Fairfield County Edition

Sustainability Efforts Take Root in Connecticut

Events Aim to Inspire and Showcase Best Practices

The increasing number of conferences focused on organic, holistic, farming, gardening, natural living and healthy food topics is proof of Connecticut’s growing commitment to sustainability. Upcoming examples of such events include Connecticut Northeast Farming Association’s (CT NOFA) 36th Annual Winter Conference, presented in cooperation with Western Connecticut State University and its Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies, and the Grace Farms Foundation and Live Green Connecticut’s inaugural Regional Convening for Sustainable Development event.

There will be more than 40 farm, garden, food and advocacy workshops offered at the Western Connecticut State University-hosted OrganiConn event. Farmers, landscapers, organic food vendors and connoisseurs, gardeners, advocates, families and community leaders will travel to Danbury on March 10 to learn more about the latest innovative organic food practices, share ideas and network with others who are working to have an organic impact locally and nationally. Dave Chapman, a founding member of the Vermont Organic Farmers and a greenhouse vegetable farmer specializing in tomatoes, will be the keynote speaker. Natural Awakenings is proud to be one of the sponsors for the event.

“In the last 10 years, we have seen explosive growth in demand for organic food. Certified organic sales reached $50 billion in 2017. The very success of the National Organic Program has perhaps spelled its doom. We will try to understand what has happened to the National Organic Program,” says Chapman. “As healthy soil becomes ever more significant in our ability to heal a broken water cycle and a warming planet, the need for leadership from the organic movement becomes critical. We will look at the fraud, the protests, how to identify truly organic growers, and try to understand what to do next to protect organic,” he continues.

The Winter Conference lunch menu, prepared by local restaurants and available as an add-on during registration, is carefully designed to include most dietary needs or preferences. Over 60 vendors and exhibitors will be showing their farm products, gifts, clothes, eco-friendly products and sustainable services as well.

On February 7 from 9am to 4:30pm at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Grace Farms Foundation and Live Green Connecticut’s will hold the first Regional Convening for Sustainable Development events. Strategies for sustainable development, regional case studies, and other examples and best practices of community-driven sustainable development will be presented. The keynote addresses will be with Jeffrey Sachs and Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. The event is intended to educate policy makers, NGOs and concerned individuals about global sustainability goals and how Connecticut and the region can contribute. 

Sachs is a professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior U.N. advisor, bestselling author and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 80 countries. Commissioner Smith heads up the lead state agency responsible for attracting and retaining businesses and jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, and fostering appropriate development in Connecticut’s towns and cities.

Gatherings like these help us all learn how we can locally contribute to global sustainability efforts.

For more information about Western Connecticut State University-hosted OrganiConn event, visit CTNOFA.org/WinterConference. See ad, page 49.

For more information about the Regional Convening for Sustainable Development event, visit LiveGreenCT.org or GraceFarms.org/Events/rcsd_2018.

Ariana Rawls Fine is editor of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley and Natural Awakenings New Haven/Middlesex Counties. She resides in Stratford with her family.

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