Community Ag Alliance: YVSC’s Talking Green program excels in 2015

Community Ag Alliance: YVSC’s Talking Green program excels in 2015

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is lining up a stellar calendar of events for this adult educational series that occurs on the fourth Tuesday of the month at various locations throughout town. Since 2007, the Talking Green program has brought a wide range of speakers under the sustainability umbrella, and this year stands to be the best year in its history.

The next three months kick off Talking Green’s spring season with an agriculture-focused bang.

Starting April 28 at Olympian Hall, Virginia Till of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will present the government agency’s stance on food waste in a discussion on “Feeding People not Landfills” at Olympian Hall. Till has been labeled as “Recycle Rita” in EPA Region 8 and will speak to preventing food waste before it’s created, donating fresh wholesome food to those in need, feeding safe, fresh food scraps to farm animals, rendering fats, oils, and grease into biofuel, and turning food waste into soil amendments and renewable energy.

On May 26 (location to be announced), Jay Gallagher, manager of Mount Werner Water District and Northwest Colorado representative on the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will speak on the Colorado Water Plan, released in late 2014. Jackie Brown, director of the Upper Yampa Watershed Group and member of the Yampa-White-Green Basin Roundtable. will speak on local impacts and future steps of the Water Plan.

The Yampa-White-Green Basin covers roughly 10,500 square miles in Northwest Colorado and south-central Wyoming and is projected to increase in municipal and industrial water demand between 23,000 and 39,000 acre feet by 2050 with passive conservation included.

Following up on May’s discussion of water, the June 23 Talking Green will look at “the Future of Aquaponics as Sustainable Food Systems” with Senator Gail Schwartz and Kristen Cooper, in the Colorado Mountain College Auditorium.

With current water issues, innovations in agriculture will be a necessary part of how our food systems look in the decades to come. Senator Schwartz is a leader behind the Cottage Food Bill and has made food sustainability a top priority in her tenure. Kristen Cooper of GULF and Better than Organic Foods works to educate on sustainable food production and distribution for vegetables and ocean fish through practices like aquaculture, hydroponic greenhouses, and renewable energy sources. This talk will cover opportunities and insights for setting Colorado as a front-runner in this industry.

July 28 will be YVSC’s sixth annual local’s Green Gardens Tour, focusing on Master Gardener innovations in the backyard, and how growing local, or buying from local producers is an important piece in the sustainability cycle. More on this event to come.

On Aug. 25 Mark Easter, senior research associate at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at CSU, will speak on “Calculating Greenhouse Gas Emissions- Understanding all the Factors.”

In many community discussions on waste diversion and recycling, the question of “cost” is always raised. Is the cost and carbon footprint of bringing recyclables to market worth the effort? Easter will address this question, as well as discuss how much greenhouse gas emissions we generate in our everyday lives.

On Sept. 29, YVSC teams up with Historic Routt County (HRC) to bring a building-focused Talking Green, “Preservation Green Lab: Creating Sustainable Communities by Investing in Older Buildings.”

Some locations, partners and details are still to be announced. To stay up to date on our Talking Green series, join our mailing list and check our website for updates at

Andy Kennedy is Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s program and marketing director.

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