The renovations continue!

Things are shaping up at the Old Stone Mill with first floor renovations well underway. Electricity and plumbing are being installed and the bathrooms, office space, sewing center and machine shop walls are framed and being finished.


Mike and Leni have been trying out some homemade solar thermal panels after Rose let them know about experiments that Bruce from Berkshire Environmental Action Team tried. We’re looking into a temperature monitoring system to test out different designs. With so much sunlight pouring in to the south-southwest wall, it’s just begging for experimentation!

More announcements to come soon about more community collaborations and re-use efforts, including supplying discontinued linens to shelters in the region.  Also under development is the other clean energy heating strategy – compost heating system. We’re working with the folks at Agrilab, who usually helps farms with cow-power systems. This will be a rare system on a site that DOESN’T generate manure and waste. Stay tuned!


Old Stone Mill Center Phase 1 about to get underway

Phase 1 of the Old Stone Mill Center is now in the final stretch of the planning stage – getting set to start renovations this spring.

Phase1-CentralFacilitiesTo get our onsite programs going as soon as possible, we’re starting with the core essentials for renovation – restrooms,  a utility sink, refrigerator/ counter area, and the fabrication shop on the first floor, a utility space in the basement and the stairwells.

The central area with plumbing will have a lower, more conventional ceiling height to maximize for efficient heating. This also allows for a storage loft above.

Renewable Heating/ Cooling

There will be a 300 sq. ft space to serve as an office and also an experimental small space to see if bio mass heat from a compost mound can extend our season.  This first heating experiment will be labor based free workshop to construct the mound using fall mulch, manure and soil, most commonly known as a “Pain Mound” (Named after inventor Jean Pain – learn more. ) Get in touch if you want to help.

Hot water from the sun…REALLY?
We strive to work with local solar companies/ and community collaborators so our hot water can be generated by solar thermal collectors. The mill is a center for renewable energy experiments, an opportunity ground for testing. Learn to assemble a solar collector in celebration of a state-wide push for 100% renewable energy.

If you are a company that provides what we need and you want to use the mill to showcase your project and encourage refurbishing a large space sustainably, JOIN US! Or if you are a student or political group and want to do a hands on build. …Help us ‘workshop this!” Get in touch.

Our current idea for low impact heating and cooling for the central area is high-efficiency electric heat pumps. This is a clean and efficient heating method using air-exchange. Because of it’s high efficiency, it is often combined with solar-generated electricity (photovoltaics), another option for the mill to consider. On-site photovoltaics may not be feasible, but, purchasing electricity through a green-offset option from the utility company or from off-site solar-farm micro grid cooperative could work.

TrombeWallSketchWe are open to your ideas. Living in New England as we do and working to transition to 100% renewables is a worthy challenge. The first floor of the mill is 7000 sq. feet. How do we heat it: with a “season extender” like bio-mass / heat exchange compost mound or a passive solar Trombe wall? How long will that last? We’re looking to experiment with these low-tech / high efficiency / non-fossil-fuels sources.

We have been going full speed ahead with our off site programming.
Accomplishments to date/ Offsite programming.

— 2016 —

• Bike program started at Youth Center Inc with refurbished bikes donated to the mill

Bagshare workshop at Council on Aging.

• Plastic bag ban introduced in Adams referencing that The Old Stone Mill will make bags for anyone who doesn’t have a bag. Plastic bag ban passed.

• Met with Aladco Linens in Adams. Agreed to take ALL of their linen castoffs  (previously landfilled). Over 3,500 lbs of clean linens diverted from the waste stream and stored at the mill.

Videos on Hands on Learning at Youth Center Inc.
Mike Augspurger and Leni Fried of the Old Stone Mill Center work with the Youth Center Inc. every week to let kids explore using tools, learning what things are made of, experimenting with bicycles and exploring the feeling of physics through play.
( View videos of some of our work! – They’re fun!)

— 2017 —

• Partnering with Goodwill Donation Center, Salvation Army and Current Art Place partner Dept of Solid Works.

Adams 8,400 Bag Challenge
Working with ArtPlace partners, Tony Mazzucco , Town administrator and The Adams Arts Advisory Board to build awareness of March 30 , plastic bag ban. The Bagshare Project/ Old Stone Mill Center introduces the 8,400 bag challenge = one bag for every person in Adams. 25 groups pledging 120 bags each signed up so far, diverting what would be equivalent to 99,000 grocery bags from landfill, Replacing them with 3000 ‘bags for life’.

New Bag Fact:

• Partnering with the Charity Center in Adams for linen distribution/bike program.

… More to come. Keep checking in.



Adams 8,400 Bag Initiative from The Bag Share

The BagShare was founded in 2007 by Leni Fried. Now implemented in many towns, the latest initiative arose when Adams, MA passed a plastic bag ban.

Take the 120 bag Pledge and help Adams meet their goal.

» •• Sign up online here ••

We need 70 groups to take the pledge!
Groups signed up so far:
The Baguettes (Completed) (Adams)
Youth Center Inc (Adams)
Team Big Y (Completed) (Adams)
Williamstown Girl Scouts (Williamstown)
Bishop West Real Estate (Adams)
Greylock Federal Credit Union (Adams)
Pine Cobble School
Stoneleigh Burnham School (Greeenfield)
Deerfield Academy (Deerfield)
Adams Select Board (Adams)
Little Drummers (Savoy)
C.T. Plunkett Elementary (pending)
Adams Therapuetic Massage (Adams)
Old Stone Mill Center, LLC (Adams)
Adams Council on Aging (Adams)
Downtown Adams (Adams)
Pro Adams (Adams)

Adams Sets Challenge to Make 8,400 Recycled Shopping Bags

By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
February 24, 2017

ADAMS, Mass. — The town of Adams is setting a challenge: to create 8,400 recycled shopping bags by Earth Day on April 22.

The local BagShare Project uses recycled materials — mainly plastic woven feed bags and used irrigation tubing — to create free reusable bags for consumer use.  Brought to North Berkshire by Leni Fried and Mike Augspurger of the Old Stone Mill, the town’s taken up the challenge to create a sustainable bag for every resident in Adams ahead of the plastic bag ban that goes into effect on March 30 for larger retailers.

“As most of you know, the bag ban was voted last year … primarily large retailers will not be able to give out plastic bags,” said Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco at Tuesday’s Arts Advisory Board reception. “It’s great environmental progress for the town of Adams and some communities far wealthier and more progressive than the town of Adams have failed to do this so far.”

The town and the Adams Arts Advisory Board, in conjunction with the Old Stone Mill, is calling on organizations, businesses, colleges, civic groups, schools, neighborhoods, congregations and individuals to pledge to make 120 bags. It’s not just for Adams — anyone interested in helping out can join. Mazzucco said the town’s employees are challenging North Adams to make bags.

While the goal is to make enough bags for the population of Adams, anyone can make bags for their families or friends or co-workers.

The BagShare Project dates to 2007 and is the brainchild of Fried, who began teaching groups how to sew them in the Cummington area. According to the website, some 15,000 recycled bags have been made from fabric, canvas and woven plastic.

The Old Creamery in Cummington became one of the first stores to stock the free bags and donated recycled totes. The store was using 49,000 paper bags annually; since 2009, it’s been offering boxes or free bags and is saving about $5,000 annually.

The Fire House Cafe on Park Street, now the home of the Adams Anthony Center, has been hosting workshops on how to make bags. It will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, for anyone interested in learning about the project or who wants to make bags.

Francie Anne Riley of the advisory board explained that the bags are mainly made from feed, bird seed or malt bags, including donations from Bright Ideas Brewery. The bags are cut, folded and grommeted with irrigation tubing handles. Bill Kolis, owner of the cafe, said they hold 50 to 100 pounds and last forever.

“What you have is something a little bit bigger than a paper grocery bag, it’s made of that woven plastic so you can hose them out when they get dirty,” Riley said. “They’re fun, they’ve got pretty cool designs on them from the different grains. … There are pictures on them depending what they were used for.”

The firehouse already has a pile of bags of various sizes, but anyone can bring their own materials.

“It’s really quite simple to do, a bag probably takes 10 minutes to put together,” Riley said. “When you think about keeping stuff like that out of landfills, it’s wonderful.


Those interested in the challenge can pick up a pledge form at Town Hall or sign up online here.

In addition to the firehouse workshops, Fried can be contacted at or 413-634-5591 to set up a bag-making event at the Old Stone Mill.

”Given the farms we currently have in the community and our agricultural history, it ties in very well to who we are and what we’re trying to do,” Mazzucco said.