Radically Rural – Remote summit: Land and community sessions explore balance of use and conservation

For rural areas and the people who inhabit these spaces, the economy and the environment are inextricably intertwined. The question of balance between exploitation and conservation arises and gaps are made apparent among support and protection of land, business and people. 

For this year’s Radically Rural – Remote summit, the Land and Community Track will address the intersection of public health, rural business and rural landscape. Track leader Amanda Littleton, district manager for Cheshire County Conservation, says, “It is more important now than ever, with the shifting environmental and social climate, that we protect our natural lands for future generations.” 

For Littleton, reinforcing an understanding of rural areas and their offerings will bolster community resilience in the face of quickly changing times. She has planned three sessions at Radically Rural – Remote on Sept. 24, which this year is being held online starting at 8 a.m. with a keynote speaker and track sessions at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a closing speaker at 4 p.m. An interactive idea jam is planned between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on a video conference platform.

Radically Rural features tracks in community journalism, arts and culture, lands and community, main streets and downtowns, clean energy and entrepreneurship.

Living Landscapes for Human Health and Well-being – 9 a.m.

Louise Chawla, professor and environmental psychologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, will discuss a burgeoning new research field that tracks reciprocal relationships between humans and nature. It’s an ancient belief that nature holds many restorative qualities. Chawla’s evidence that humans require contact with the natural world for happiness and well-being has allowed for new ways to convey the everyday importance of living landscapes. 

Her talk will be followed by a panel discussion and case study of prescriptive environmental programs designed for youth and the elderly. Panelists will cover ways in which rural communities are using related research to engage people in conservation efforts. The audience will be given time to ask questions and converse on ways that these ideas can be envisioned and applied in their own regions. 

Crazy Good: Supporting Vibrant Rural Communities with Food Hubs – 11 a.m.

Author of The Nourishing Homestead and permaculture enthusiast Ben Hewitt moderates a panel discussion on rural food hubs and how they contribute to the vitality of a rural economy, local farmers and the community as a whole. 

Food hubs, an emerging trend, manage the aggregation and distribution of food products and fill gaps in rural food systems. Panelists for this session include those having success in this sector in New Hampshire. Join an audience-included discussion surrounding the nuts and bolts of rural food hub operation and implementation. 

Building a Regional Fibershed – 2 p.m.

The value of organic and local food may be apparent if one inspects a home pantry or refrigerator, but what about the closet? Rebecca Burgess, executive director of Fibershed, and author of Harvesting Color, will discuss her work in creating lasting systems of production for fiber manufacturers. From the farmer to the cleaner, carder and spinner to the designers and makers, fibershed communities, including clothing purchasers, are tasked with taking responsibility for a garment’s lifecycle by committing to practices that aid in climate-change mitigation. A panel of for-profit, fibershed manufacturers will discuss how soil-to-soil fiber systems have supported both economic prosperity and ecosystem health and diversity in their own regions. 

For more information on the Radically Rural – Remote summit and to purchase tickets, please visit the event’s website at www.radicallyrural.org

Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Key Partners

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