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Sustainable ME: A Read & Do Group

Sustainable ME is a book group for readers and doers.

Working on a tricky homestead project? Wish you had a garden planning buddy? Looking for your tribe of DIYers? Try our new book group for nonfiction readers interested in learning about projects and making them happen. Together we’ll read nonfiction books about skills, have an experienced lecturer share their knowledge and try them out! Join our team of literary explorers as we hash out our visions of sustainability, green cleaners, working bikes, useful stuff, and edible yards. Come share what you’ve learned.

We meet once a month at 6:30 PM, January – October in the Morrell Meeting Room. No prior reading necessary. Dates and days of the week vary according to the constraints of each speaker.

Call or email with questions: (207) 725 5242 x228,

(Interested in Sustainable ME but can’t make this time? Check out our other related programs: Scrap Crafts, Eat Our Yards, CML@TSCG, & More!)

2018 Schedule:

February 20th, 2018 – DIY Healthy Chemicals

Learn more about the chemicals hiding in your everyday products. Join us as we learn what we need to know from  Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter.

Are you using toxic products?

Join us as Dr. Jim Maier of Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter discusses the hazards to your health found in everyday products around your home and office. He will discuss what is toxic, what isn’t, and what we still don’t know. He will go over various strategies to reduce your health risks and effectively advocate for change. Curtis Memorial Library’s own cleaning regime will be used as a case study.  Join us as we learn and improve.


Find out more about PSR’s work at

This program is free, open to the public and will take place in the Morrell Meeting Room.


A little about Dr. Maier:

Dr Jim Maier is a double board-certified child and adult psychiatrist who practiced in the Portland area for over 30 years. Prior to his retirement he participated in a cutting-edge research program doing “Early Intervention” to treat families and young people at risk of a first psychotic episode. He currently does evaluations for the State Forensic Service and volunteers as a group facilitator at Portland’s Center for Grieving Children and Families.
He is a longtime member of Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter and chairs the organization’s Toxics Committee. He has a particular interest in the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in the many products commonly used in our homes and gardens, and present in our food, air and water.
He and his colleagues lecture, testify in the Maine legislature, and write op-eds and letters-to-the-editor on these and other topics central to PSR Maine’s work, including nuclear security and climate change.
Dr. Maier is the grandfather of eight, four of whom live in Portland. He and his wife travel to the West Coast of Norway twice yearly to visit the 4 grandchildren who live there on a sheep farm overlooking a fjord and 30 mountain peaks. He notes that they and their families are protected from exposure to harmful chemicals thanks to the “Precautionary Principle” which bans use of chemicals found to have adverse effects.
A member of MOFGA for many years, he raised goats and chickens in the past, and enjoyed home grown vegetables and fruit, as well as fish and game harvested close to his Scarborough home of 43 years.

Check out these resources:

Further Resources provided by PSR:

Handout: Everyday Chemicals and Your Health

Handout: Dangerous Chemicals Healthy Homes

Presentation: Chemical Conundrum

Monday March 26th – DIY Edible Landscaping

Join us as we learn about unusual annuals and hardy perennial edibles from grower Aaron Parker. As owner operator of Edgewood Nursery ( Aaron will speak about how any landscape can incorporate an abundance of edible plants. Learn about a selection of styles, techniques and plants to turn your surroundings into a edible oasis.

Check out these resources:

Wednesday April 25th – DIY Mushrooms

Learn with us as Mike McNally, local mushroom enthusiast and member of the Maine Mycological Association shares how to grow mushrooms. He promises to share the easy and thrifty ways he grows oysters from coffee grounds and Wine caps from wood chips. Joins us as we learn about liquid cultures, uses for scrap wood, and other tried and true tricks of the trade.

Check out these resources:

Tuesday, May 29th – Wabanaki Traditions


Check out these resources:


Thursday, June 28th – DIY Outdoor Oven

Does your mouth water when you picture singed pizza, crusty bread loafs or other wood-fired food? Join us as we learn how to build an outdoor pizza oven from Curtis Memorial Library’s own building manager Melissa Hall.

Check out these resources:

Wednesday, July 25th – DIY Rainbarrels

Do you want to harvest your rain water for further use throughout your landscape? Would you like to know your options, and how to go about actually making them happen? We’ll go over a number of different options to help your landscape utilize water. Topics will range from ponds and fountains, to terraces, rain gardens, and cisterns. Audience questions are encouraged. We’ll then learn how to make and install a rain barrel at Curtis Memorial Library.

Check out these resources:

Wednesday, August 29th – DIY Aquaponics

Join us as we learn from Stan Wakely from the Urban Garden Center in Topsham on how to set up our very own Aquaponics system at Curtis Memorial Library. Do you like to eat fish and vegetables all year round? Are you into growing local food? We are! Come help us build our system, and learn how you can construct your own. Bring your questions, and learn how a hydroponics or aquaponics system with few upfront costs can yield lots of delicious results.


Check out these resources:

September – DIY Storage, Preservation & Fermentation

Confused how to store the wealth from your garden? Want to plan food storage now to save money next year? Kate McCarty from Cooperative Extension and Paige Driscoll, Master Food Preserver, will join us and teach us how to set up a cold room storage system for all that garden produce. They’ll also explain how to ferment the veggies you don’t want to store or dehydrate them. A solar dehydrator that works in Maine will also be discussed.


Check out these resources:


October – DIY Stove

Learn how to build a rocket stove and rocket mass heater to be used in your greenhouse or outdoors to barbeque all winter long. Make use of those winter prunings by burning them up in a highly efficient stove, that can also heat enough mass to keep your greenhouse toasty. A variety of models will be shown.


Check out these resources:





October 5th, Tuesday 2017 (SPECIAL extra workshop)

DIY Vermiculture + Harvest Castings

Learn why worms make the best pets and healthiest plants

Use worms to compost! Jock Robie of Mainely Worm Bins will  teach you everything you need to know about worms and have them create rich castings for your garden. Nine free bins will be available to those who sign up in advance. One bin will be raffled at the event.

Also join us as the ten worm bin winners from our first class learn to harvest their  castings, expand their worm farm and overcome common pitfalls.

October 25, 2017

EMERGENCY KIT – SPEAKER Margaret Cushing, Cumberland Country Emergency Management Agency Planner


Join us as we compare and contrast various suggestions for emergency kits and make our own. Are you familiar with the term “bug out bag”? How does that relate to an emergency car kit or a FEMA disaster plan? Come learn with us. Share your expertise and knowledge. No prior reading necessary.

September 27, 2017



Join us as we learn from Christine Bruns Rudalevige, author of Green Plate Special: Sustainable and Delicious Recipes. After a short talk she will rework participant’s favorite recipes to be more sustainable. She speak about the basic tenets of transforming a much loved recipe into one that still holds the flavor of the tried and true recipe, but has incorporated sourcing, energy conservation and food and water waste reduction principals to make the dish more sustainable. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite recipes. No prior reading necessary.

August 23, 2017


Many recipes and food storage options suggest dehydrating, but do you have to purchase a dehydrator to do this? Come explore dehydrating options with us and make one model. Share your expertise and knowledge. No prior reading necessary.

July 26, 2017


We explored resources on solar ovens and made an example. We also talked about the differences between box, panel and parabolic models? Expertise and knowledge was shared.

June 21, 2017


We created bokashi bran and a bokashi compost bin similar to those detailed by Adam Footer in Bokashi Composting: Scraps to Soil in Weeks.

June, Tuesday 2017 (SPECIAL extra workshop)

Visualize Sea-Level Rise


March, April, May 2017



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