What does sustainability look like? How can we - as individuals, as communities, and as a state - be resilient enough to endure potentially rough times ahead? On the one hand, predictions about environmental catastrophe grow ever more dire - but on the other, we can shift our economic, agricultural, and energy resources in order to live affordably, sustainably, and healthily. Join us for a special Earth Day week event with Elizabeth Courtney and Philip Ackerman-Leist to learn how!
Elizabeth Courtney, a Harvard Loeb fellow, is Director of the Legacy Project at the Vermont Natural Resources Council, where she served as director for fourteen years. She is a landscape architect by training. Elizabeth served for a decade on the Act 250 appellate review body, the Vermont Environmental Board, where she ruled on numerous cases that helped shape the future of the Vermont landscape. Her expertise in and first-hand experience of Vermont’s conservation movement is second to none.
Philip Ackerman-Leist, author of Rebuilding the Foodshed and Up Tunket Road, is a professor at Green Mountain College, where he established the college’s farm and sustainable agriculture curriculum and is director of the Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project. He also founded and directs the college’s Masters in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), the nation’s first online graduate program in food systems, featuring applied comparative research of students’ home bioregions. He and his wife, Erin, farmed in the South Tirol region of the Alps and North Carolina before beginning their sixteen-year homesteading and farming venture in Pawlet, Vermont. With more than two decades of “field experience” working on farms, in the classroom, and with regional food systems collaborators, Philip’s work is focused on examining and reshaping local and regional food systems from the ground up.
Whatever you call it – climate change, global warming -- weather
abnormalities over the past several years reveal that we can no longer
accurately predict weather by studying historical patterns. Nor can we
continue to delude ourselves into thinking that the planet’s resources
are infinite. They are finite, and if we don’t act to establish a
sustainable relationship between humans and nature, these resources will
run out sooner rather than later.
Greening Vermont: In Search of a Sustainable State (Vermont
Natural Resources Council, Thistle Hill Publications) looks back over
five decades of Vermont’s environmental activism in order to move us all
forward into ecological sustainability. This book is a story about
people, politics, money and the environment. As Tom Slayton tells us in
his Forward: “It is a tale of environmental victories, defeats and,
perhaps most significantly, collaborations and compromises that have put
Vermont at the forefront of the environmental movement”.
Greening Vermont is a call to action. Authors Elizabeth
Courtney and Eric Zencey advise: “Our ecosystems are out of balance,
and if we don’t address this issue now, there is no certain sustainable
future.” Our states are all currently unsustainable. We must fit our
economic life into its proper ecological and social context, so
Vermonters and the rest of us can enjoy a healthy environment. Greening Vermont
illustrates what sustainability will look like and how we can shift our
economic and energy resources to achieve that desired state.
The book includes fascinating in depth interviews with Vermont movers
and shakers from over the years, as well as stunning illustrations of
the Vermont countryside.
Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our
broken industrial food system. From rural outposts to city streets, they
are sowing, growing, selling, and eating food produced close to
home--and they are crying out for agricultural reform. All this has made
"local food" into everything from a movement buzzword to the newest
darling of food trendsters.But now it's time to take the conversation to
the next level. That's exactly what Philip Ackerman-Leist does in
"Rebuilding the Foodshed," in which he refocuses the local-food lens on
the broad issue of rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the
destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands
affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure
potentially rough times ahead.Changing our foodscapes raises a host of
questions. How far away is local? How do you decide the size and
geography of a regional foodshed? How do you tackle tough issues that
plague food systems large and small--issues like inefficient
transportation, high energy demands, and rampant food waste? How do you
grow what you need with minimum environmental impact? And how do you
create a foodshed that's resilient enough if fuel grows scarce, weather
gets more severe, and traditional supply chains are hampered?Showcasing
some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing,
and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader
toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full
landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban
to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.