First ‘Green Drinks’ event draws crowd

MIDDLEBURY — On a recent summer evening, some 25 people gathered at 51 Main to celebrate all things “green,” especially biking.
The June 21 event was the first local installment of Green Drinks, a loosely organized network of environmental meetups that take place around the world.
Local organizers said the events are designed to be informal social opportunities for “people who work or aim to be involved in green efforts or jobs in business, academia, government and nonprofits.”
In Vermont, organizers in Brattleboro, Manchester, Montpelier and Burlington already host monthly Green Drinks events, featuring drink specials, snacks, raffles and discussion on various topics. The Middlebury event’s three organizers, Laura Asermily, Mairead Harris and Kevin Lehman, were inspired to start a Middlebury offshoot by their experiences with Green Drinks elsewhere in Vermont, nationally and abroad.
“I feel it’s a great venue for mulling ideas to make Middlebury and Addison County greener,” said Lehman, also a planner for the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.
The first Middlebury Green Drinks event featured biking and bike commuting as its topic, and attendees who had biked to the event were eligible for bike-themed raffle prizes.
Part of the event was devoted to biking stories, kicked off by organizer Mairead Harris’s discussion of the advantages — and perils — of biking during her time living in China. Harris blogs about car-free life at vehiculess.com.
Tim Mathewson of Little City Cycles in Vergennes, who donated money for event refreshments, also took the floor to talk about a project that seeks to broaden bicycle-based transportation opportunities: retrofitting bikes with small electric motors.
Later, the floor was opened to anyone with a biking story to tell.
Organizers said that the events will happen monthly, and will tackle a variety of environmental themes. The next one will take place at 51 Main on July 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. For updates on upcoming events, head to middleburygreendrinks.wordpress.com.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at andreas@addisonindependent.com.

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