It's all too easy to bring the city to the outdoors by paving over natural habitats, but recently cities are striving to bring the outdoors back to urban areas.
Jackson has the opportunity to join in this nationwide effort with the Greening Fondren Conference Aug. 2 at Fondren Hall (4330 N. State St.). Are you ready to turn Fondren into Jackson's green oasis? With community gardens? Edible Forests? Returning the neighborhood to a livable, healthy habitat?
This free daylong event, hosted by the Top of Fondren, Mississippi Urban Forest Council, Jackson State University and the city of Jackson, features speakers who will share knowledge of turning pavement into green spaces. They range from economic development officials talking about the importance of "greening" cities job creation; "how tos" for creating green spaces, parks and gardens, including ideas for churches, civic groups and schools; and panel discussions by local officials and "green" community stakeholders.
The greatest opportunity may be the chance for local folks from all walks of life to join in some big-sky thinking about the future of Fondren and networking around the idea of creating a livable, sustainable community. The day will be filled with workshops on green infrastructure, community gardening, biking and walking paths and more.
"The idea," conference organizer Maureen Smith says, "is to give the community a look at what projects are happening, what could be started and how individuals and businesses could get involved." It's an opportunity to turn good ideas for a healthy community into reality.
Greening Fondren Conference
Thursday, Aug. 2, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fondren Hall, 4330 N. State St. (formerly Primos Northgate). To register, send your name via email to Donna Yowell at firstname.lastname@example.org (or call 601-672-0755) or Maureen Smith at email@example.com. The workshop is free, but you can purchase lunch for $10 from High Noon Cafe. Registration is requested for those who want lunch.
• Bob Wilson, executive director of Mississippi Main Street, on "The Greening Impact on Economic Development"
• George Ewing of the city of Jackson on "Benefits of Trees and Green Space"
• Elizabeth Barber of Barber and Mann Associates on "Tools for Community Green Space" (Easements, Deeds)
• Donna Yowell, executive director of the Mississippi Urban Forestry Council, on "Green Re-Vitalization, Creating a Green Plan"
• Donna Beliech, State Extension Service, on "Green Spaces, Parks and Gardens"
• Jason Gordon, State Extension Service, on "i-Tree and Placing Value on Trees"
• Ken Hackman, Zoological Field Studies, Madison Central High School, on "Urban Wildlife and Bird Habitat"
• Melody Moody of Bike Walk Mississippi
• Dan Guillet with Jackson Public Works
• Michael Gentry of Tougaloo Community Garden
• Luke Lundemo of Rainbow Natural Foods Co-op's, Eubanks Creek & FAB Green Team on "Green Healthy Communities Panel"
• Fondren's Green Team and Fondren After 5 on "Fondren's Green Future and Planning"
This seminar is part of the Urban Forest Masters Program and funded by an Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the Mississippi Forestry Commission, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Southern Group of State Foresters.
Jim PathFinder Ewing is the author of five books on energy medicine and eco-spirituality published by Findhorn Press. His next book, scheduled for a fall release, is titled "Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating." Find Jim on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @edibleprayers or visit blueskywaters.com.