Greg Waton is the Schumacher Center's Director of Policy and Systems Design. In this position, he will introduce new programs while linking together the various educational and applied community economics programs of the Center. He will be a public voice for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, new monetary systems, equitable land tenure arrangements, neighborhood planning through democratic processes, government policies that support human-scale development, cooperative structure, import replacement through citizen financing of new enterprises, and more. He will draw on his nearly 40 years of work in the new economics field and his understanding of systems thinking as inspired by Buckminster Fuller, whom he names as a mentor.
One of his first initiatives will be to follow up on the connections he made in October 2014 on a Schumacher Center trip to Cuba to explore urban farming, sustainable agricultural, renewable energy, disaster preparedness, and social entrepreneurship. Given President Obama's easing of relations with that country, there is now more opportunity to offer alternative approaches to economic transition.
He served as the 19th Commissioner of Agriculture with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Deval Patrick and also served as Commissioner (1990 to 1993) under then Governors Dukakis and Weld. His major accomplishments as Commissioner during his first tenure included the promulgation of innovative groundwater protection regulations designed to prevent contamination of aquifer recharge areas; an outreach program for farmers to adopt integrated pest management techniques; efforts to make Massachusetts the first state to establish a dairy pricing system; and clarification of acceptable agriculture practices under the Wetlands Protection Act. During his current term of service he has worked to launch a statewide urban-agriculture grants program. He also chaired the state’s Public Market Commission, which oversees the planning and construction of the Boston Public Market, slated to open this summer.
Prior to serving as Commissioner with the Patrick Administration, Watson was appointed Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Affairs and served concurrently as Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Centers of Excellence Corporation. As executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, he made urban agriculture a major focus of the community's revitalization plan, which featured community gardens, a farmers' market, and a 10,000 square foot community greenhouse.
In 2006 The Boston Globe Magazine, cited him as one of 11 "Bostonians Changing the World."
Greg Watson served on President-elect Obama’s transition team for the U.S. Department of Energy. Most recently, on loan from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center—the agency that administers the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Trust— he was engaged as Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology within the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he developed a stakeholder process for assessing the nation’s first proposed offshore wind project.
He spent four years in the 1990s at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod, first as Education Director and later as Executive Director. The Institute was an applied research center that practiced organic agriculture as well as aquaculture and did pioneering work in bio-shelter design. While there, Watson gained hands-on experience in ecological design and environmental advocacy and organizing. He also became a founding member of Cape & Islands Self Reliance – a nonprofit that continues to educate residents about energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
Greg Watson currently resides in Falmouth, Massachusetts and serves on the boards of Ocean Arks International, Bioneers, and Remineralize The Earth. He served on the board of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics from 2013 until his staff appointment in 2015.
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