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DCCCD Sustainability Summit, Workshop Explore Permaculture (and More)

photo of Toby Hemenway

Contact: Ann Hatch
(214) 378-1819;

For immediate release — March 26, 2014

(DALLAS) — Keeping in mind that saving resources and protecting the earth take the efforts of many generations, Dallas County Community College District’s 2014 Sustainability Summit will explore “green” practices through a number of speakers and free sessions about topics that apply to daily living and sustainable efforts.

The summit, which will be held on Wednesday, April 16, at North Lake College in Irving, will feature keynote speaker Toby Hemenway, author of “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.” Lunch will be provided, but registration is required so that participants can receive their free lunch. To register, visit

Hemenway also will present a one-day workshop — part of DCCCD’s Clean Economy Series — on Thursday, April 17, at North Lake College. The workshop, which is open to the public, is $99 and will focus on “Urban Sustainable Principles and Practices.” To register, visit

Trane is a major sponsor for the 2014 DCCCD Sustainability Summit.

Permaculture expert Hemenway will kick off the summit with his keynote address at 8:30 a.m. in the performance hall. Workshops and sessions throughout the day will focus on a variety of topics as well as exhibitors who will share information about their green products and services. Participants also can learn about women across the globe who have initiated environmental projects in their communities during a free showing of the documentary “Arise.” Poster sessions will give attendees a chance to learn about several school- and community-based sustainability projects and programs.

Permaculture, which is the art and science of working with nature instead of against it, originally was envisioned as a practice that would be used for farms and rural properties; however, it also works well in cities and towns. Urban permaculturalists are finding productive ways to grow food on city lots, but — just as important — they are reforming food policy in cities, developing garden-based comprehensive school curricula, reducing energy and water use, legalizing graywater, providing disaster relief and leading the food justice movement.

“Growing more food is just the beginning and turns out to be the easy part of making towns more self-reliant,” said Hemenway. “Permaculturalists are changing antiquated farming laws in cities, bringing healthy food to upscale restaurants and the urban poor, and engaging in many other activities that are creating positive change.”

Following the 8:30 a.m. keynote by Hemenway, a book signing, poster sessions and time with exhibitors is scheduled from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m.; breakout sessions are scheduled at 10 and 11:15 a.m. After lunch, the movie “Arise” (80 minutes) will be screened at 1:15 p.m.; an outdoor session on North Lake’s community garden also will be presented at that time.

Hemenway, who has taught more than 60 permaculture design courses, has presented lectures and workshops at major sustainability conferences such as Bioneers, SolFest and EcoFarm; he also has lectured at Duke University, Tufts University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Delaware and many other educational venues.

The keynote speaker earned his biology degree from Tufts University. He worked as a researcher in genetics and immunology but eventually left biotechnology when he discovered the world of permaculture, which is a design approach that is based on ecological principles that create sustainable landscapes. After his career path changed, he and his wife, Kiel, spent 10 years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. The couple now lives in Sebastopol, Calif.

“Arise” presents the story of 13 women in five countries who have started environmental projects in their communities, towns and villages. A question-and-answer period, plus a panel discussion, are scheduled after the movie, which will be shown in room H200 in the Student Life Center.

Poster presentations and breakout sessions will be held in the T Building. Poster sessions will explore North Lake College’s Recyclemania marketing campaign; synthetic versus natural dyes, presented by the Girl Scouts; graphic design and sustainability, presented by the Art Institute of Dallas; Phi Theta Kappa’s community garden; aquaponics; the Green Diploma; and “My Lawn Mower and Me.”

The morning breakout sessions include a variety of topics: DCCCD best practices in sustainability, the state of water in Texas, the Coppell Nature Park, zero waste, the “Cease the Grease” program, water conservation, integrating sustainability into the college curriculum, energy resources, electrical energy production and many other subjects.

For more information, contact Georgeann Moss, who is coordinating the summit, at (214) 378-1823 or

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