Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Rural Communities, Sustainable Agriculture Topics Of March Lectures At Washington College

Chestertown, MD, March 10, 2004 — Washington College's Center for Environment and Society has organized two lectures in March that address citizen leadership and the sustainable future of rural, agricultural communities.
“These are vitally important issues for our region,” said Dr. Wayne Bell, director of the Center, which recently completed the pilot year of the Rural Communities Leadership Program. “Like never before, the rural economy and natural resources of the Eastern Shore are feeling the pressures of development. It is my hope that these lectures inspire citizens to examine these issues more deeply and to discuss alternative visions and strategies to better take advantage of such changes to preserve rural communities and the working landscapes on which they depend.”
On Tuesday, March 16, Dr. Jean Richardson, former director of Environmental Programs/ Partnerships in Communities (EPIC) in Vermont, will discuss “Leadership and Community: Taking Hold of Your Future,” in a free public lecture at 4:30 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. A professor emerita of environmental studies, natural resources and geography at the University of Vermont, Richardson is an expert on sustainable rural community development, environmental negotiation and leadership and regional analysis. As director of the EPIC, a project of the UVM Environmental Program funded in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Richardson worked with local communities to develop the leadership, resources and vision to rebuild the institutional, economic and human fabric of rural areas. Her book, Partnerships in Communities: Reweaving the Fabric of Rural America (Island Press, 2000) shares lessons gained through her directorship of EPIC and is a handbook for supporting economically and ecologically sustainable agriculture, setting forth comprehensive strategies for locally-based, self-directed community development.
On Thursday, March 25, at 12 noon in the College's Hynson Lounge, the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning (WC-ALL), in cooperation with the Center for Environment and Society and Chesapeake Fields Institute, will host the Learn-at-Lunch presentation, “Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Community,” with Dr. Frederick Kirschenmann, director of Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Reservations are required for the luncheon lecture. Individual tickets are $9.50 for WC-ALL members and $12 for non-members. For information and reservations, call Anne Singer at WC-ALL, 410-778-7221. Deadline for reservations is March 22.
Kirschenmann is an advocate for land stewardship and has been hailed as a leader of the organic/sustainable agriculture movement. He has received many national and international appointments, including one to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Standards Board, and his writings have appeared in various books focused on ethics and agriculture. As much a farmer as a philosopher, Kirschenmann is also president of Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in North Dakota.
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