March 17, 2015

By Minnie Payne

Dr. Elaine Ingham, leading soil biology researcher and founder of Soil Foodweb, Inc., along with Trammell S. Crow, president of the Crow Family Foundation and founder of Earth Day Dallas (now Earth Day Texas), will be keynote speakers at a March 20 Sustainability Conference to be held at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, starting at 8 a.m., going to 5 p.m. Participants may register online or at the free conference from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Lunch is also free.

Soil expert Dr. Elaine Ingram will speak at 9 a.m. on March 20. She'll also host an all-day workshop on March 21. 

The conference title is “H3: A Responsible Pathway,” and according to Dr. Maria Boccalandro, Sustainability Director of Cedar Valley College, the “H3” stands for head, heart, and hands because the pathway to sustainability involves a commitment of those three parts of your body.  

“I think when people talk about sustainability, it’s sometimes confusing,” she relates.  “We want to get across to participants and speakers that sustainability is good for people, the planet, and the economy. People are very happy because they recycle, but it’s going beyond that.

“The conference wants to make people take action and reflect on the way we are living and how that affects the quality of our lives.” 

Dr. Ingham will be the opening keynote speaker from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will share her vast knowledge on soil and how we can use biology to enrich soil into making healthy plants that resist disease and pests. She will also be offering a one-day workshop on March 21 titled “Soil Foodweb and Compost Tea Technology.”

Crow will be the luncheon speaker from noon to 1 p.m. and is expected to talk about Earth Day Texas 2015 and how it is changing the national perception of our state and its journey to sustainability.  

Above, Earth Day Texas founder Trammell S. Crow will speak at noon on March 20.

A group of Cedar Valley College drama students have written a play on sustainability and will present a conversation on how we can help restore the earth from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  

New to the third-year conference is a plenary from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., wherein a panel of experts will cover various sustainability topics. 

There will be 19 breakout sessions during the day. The first concurrent session will be from 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., and feature 10 programs to choose from. Among them, Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen's Texas office, will conduct a session on clean energy and his efforts to push sustainability laws to legislature in Austin. Moderator Winfred “Wendy” Cannon will discuss her work with a group of South Dallas women, non-profits and turning a food desert into a food and job oasis. 

Above, Public Citizen state director Tom "Smitty" Smith will speak during the first breakout session. Photo:

The second concurrent session will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include 9 sessions, including sustainable marketing consultant Amy King of Nested Strategies, who will share tips for creating a brand. Pam Gist will offer advice on grants for sustainable projects. See complete schedule.

Sessions are 1.5 hours long in an effort to be hands on. A live lab session will show how Cedar Valley College students are solving problems on campuses.  

Boccalandro says there are inviting people from neighboring cities, students and employees to attend the conference.  

“We want everyone to enjoy learning how to be healthy.  Not only will clean energy, clean water and clean jobs be discussed, but there will be a spiritual part as well.”

“South Dallas is known for being a food desert and our first step is to restore the soil like a great many big cities that are beginning to produce food in urban farms. Cedar Valley College president Jennifer Wimbish has made our school an excellent sustainability college, and it’s a reference for South Dallas.”

Minnie Payne is frequent contributor to She’s written for Pegasus News, Frisco Style Magazine and Seedstock. She presently freelances for Living Magazine, The Senior Voice and Your Speakeasy. She can be reached at [email protected].

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