Connecting with Nature: Rural Implications for Health and Land Use

September 24 | 9:00 am – 10:45 am

It is common knowledge that human survival depends on clean air, clean water and other natural resources for basic needs like food and shelter. Since the beginning of the 21st century, evidence has been accumulating that people’s wellbeing depends not just on extracting resources from nature, but also on frequent contact with nature for health, happiness and optimal functioning. Louise Chawla, an environmental psychologist, reviews major findings on connecting with nature and wellbeing, with special attention to studies with rural populations. She explores the questions—What are the implications of this research for new ways of communicating the value of biodiverse landscapes? How can this research be applied to provide healthy activities in nature for everyone, at every age, in rural towns and on the land? 

The talk will be followed by an overview of “nature prescriptions” to connect people with nature in rural communities, and case studies of programs that apply this research to engage people in enjoying and conserving natural lands. In conclusion, the audience will have time for a dialogue with presenters about possibilities for applying these ideas in their regions.  

Speaker: Louise Chawla, Enviromental Psychologist; Richard Christiana, Associate Professor of Public Health at Appalachian State University; Jason Urroz, Director of Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation



Crazy Good: Supporting Vibrant Rural Communities with Food Hubs

September 24 | 11:00 am – 12:45 pm

Food hubs (businesses that actively manage the aggregation and distribution of source-identified food products) are growing and becoming an established sector that contributes to the vitality of our economy and supports farmers, the community, and the triple bottom line. This panel session will introduce several key, successful actors from the food hub sector in New Hampshire, and will provide an inside look into the details of rural food hub operation.  Come envision the ways in which a food hub might contribute to the vibrancy of your community’s culture, economy, and food system.  There will be time for Q&A.

Speaker: Ben Hewitt, Author and Owner of Lazy Mill Hill Farm

Panel Discussion: Andre Cantelmo, Founder of Three River Farmers Alliance; Mary Macdonald, Co-Owner and Cruise Director of Genuine Local; Lauren Howard of Kearsarge Food Hub; Richard Berkfield of Food Connections



Building a Regional Fibershed

September 24 | 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm

Prospective speaker: Rebecca Burgess, M.ed, is the executive director of Fibershed, chair of the board for Carbon Cycle Institute, and the author of Harvesting Color.

Much progress has been made in the local food arena. Fiber offers a new frontier for localizing efforts that can have powerful economic, environmental and social impacts. Soil-to-soil fiber systems can play a vital role in generating lasting prosperity with positive effects for our regional economies, global climate, and the health & diversity of our ecosystems.

Textile manufacturing consumes as much as 8,000 gallons of water for every 11,000 yards of fabric production. A fibershed is a geographical landscape that provides the resources and infrastructure to create locally harvested and produced textiles. Rebecca Burgess, founder and executive director of Fibershed, a non-profit organization, will share the challenges, opportunities, and resources available to all who are interested in creating a local fibershed. Fibershed’s portfolio of activities all orient toward one goal: the development of a regional “soil-to-soil” system, where textiles are grown, processed, designed, sewn, sold, worn, and eventually composted within a 150-mile radius in northern California. Fibershed seeks to address the environmental and social costs of fast fashion by promoting ecologically sound practices, supporting local businesses and artisans, and emphasizing a mindset of quality over quantity. Join us to learn how a local fibershed can benefit the economy, environment and people in your community.

Speaker: Rebecca Burgess, Executive Director of Fibershed

Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Key Partners

Sign up to be the first to get Radically Rural™ news and updates