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9:00-9:30 Registration and Breakfast

9:30-9:40 Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:40-10:05 Keynote Speaker 1: Dr. Rachel Emas

"Seeking Sustainability: Looking at Local Food Systems"

10:05-10:30 Keynote Speaker 2: TBA

10:35-11:05 Workshop Session 1

11:10-11:40 Workshop Session 2

11:45-12:15 Student Networking Sessions

12:20-12:30 Closing Remarks






This presentation begins by outlining the concepts of sustainability, food systems, and local food. Then, it identifies the benefits and drawbacks of global and local food systems through the lens of sustainability.

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Dr. Rachel Emas is an Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of the MPA programs at the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University-Newark. In the Greater Newark community, Rachel has been heavily engaged in the work of Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc. since early 2018 and serves as the Strategic Management Advisor of the nonprofit. Over the past year, Dr. Emas has also worked closely with the City of East Orange and the East Orange Sustainable Food Alliance in developing a framework for the creation of a local community food system.



with Tess Callahan

Environmental activism begins with our own core connection to nature. The more intimate our personal experience of a tree in our yard, a bird overhead or a mountain we trek, the deeper our desire to preserve and protect the natural world. Human beings need wilderness not only to keep our water clean and air breathable, but to remind us who we are. This writing workshop offers 30 minutes of guided writing practice to explore your own personal experiences of nature and to see where those experiences wish to lead you next. Sharing a few lines of your writing at the end of the workshop will be optional.

Tess Callahan (tesscallahan.com) is the author of the novel APRIL & OLIVER. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, NPR, Writers’ Digest and elsewhere. She is a TEDx speaker and curator of the writers’ resource website: Muse-Feed.com.



with Meredith Chartier from Bellamy Kitchen

In recent years, we have seen a shift from industrial farming to small, local, and regenerative farming practices.  In this presentation we will explore why this shift is important to preserving the fertility of our soil and in turn the nutritional quality of our food.

Meredith Chartier is a multifaceted health and wellness professional.  As a private chef she prepares weekly meals for clients looking to manage medical conditions through food, as well as developing Belly Brew, a tea blend which supports healthy digestion.  As a consultant, she has assisted with recipe development for over 15 projects in addition to assisting real estate developers looking to integrate health supportive features in buildings.  Last year, she opened the first rental Commercial Kitchen Facility in Hudson County, NJ, in an effort to support the growing small food business community.



with Thomas Chartier, PE, LEED AP, CPHC from Chartier Homes

In modern times, we spend 90% of our time indoors, exposed to artificial lighting & climate control, and toxic off-gassing from the materials used to build our buildings, along with the furniture and products we use and consume.  This presentation will explore how homes can and should be designed & built with our health and the environment in mind.

Chartier Homes is an award-winning home builder of LEED Platinum certified homes, bringing the best of suburban living to an urban setting.  Our mission is to create sustainable communities one building at a time.  



with Amy Jolin from Fulfill, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties

Go behind the curtains with a food bank professional and learn about the network of agencies tackling hunger, where food pantries get their food, how food waste is captured as part of the fight against hunger, and how you can help.

Amy is a founding member of Eat Local, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to local foods. She volunteers in her community to start the Ringwood Community Garden and the Ringwood Farmers’ Market. As Program Director at City Green, Amy built over 55 school gardens complete with cross-curricular lessons to bring food education into the classroom. She most recently served as interim director of Fulfill, the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  She brings the knowledge of her childhood on a farm to her nonprofit consulting in support of environmental and food security nonprofits.



with Richard Larsen from Citizens' Climate Lobby

This workshop will focus on how climate change is impacting the world and New Jersey's climate and extreme weather, and what Citizens' Climate Lobby, an international grassroots environmental group, is doing about it. 

Richard has two degrees in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin. He made a career of weather and commodity forecasting working for M&M Mars in NJ for 25 years.  In the 25 years he has traveled through to many of the world’s major agricultural regions and grown increasingly concerned about the global climate.  He currently volunteer for CCL and builds for Habitat for Humanity.  



with April Nicklaus, NJPIRG, and Ananya Singh, MCST Environmental Action Club

In school we spend a lot of time learning about the world's problems and raising awareness about how bad they are. But... what can we actually DO about them? This training will outline the structure and functional planning in successful campaigns for social change, and empower you with the skills you need to develop a winning campaign on any issue you see in your community.

April is a senior studying Environmental Policy at Rutgers University and has been involved in grassroots organizing with the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) for all 4 years at college. Throughout this time, she has organized on issues such as renewable energies and plastic pollution, hosted several large conferences, and trained well over a hundred youth activists to make social change on environmental issues and beyond.

Ananya Singh is a passionate youth climate activist, and a high school student at the Morris County School of Technology. She is an organizer with Sunrise Movement, a coordinator of the NJ Student Sustainability Coalition, a leader with NJ Climate Strike, and she works closely with Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp to train and inspire young people to take action for social change.



with Awais Qazi from the Sunrise Movement

The Sunrise Movement is a national movement, led by young people, that is mobilizing to prevent potentially catastrophic affects of Climate Change. The movement is advocating for the Green New Deal, which sets goals to bring our planet into the future through investment in sustainable technology and infrastructure.

Mr. Qazi is a recent graduate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ. Since graduating from college, he quickly found a job in the field of finance but realized that his work had little impact in some of the biggest problems facing our country. Because of this, he committed himself to participating in activism outside of working hours. He joined with the Sunrise Movement in December 2018, participated in two national protests, and has brought the Sunrise Movement to North Jersey by creating an Organizing Hub in Jersey City.



with William York from smallFEAT Education

This workshop will engage students in a hands-on matrix decision-making process to analyze and determine priorities of environmental action. Though many initiatives and actions are appealing, are they the best course of action? Students will choose and defend their decisions!

William York, Newark Academy class of ’75, is the Founder and Director of smallFEAT Education, an organization committed to helping schools and communities “shrink their footprint one small step at a time.”  His current work addresses coastal resilience and water security issues, as well as connecting young people in sustainability initiatives locally and abroad.

Green Rooftop
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