This Way to Sustainability Conference II: Notes from Three Sessions
The This Way to Sustainability II: Merging with Community conference that
took place on the CSU, Chico campus Nov. 2–5 was an unqualified success
from beginning to end. Registrants lined up in the BMU Atrium starting at
7:30 am Thursday, and a steady stream of attendees continued signing up through
Buckholz received a lot of good feedback on the conference. One person who had attended the UC/CSU Sustainability Conference last summer told her that the visible presence of the AS and student organizations at Chico and the enthusiasm and involvement they brought to the conference made the Chico conference special. She also heard from several alumni who said that they are pleased Chico State is moving towards sustainability.
The built environment was also the focus of the presentation Sustainable Planning and Development, Efficient Regional Transportation and Examples of Smart Growth in Chico and Around the Country. This session discussed the impact land use and transportation planning has on the livability of a community, with a focus on Chico. Paul Zykofsky, California State Local Government Commission; Tom DiGiovanni, New Urban Builders; and Elizabeth Devereaux, Chico Sustainability Group, showed artist renderings of what Chico can look like with attention to sustainable design. The Park Avenue corridor was envisioned as an area rich in sidewalk cafes and public art; Nord became an street punctuated with planters and pedestrian crosswalks. DiGiovanni discussed his plan for Meriam Park, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design neighborhood that will be built near the Doe Mill project. “If you design right,” he said, “you can get that social structure that makes a neighborhood worth caring about. ”
The session Capturing the Link: Aligning Nutrition and Agriculture Policies and Practices with Environmental and Health Needs saw Cindy Wolff, CSU, Chico Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion, discussing the intersection between farming and public health in front of an audience of 80. U.S. farm policy contributes to the growing obesity problem in this country, she said, through subsidies of corn and soybeans (used to produce low-cost processed food high in added fat and sugars), and the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables included in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and food stamp programs.
But California farmers are coming together to promote changes in the 2007 Farm Bill, which may include increased funding for marketing and nutritional programs that would help California’s nut and fruit farmers.
Wolff talked about several programs that bring local produce from family farms to North State children, striving to promote health, strengthen the local economy, and preserve our legacy of family farms. However, she said, there is no program linking local farms with University food service. Wolff ended her program with a call to action: “We need to bridge the disconnect between local producers and local consumers. … We need to bring Farm to College to Chico State.”