by Jeff Briggers, Huffington Post
A broad range of community members in Iowa City, Iowa kicked off the “Ecopolis Forum” today, a groundbreaking series of monthly winter conversations on creating the first regenerative city of the arts, food, renewable energy, and commerce in the heartland.
Featuring nationally acclaimed farmer and permaculture expert Grant Schultz, the founder of Versaland in rural Iowa City, the first event included a multimedia show on local farm, food and permaculture possibilities for the river town, with a brief showcase on regenerative city efforts in Germany and Australia.
“An Ecopolis cycles resources,” Schultz said to a crowd meeting at the downtown business, Beadology. “Private enterprise and public services can always agree, efficiency centers on cycling resources.”
Laying out a design for a regenerative showcase in the riverfront district of Iowa’s former historic capital, which gained national attention for its community response torecord flooding in 2008, Schultz called on participants to rethink Iowa City’s sense of place and nature, as well as imported sources of food, sprawling transport systems, and an aging grid dependent largely on fossil fuel energy and subsequent waste in enduring periods of record drought, flooding and changing climate.
Schultz issued a timely challenge to creative cities like Iowa City to take the lead in local food, farm, energy and transportation initiatives that positively enhance rather than undermine our environment.
“By April, 2016, we need 90% of the residents of Iowa City to have access to a community garden plot within 16 blocks (one mile) of their residence,” Schultz said. “Growing food is a human right.”
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