ADAMS — "Earth Day is every day," has become a popular slogan. But the latest collaborative project between three regional organization puts environmental conservation into perpetual motion.
On Friday morning, students from Adams Youth Center Inc. walked over to the Adams Council on Aging at the Adams Visitors Center to deliver 40 reusable bags they made through a Cummington-based program called, The BagShare Project, and the town's makerspace, the Old Stone Mill Center for Arts & Creative Engineering.
The bags made by kids in the youth center's after-school program were added to a pile of 64 bags made by Council on Aging volunteers. In honor of Earth Day, the bags were packed in as gifts with monthly food supplies that are delivered to individuals who need the support in Adams, Lanesborough and Cheshire.
"It's a good idea for Earth Day, especially if people follow through and use them," said Adams COA volunteer Sam Kissel, who made the bags with volunteers Sandy Hughes, Judy Sheehan and her sister, Barbara.
"And it's a good idea, when you can, to reuse stuff that would normally be going to a landfill," Kissel added.
Leni Fried, an owner of the Old Stone Mill and founder of The BagShare Project said the intentional multi-generational collaboration is the first of its kind for the program.
"The bags are made by 6-year-olds, teens, tweens and elders, demonstrating that greening up/reusing is everyone's responsibility," Fried said.
The BagShare Project has been around since 2007, and has produced some 15,000 bags made primarily from cleaned heavy plastic and fabric grain, barley and seed bags. The unique design involves folding the original bags to half their size, holding the fold with grommets, and looping handles through the grommets. The handles are also made from repurposed materials, including bicycle inner tubes, irrigation drip tape, clothesline, hay bale twine, old seat belt straps and retired climbing rope.
Adams Youth Center members Jaelyn Deeley, 10, and Joey Rourke, 9, called the project "cool" and "fun," respectively, both giving the project a maximum good grade of "10" on a 1-10 scale.
Fried said The BagShare Project is well-established in the Pioneer Valley and is looking to expand its partnerships in the Berkshires, bringing together frequent feed and commodities bag users, like farmers, brewers and printers, with community groups and schools interested in service projects.
Said Fried, "Tens of thousands of these [feed and seed] bags made from heavy duty plastic and sturdy enough to hold 50 pounds are landfilled across our state and country. They are not recyclable and not covered by a plastic bag ban."
Anyone interested in helping on any level can visit thebagshare.org, find them on Facebook, or call 413-634-5591.
To see how the bags are made, watch this video here: https://youtu.be/7jMQIHmSddA.