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February 27, 2014

Summit to discuss Oneonta's sustainability

(Continued)

Though questions and topics considered by the task force were broad, the group’s report focused on four key areas — food, community environment and stewardship, energy, and transportation. Some comments and proposals in the report included:

• Food: The community’s agricultural history is a rich legacy and has a defining role. “We celebrate who we are by the agriculture in our region and we can take justifiable pride in the produce, meat and other goods that are produced here,” the task force said. “Sustainable communities promote deeper and richer relationships with local growers.”

Recommendations included creating a relationship with Chobani to open an outlet store in the city to attract other businesses; coordinate and develop community gardening; improve the online presence of local food-related businesses; and promote a citywide composting program.

• Community environment and stewardship: Every city funnels in goods and services and generates new products and waste, and a sustainable city strives for stewardship of “vital inputs” and to minimize waste and pollution.

“If we embrace the goal of preserving Oneonta’s environment and fostering stewardship of these ecological services, we will need to establish a monitoring protocol for the baseline quality of our air, water and habitat over the next 20 years,” the report said. Recommendations included creating educational and stewardship programs; implementing a climate action plan; and exploring rail yard development for sustainable economic development with links to local food production or as a site for recycling programs.

• Energy: The community needs to advocate for renewable energy programs. Recommendations included joining the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives; reviewing energy practices and developing policies to reduce energy use and emissions; investigating small-scale wind energy projects; creating a task force to generate proposals for grants from the state’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program; and generating incentives to attract “green business.”

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