Greg Watson is Director of Policy and Systems Design at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. His work currently focuses on community food systems and an initiative to improve global systems literacy.
Greg has spent over 40 years learning to understand systems thinking as inspired by Buckminster Fuller and to apply that understanding to achieve a just and sustainable world.
In 1978 he organized a network of urban farmers’ markets in the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area. He served as the 19th Commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts under Governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld from 1990 to 1993 and under Governor Deval Patrick from 2012 to 2014. During the Patrick administration he launched a statewide urban agriculture grants program and chaired the Commonwealth’s Public Market Commission, which oversaw the planning and construction of the Boston Public Market.
From 1984 to 1990 Watson served as Assistant Secretary in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Affairs, where he established and chaired the Massachusetts Office of Science and Technology. In 1988 he presented a paper entitled “Preparing Policymakers To Address the Problem of Climate Change” at the Second North American Conference on Preparing for Climate Change in Washington, D.C. Greg was featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2007 documentary The 11th Hour.
Greg gained hands-on experience in organic farming, aquaculture, wind-energy technology, and passive solar design at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod, first as Education Director and later as Executive Director. There he led the effort to create the Cape & Islands Self Reliance energy cooperative. He served four years as Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a multicultural grassroots organizing and planning organization in Roxbury, MA where he initiated one of the nation’s first urban agriculture programs (anchored by a 10,000 square foot commercial greenhouse).
Watson was the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (now the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center). In 2005 he coordinated the drafting of “A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States” and the following year founded the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative. Watson initiated the effort that brought the National Wind Technology Testing Center. He served on President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Energy transition team in 2008. In 2006 he was one of “11 Bostonians Changing the World” cited by the Boston Globe.
In 2015 he founded the Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network (CUSAN) following a trip to Cuba to learn about its agroecology system. CUSAN links small farmers and sustainable farm organizations in both countries to share information and provide mutual support.
In 2018 Watson, working with Elizabeth Thompson (former executive director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute) acquired the intellectual property and trademark rights to Fuller’s World Game Workshop. The Workshop is a global simulation tool designed to help players discover the options for creating a world that works for 100% of humanity without compromising Earth’s ecological integrity.
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