Youngstown Urban Agriculture Roundtable

If you have taken a look around the city of Youngstown lately, there have been some noticeable changes. With revitalization as a main focus, various nonprofits, residents, and businesses are increasing their efforts to bring green initiatives to the city.
Panelists addressed these changes occurring in the area at the Youngstown Urban Agricultural Roundtable panel for the 2012 Sustainable Energy Forum, held at Youngstown State University on June 4 and 5.

Hailing from Southern California, Walker Wells, director for the green urbanism program at Global Green USA, noted how a partnership began here in the valley, when Wells was invited to the Forum three years ago.  Wells assisted with needs such as agriculture, redevelopment codes, and zoning issues.

Wells, who moderated the discussion, introduced other speakers including Youngstown City Council President Tito Brown, who noted that.  “Youngstown is embracing being a greener community.”  His sentiment appears to be true. Community gardens, as he pointed out the location on Glenwood Avenue in the Idora Park neighborhood as an example of what is becoming more of a norm as citizens are utilizing empty land for green space.

Another organization bringing the issues of sustainability to the forefront is Goodness Grows of North Lima, Ohio. Steve Fortenberry, president and founder, said that his group has worked with GM Lordstown by operating gardens in empty land around the plant. Fortenberry said GM has incorporated these gardens into their employee wellness program.

Attendees also heard from Joy Johnson, grants management director at Burten, Bell, Carr, Development Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson shared how Cleveland is becoming an agricultural hub as citizens continue to create partnerships as well as innovate new gardens and farms in urban areas.

Along with the other presentations, an important part of the agriculture panel was the group discussions. Creating dialogue is a vital way to encourage and educate others on the significance of sustainability and community.

Fourth Annual Sustainable Energy Forum

Here in the United States, as well as internationally, sustainable energy is an area that has gained massive attention in more recent years. On June 4th and 5th, the fourth annual Sustainable Energy Forum held in Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University, served as an opportunity for businesses, students, and the community alike to learn more about ideas and innovations in this growing field. Attendees heard from a variety of guest speakers, such as representatives from Delphi, Dominion Transmission, General Motors, and Global Green USA. Marc Gerken, president of American Municipal Power (AMP) in Columbus, Ohio, delivered the keynote address to the crowd of over 200. Mr. Gerken, and the entire forum as a whole, had one ongoing theme: moving forward. With sustainability being a world -wide concern, new technologies are emerging. These efforts are what will change the future.