Sustainable Warwick grew out of – and is now an integral component of – another Warwick organization, Community 2000. Formed in 1993 by a small group of local residents, Community 2000 organized a “grass roots visioning process” for the town.
From that visioning process, which involved over 600 Warwickians, a strong consensus emerged around the goals of preserving farmland, open space, and Warwick’s rural character. That consensus led to the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) and Community Preservation Fund campaigns that would see Warwick residents vote to raise their own taxes twice in order to preserve almost 4,000 acres of prime open space throughout the town.
It was from this process of grass-roots organizing that Sustainable Warwick was formed in 2006. SW has carried forward the task of preserving and sustaining Warwick’s rural character by starting a series of community initiatives:
- The 10% Challenge to get municipal buildings throughout the Town to reduce their energy usage
- A campaign to reduce the use of plastic grocery bags at local supermarkets and Farmer’s Markets
- A Community Garden that produces organic vegetables for its members and the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry; our Garden has spawned 3 other Community Gardens in Warwick
- A Community Orchard, which Warwick won in a national competition, of 42 fruit trees;
- A Community Composting Program (in partnership with the Village of Warwick DPW) which makes free, high quality compost and mulch available to Warwick residents
- A Town-wide effort that resulted in the permanent prohibition of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking (and fracking byproducts) anywhere in the Town
- Forums on fracking, the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and the CPV plant being constructed in Wawayanda
- The Energize Warwick program that helps homeowners with the NYSERDA home weatherization program
- Creation of a Repair Cafe in Warwick
- Sustainable World Book Discussion at local libraries
Led in the early years by Bob McGrath and the guiding spirit of the late Seymour Gordon, SW is now headed by Geoff Howard. Its ongoing mission is to educate and activate Warwick – individually, collectively, and municipally – to issues that touch on the sustainability of the community.
SW meets the third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Center. Meetings are always open to new members.