NSN January Meeting – Going Green in 2012!

After our holiday hiatus, the Norman Sustainability Network will resume its end of the month meetings on Sunday, January 29th, at Blu Restauraunt (201 S. Crawford) starting at 2:30PM.

We will be discussing our current projects, which include working with Norman Music Fest on their green intiatives and recycling, as well as helping form a volunteer recycling program at a local music venue, with the intention of showcasing the viability of widespread commerical recycling in the city of Norman.  Following up on this endeavour, our future initiatives include circulating a petition among local business to gauge their interest in a commerical recycling program run by the City of Norman.

As always, the meeting will be open to any and all discussions of projects NSN should pursue, as well as information on other programs and upcoming events.  See you there!

3rd Farm to Fork Community Dialogue Thursday, March 10

Retailers will be highlighted in the third installment of “Farm to Fork: The Oklahoma Food Chain,” a series of community dialogues on local foods sponsored by the Norman Sustainability Network and the Xenia Institute.

As the local foods movement has sprouted nationwide, Oklahoma has seen increasing numbers of retailers selling locally produced food.

With exciting enterprises like Native Roots Market, Urban Agrarian, increasing numbers of farmers markets and local restaurants like Ludivine, local food is available in more venues and delivered to the customer in more innovative and creative ways than ever before.

The upcoming forum will be on Thursday, March 10th, 6:30–8:30 p.m, at the First Presbyterian Church in Norman, 555 S. University Blvd. Like the previous forums, it will include a panel discussion featuring individuals closely involved in the Oklahoma local food industry including Matt Runkle of Native Roots Market and Chris Le of Coriander Cafe. This will be followed by a breakout session, where attendees select the “resident expert” they want to speak with in more depth.

The first events took place in the fall with local producers representing a variety of agriculture types and distributors who bring the products to market.

To RSVP, text or call (405) 396-6470 or e-mail info@normansustainability.org. An RSVP is appreciated but not required to attend.

2nd Farm to Fork forum this Tuesday, Nov. 9

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  (405) 309-9119 or info@normansustainability.org

When it comes to local foods, many people are familiar with the farmers who produce it and the restaurants and grocery stores that sell it.  Lesser known are the distributors which provide a crucial link between them.

Distribution will be the subject of the second event in “Farm to Fork: The Oklahoma Food Chain,” a series of community dialogues on local foods sponsored by the Norman Sustainability Network and the Xenia Institute.

While the local foods movement has sprouted nationwide, Oklahoma in particular has been a leader in creating new models for distribution.

Without access to distributors, “Oklahoma farmers were on their way to becoming extinct,” said Kara Joy McKee, general manager of the Oklahoma Food Co-op. “They couldn’t afford to compete for shelf space at super-sized grocery stores. Farmers market stands were often their only option.”

Today, groups like Urban Agrarian and the Food Co-op are finding innovative ways to connect local farmers with restaurants, retailers, and consumers. Their success has led to these models being emulated across the United States and internationally.

The upcoming forum will be on Tuesday, November 9, 6:30–8:30 p.m, at the First Presbyterian Church in Norman, 555 S. University Blvd.  Like the previous forum, it will include a panel discussion featuring individuals closely involved in the Oklahoma local food industry. This will be followed by a breakout session, where attendees select the “resident expert” they want to speak with in more depth.

The first event took place in October with local producers representing a variety of agriculture types.  Subsequent forums on retailers and regulators will be held February 8 and March 10.

To RSVP, text or call (405)309-9119 or e-mail info@normansustainability.org.  An RSVP is appreciated but not required to attend.

Farm to Fork: The Oklahoma Food Chain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  (405) 396-6470 or info@normansustainability.org
Download a flyer here.

With increasing concerns about industrial farming practices, many Oklahomans are turning to local foods. They want to know where our food comes from – that it is fresh, safe, and produced with care for the environment and animals.

In response to this need, a flowering of community gardens, small farms, and innovative businesses have sought to reimagine our food system.

Beginning this month, a series of community dialogues will examine this growing movement. “Farm to Fork: The Oklahoma Food Chain” is hosted by the Norman Sustainability Network in partnership with the Xenia Institute.

The partnership will host four dialogues over the next six months, focusing on four aspects of our food system: producers, distributors, retailers, and regulators.

“If you eat, you should come,” said Isaiah McCaslin, a member of the NSN steering committee. “NSN is excited about opening a forum for people of all backgrounds to learn more about their local food system, how they can support it, and how they will benefit from participating.”

Each event will include a panel discussion with individuals closely involved in the Oklahoma local food industry. This will be followed by a breakout session, where attendees select the “resident expert” they want to speak with in more depth.

“We’re very excited to bring Xenia’s public deliberation format to such an important topic,” said Clint Williams, executive director of the Xenia Institute. “Attendees will leave our four events feeling listened to, informed, and empowered.”

The first dialogue features local producers, with a panel representing a variety of agriculture types, from vegetable farming to ranching and value-added processing.

The first forum will be held on Thursday, October 7, 6:30–8:30 p.m, at the First Presbyterian Church in Norman, 555 S. University Blvd. To RSVP, text (405) 396-6470 or e-mail info@normansustainability.org.

Subsequent forums will be held on November 9, February 8, and March 10.

Supporting the Porter Corridor Plan

This evening, the Norman City Council will vote on the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan. The Norman Sustainability Network steering committee is endorsing this plan because it will put Norman on the path to improved walkability, encourage local, community-centered businesses, and provide better access to alternative transportation.

The status quo in the Porter corridor is not sustainable. Since the street was first designed, traffic has increased enormously. In many areas sidewalks are non-existent or poorly maintained, and the overall streetscape is not walkable or aesthetically appealing.

The plan being voted on today does not force any businesses or residents to make changes, but it ensures that any changes that are made will follow a clear plan for the overall area. This plan is designed to foster a vibrant, community-focused center of commerce that is friendly to bicycles and pedestrians, much like we have seen with Main Street in recent years.

While no city funds have yet been allocated to improve the streetscape, passing the Porter Corridor Plan is the necessary first step. We need a plan on the books to be eligible for federal grants and to form the basis for public-private partnerships to redevelop the area. Change will continue no matter what the Council does, but we have an opportunity to point that change in the right direction.

We urge all Norman residents, especially those living in or near the Porter Corridor, to attend the City Council meeting today, 6:30pm, at 201 W Gray St, and speak about why it is good for Norman. If you cannot attend, please contact your city councilperson before the vote. You can find their contact information at http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/city-council.

Thank you for supporting Norman and efforts toward a more sustainable future.