Financing - an NGFN webinar, June 19
  • “Textile Recycling Campaign” Webinar, Oct 23
  • NESAWG (Northeast Sustainable Ag Working Group) Annual Conference, Nov 12-14, unable to attend as we usually do

Media and Communications

  • In 2014, the Local Living Venture sent 50 Press Releases and Calendar Submissions and 16 “Big Mailers” to a mailing list of approximately 2400 families, almost all within 50-100 miles of Canton, NY.
  • Listed in NOFA - NY New York Organic Farm Resource Guide 2014.
  • Listed in the Non-Profit Guide published by Johnson Newspapers and the Annual Manual published by North Country This Week.
  • Local Living Venture Bee Group was added to the Empire State Honey Producers Association (ESHPA) web site.
  • The LLV was featured in the following article:
  • “Local Living Venture in Canton seeks nonprofit status”- Article by Katie Anderson, in Watertown Daily Times, Published June 12, 2014 (
  • The Sustainable Living Project / Local Living Festival Facebook Page surpassed the 600 “Likes” mark.
  • The LLV is in the process of transitioning to the new website:  www. LocalLivingVenture .org

Information / Action Requests

  • Numerous requests for information about our programs
  • Multiple requests to order Bee Packages - as part of the bee purchasing co-op 
  • 15 networking requests  
  • 15 requests for information/resources
  • 37 requests for website posts
  • 14 requests for publicity
  • 5 requests for letters of support and support
  • 4 requests for collaboration
  • 11 requests for volunteers and assistance
  • 3 requests to host workshops
  • 4 offers to share resources
  • 4 offers to share info, present workshop
  • Multiple requests for information on the Textile Recovery Campaign
  • Numerous inquiries, questions, offers, invitations, and comments.

All requests were honored to the best of our ability.

Partnerships / Collaborations
Fruitful collaborations and networks were formed or continued with approximately 50 regional organizations, farms, businesses, and sponsors in 2014. 

Adirondack Flavor & Fragrance Farm
Adirondack North Country Assn. (ANCA)
Adopting Healthy Habits
Annie’s Garlic
Bark for Your Park at Potsdam Animal Shelter
Birdsfoot Organic Farm & CSA
Bittersweet Farm
Bruce Dana Photography
Cinema 10
Textile Recovery Campaign, NY State
“Co-op Farming” Listserv
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Deep Root Center for Self- Directed Learning
Development Authority of the North Country (DANC)
Elliott's Agway Home & Garden
Friends of India Association
Hands on Health Holistic Healing
Kathy Montan, Body Centered Expressive Therapy
littleGrasse Foodworks CSA greenhouse campaign
Maple Ridge Charitable Fund
Martin’s Family Farm Stand
Nature’s Storehouse
Nature Up North
North Country Symposium – Energy & Agriculture Groups
Northeast Recycling Council (NERC)
Northshire Bookstore 
New York Bee Wellness
New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR)
New York Small Scale Food Processors Association
Northern New York Community Fund
Potsdam Agway
Potsdam Food Co-op
Potsdam Neighborhood Center (panelist)
Radiant Hearth, Inc. Masonry Heater Builders
St. Lawrence County Solid Waste Department
St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council 
St Lawrence Health Initiative (panelist)
St. Lawrence Land Trust
Saint Lawrence University Wellness Committee
Sigma Delta Fraternity (Clarkson University chapter)
Small Scale Food Processor's Assn. (SSFPA), NY state
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY)
Turtle Hill, LLC Shiitake
United Helpers Sustainability Committee at Maplewood
Upstate Medical Occupational Health & Worker Safety
Village of Canton
Village of Potsdam 

Textile Recovery Campaign
Area thrift stores and collection sites recruited by LLV volunteers to participate in the week-long Campaign:  C.O.R.C. Store, Kidz Kloset, Canton Neighborhood Center, A-Z Thrift Store, Church & Community Thrift Store, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Canton, Salvation Army in Massena,  St. James Thrift Shop in Gouverneur, St. Lawrence University's "Barn Good" Thrift Store, SUNY Potsdam Child Care, and Colton-Pierrepont Central School.

Future Plans

  • The Local Living Venture will continue providing the North Country with the highly successful Resourceful Living Skills Workshops.
  • An official launch of our new website is imminent in January of 2015.
  • The Local Living Venture is planning to purchase equipment (utilizing a Northern New York Community Fund grant) to document some of the Local Living Venture collaborative workshops.
  • The Local Living Festival will be held on September 26, 2015.
  • The Local Living Venture applied for 501(c)(3) educational non-profit status in 2014 and awaits the Letter of Determination from the Internal Revenue Service or word of further actions needed.
  • The Local Living Venture’s ultimate goal is acquisition of a multi-use campus for:

1. Homestead Learning Community (HLC), to assist the next generation of farmers, foresters, renewable energy workers, builders, and homesteaders. To include a residential campus focusing on classes and demonstrations of rural and homesteading skills in several areas of concern, to include:
Farming / Gardening / Food
Renewable Energy
Healthy Hearth and Forestry
Green Building
Homesteading Skills

2. North Country Native Botanical Gardens, to include:
Demonstration pavilions for rural skills as part of the larger self-guided botanical garden experience, created and staffed by students from the HLC and by volunteers.

3. Local Venture Center, the modern “grange hall” and more, to include:
Our current Resourceful Living Skills Workshop program as well as a meeting and community space for many community projects, such as a tool lending library, a meeting/conference and retreat setting, food processing incubation and many other community-building and entrepreneurial endeavors, as evolves organically and on an as-needed basis within the larger community.


Moving Forward!
As the Local Living Venture (LLV) departs from Seedcorn, Inc. in 2015, we wish to acknowledge their many contributions to the LLV. With the wise leadership of Seedcorn, the Local Living Venture worked to become our own independent organization. The Local Living Venture greatly appreciates the four-plus years spent under the umbrella of Seedcorn.

A specially annotated cornerstone brick, acknowledging the contributions of Seedcorn, Inc. to the development of the Local Living Venture (LLV), was presented to the Seedcorn Council in 2014. This cornerstone brick will be placed auspiciously in the first permanent building constructed on the future LLV campus, in honor of Seedcorn's contribution to the Local Living Venture (formerly Sustainable Living Project.)


Local Living Venture
P.O. Box 736, Canton, NY 13676   (315) 347 4223

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