Community Agriculture Alliance: Developing a vision of sustainability

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The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is teaming up with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association to help local businesses and organizations create a road map for sustainable business practices. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 at Olympian Hall, representatives from our community as well as regional experts will gather to present, inspire and discuss the opportunities and risks surrounding the dramatic shift toward a more economic and environmentally sustainable future.

The day will kick off with two 30-minute speed rounds during lunch. The first session, titled “Boots on the Ground,” will include local profiles of real operational changes toward sustainability. Panelists include Lightworks of Steamboat, PostNet, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., the Steamboat Springs School District and the Steamboat Sustainable Business Consortium.

The second speed round, titled “Getting the Word Out,” will focus on communicating about sustainability. The panelists will discuss issues including getting buy-in to start a program; developing appropriate goals and objectives for a strategic plan; and keeping people motivated once a plan is in place. Panelists include Colorado Mountain College, Steamboat Sheraton Resort, Yampa Valley Data Partners and Yampa Valley Medical Center.

The afternoon brings two Colorado experts in the sustainability field: Jennifer Cross, Ph.D., and Stu Reeve, who will offer tangible takeaways and reinforcements of success and savings in sustainable design during three 15-minute talks discussing a wide array of topics such as best management practices, engaging employees, socioeconomic buy-in, and connecting long-term business goals.

Cross is a professor of sociology at Colorado State University and works regularly with public schools and community agencies on a variety of community-based participatory research projects centered on health promotion and community development. Her current projects include research on land conservation decision-making, energy conservation and sustainability in public schools and behavior change campaigns among college students.

Reeve serves as energy manager for the Poudre School District in Fort Collins. For the past 35 years, he has held several positions in facility services and business services, managing the installation and maintenance of electrical/electronic systems throughout the district. In addition to energy management during the past nine years, Reeve has been involved in the district’s integrated/sustainable/high performance design approach to building schools and managing the commissioning services. Zach and Bacon elementary schools were the first high-performance schools in Colorado.

“This is a great opportunity to learn from experts and each other about how and why a business, school, government or organizations should become more sustainable,” Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones said. “It isn’t about ‘doing the right thing’ anymore. It is about saving money and providing long-term economic stability for the future.”

The cost to attend the event is $50 for non-Chamber members and $45 for members. The event is open to anyone who wants to learn about sustainability from peers who are “getting green done.”

For more information, to register or to sponsor the event, click here, or email Sarah Jones at sarah@yvsc.org.

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