Local Hero: Noli Taylor

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In her quiet way, Noli makes a powerful difference.

Noli’s bona fides

  • At Island Grown Initiative, Noli started Island Grown Schools and spearheaded IGI’s food waste programs and its focus on regenerative agriculture
  • Founding member of the Is- land Climate Action Network
  • In Aquinnah, she has gathered a diverse group of townspeople to plan for, mitigate, and respond to climate emergencies (CERT)
  • She and her family are on year four of a ten-year plan to make their home fossil-fuel free

In the community

“The community work I do is just seeing what is happening and finding a place where I can be helpful in getting people together to make a change. The work I
do in Aquinnah is on all these different levels, starting at our own house and trying to move toward being a fossil-fuel-free home. We are looking at a ten-year timeframe and we are in year four.”

With the Community Emergency Response Team

“Bill Lake and I came together to form our climate and energy committee, to reduce fossil fuel use in town. Then there is adaptation: how do we get ready for the changes that are coming? Third is emergency preparedness work. I organized a community meeting with our emergency manager and a great cross-section of people in town. There are many challenges ahead: more ex- treme heat, more extreme rainfall events, big winter storms and hurricanes. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) work is some of my favorite work. It’s a wonderful, diverse group of people — tribal members and non-tribal members, regional emergency services personnel, moms, grandmas, and young people. Instead of it feeling depressing or scary, it makes [us] feel like here we are together with our townspeople and we are doing something — creating daytime sheltering and an overnight emergency shelter, in partnership with the tribe.”

Bill Lake, co-chair of the Aquinnah energy and climate committee told us, “Noli is always going full speed and often carries a lot of other people along with her. Aquinnah is the first town on the Island to create a CERT. That team has done terrific work in getting the town ready for a climate emergency. Even though the problems we deal with are challenging, Noli is not only always energetic, but she is always so upbeat and optimistic. She has kind of a pied piper quality where she wants to charge off and tackle these problems and she leads people in that same direction.”

At Island Grown Initiative

“Noli has been the heart and soul of Island Grown Initiative,” IGI Execu- tive Director Rebecca Haag said. “She started our Island Grown Schools programs. There are gardens at every school — the next generation of children will know why we need a sustainable food system, the importance of healthy eating, and know how to grow their own food, and have their own gardens. As a result of her efforts, all the meals
at Island schools are provided by local chefs. When I joined IGI about five years ago and we launched a strategic plan, Noli was the visionary around our commitment to regenerative agriculture, such an important part of addressing climate change. She has also been a big advocate for food waste reduction and redirection. She oversees a lot of our programs around food equity where we are basically rescuing food out of some of the grocery stores, our gleaning pro- gram, she works very closely with Kayte Morris at the Island Food Pantry. I would define her as a quiet leader. Someone who attracts people because of her passion and her vision. She really does her homework, and believes in what she speaks about. Not only that, but she is an incredible listener. She incorporates other people’s ideas. She speaks softly, but everyone listens.”

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Lucas Thors
Lucas Thors is a reporter at The MV Times, covering climate change. “About a quarter of my wardrobe is from a company called tentree — for each product you buy, they plant 10 trees and include a little token with a digital code on it. You enter the code and can see where your trees have been planted.”

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