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Riverbend programs focus on sustainability

Riverbend Market Cooperative will continues its round of gatherings, focused on the theme of sustainability. Sessions focus on challenges in the economy and environment for consumers, particularly consumers of the food supply.

Programs are free and open to the public Friday evenings at two-week intervals.

Riverbend offers the programs at its downtown Red Wing store, 417 Main St., from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with 45 minutes for expert presentations and small group discussion, and a potluck for social time.

Dr. Kelly Cain, director of the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development of River Falls began this series Sept. 10. Sustainability can be a fighting word. The term asks people to look at a current practice and asks questions about its future.

For example, half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts in our food supply come from California, people learned What if something - droughts, fires, earthquakes, expensive oil - interrupts this supply? Can we continue to do what we are doing in the same way?

Sept. 24, Dr. Nate Hagens, Bay City, will present "The Coming Energy, Food and Financial Transition." Hagens will talk about possible changes drawn from his work on liquid fuel energy as it relates to the economics of food supply and the current state of our economy in general.

Hagens asks a nagging question: What do we do if the economy does not improve?

Oct. 8, Kenneth Meter, president of Crossroads Resource Center and a noted analyst of the food system, has promoted local food networks in 45 regions in 20 states. He authored this May "Promising Community-based Food System Initiatives" that takes as its theme building health, wealth, connection, and capacity in our communities through the food system.

Oct. 22 features Dr. Ed Ward, a physician in internal medicine at Fairview Red Wing Health Services. Following a practical and evidence-base approach to questions of nutrition and health, he will speak on "Two Things Healthier than Going to the Doctor."

Nov. 5, Dr. Beth Mercer-Taylor, sustainability education coordinator at the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, wraps up this series. When not leading new sustainability initiatives on campus, she and her family bike to school and work, participate in community gardening, and follow the mantra "make dirt, not waste."