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UIS Earth Day observance to include discussion of sustainable local food systems

April 13, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – An examination of sustainable local food systems will be part of the activities hosted by the University of Illinois at Springfield in observance of Earth Day 2006. The two-part presentation will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Experts say one chief benefit of a system wherein most food is produced locally is that typically such food is grown using organic and sustainable methods that do not deplete the soil and other natural resources. Other benefits range from increased freshness and variety to promoting the regional economy, ensuring a secure food source, and fostering a sense of community.

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Environmental Studies at UIS
Earth Day

Sponsored by Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE) and the UIS Department of Environmental Studies, the program will begin with a screening of the movie “The True Cost of Food” by the Sierra Club Sustainable Consumption Committee. A panel discussion on food policy, the local food system, and the status of organic farming in Illinois will follow.

Panelists and their topics will be Gayle Keiser, executive director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, “What’s wrong with our food policy?”; Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, research specialist in sustainable agriculture, U of I at Urbana-Champaign, “What is a local food system and why is it important?” and “The status of organic farming in Illinois”; Terra Brockman, executive director, The Land Connection Foundation, “The history of Land Connection and its work in organic farming and saving farmland in central Illinois”; and Kathy Corso, Farm Beginnings, “My personal journey and experiences with organic farming.”

The university’s observance of Earth Day will also include “Contaminated without Consent: How Chemical Pollutants in Air, Food, and Water Violate Human Rights,” an address by ecologist/author Dr. Sandra Steingraber at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in Brookens Auditorium. This program is also free and open to the public and will be webcast live at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html

Earth Day, April 22, an annual event since 1970, is a chance for people around the world to celebrate the planet and our responsibility toward it.

For more information about the programs at UIS, contact Tih-Fen Ting, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, at 206-7876.

For more information about Earth Day, go to www.earthday.org/.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.