Monthly Archives: March 2016

When You’re Happy, We’re Happy

RenewLV would just like to say…


When you’re happy, we’re happy…

Over the course of the last year, many people answered the call to “Join the Local Food Revolution.”

You came.  You saw.  You ate.  You talked.  You shared your passion for fixing some aspect of our broken food systems.  You met interesting people doing exciting work. You made new connections.

Since December of 2014, we’ve gathered together seven times to look at improving various aspects of the Lehigh Valley’s complex food system on these topics:

  • December 12, 2014  Ann Palmer: Food Policy Councils, EnvisionLV
  • January 29, 2015 Growing a Local Food Economy Conversations
  • March 30, 2015 “What’s Cooking?” Local Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship
  • May 29, 2015 Focus on Urban Agriculture
  • September 24, 2015 Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council Formal Launch
  • October 29, 2015 “Making Connections” Growing Our Own Food Economy
  • February 26, 2016 “Save It or Pave It” Farmland Preservation

How did these events go?

Repeatedly we heard from people that they enjoyed them.  People talked about “the energy in the room.”  We saw that each event attracted a full room of passionate people willing to roll up their sleeves and innovate solutions.

We conducted a satisfaction survey half way through the schedule of events to see how we were doing.

87% of respondents said they learned information or made a connection that helped them with a project.


They also said they were inspired and enjoyed the energy and hopefulness of like-minded people working in the Lehigh Valley.

They further noted that they learned about exciting programs and positive shifts in thinking to support healthy people and communities.

But some people also said, “Sure, there were some great conversations, but what actually come out of those meetings?”

That’s a fair question.

We gathered the people together to inspire, connect and listen to each other.  We believed that when we come together like this, we create an environment where it’s easy to work together to self-create solutions.

Did that happen?

Todd Nemura of the Children’s Home of Easton ran into a funder at one of our lunch/discussions.  Already supporting one program of his organization, the funder encouraged Todd to apply for funding for a second program.  Todd followed up and he was awarded a grant that permitted him to provide healthy food and gardening education to approximately 100 urban children.


Cathy Coyne of LVHN said that she found the lunch/discussions good places to connect and find out what other people in the community are doing around healthy food.  As a result, when the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council formally launched in September 2015, she was energized to co-chair the Consumer Education working group.  This group is collaborating to create information about where to access fresh food so that doctors can easily hand that information to their patients.

Jesse Barrett of Rodale Institute connected with Zeke Zelker at one of our events and they collaborated to provide nutrition and gardening information at an existing program with which Zeke is affiliated, The Community Canvas Program.  This four year old in-school program, a partnership between LVHN and Lehigh Valley Art Spark, now includes Rodale Institute as a partner.  This year Rodale Institute will provide a farmer to present urban gardening concepts and “how food grows” education in addition to garden towers for each school.  This program combines healthy living and food and gardening education with the arts for approximately 150 to 400 students in each of six elementary and middle schools.  The student artists are given a lunchbox full of supplies and asked to create a piece of art work based upon what they learned in the school assembly.  Not only are they learning about healthy living through gardening, but they are expressing what they are learning through art!

It worked!  These gatherings are a place where innovation and collaboration happen. We couldn’t be happier.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg!  We would love to know if you participated, “What was your experience?  Do you have a quick story of some good that came out of attending one of our lunch/discussion meetings on food?

Please let us know.

Also, if you have not already registered for the next gathering of the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council, our Semi-Annual Meeting on 4/5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethlehem, you will want to do so now.  flyer

This is the chance you have to plug into the exciting work of the one or more of the working groups on these topics:

  1. Food Access – limited access, government assistance emergency resources, traditional retail markets, non-traditional urban markets
  2. Consumer Education – healthy diets, where to find and how to use nutritious food
  3. Organic Agriculture and Community Gardens – community gardens, urban farms, alternative food resources, organic agriculture methods
  4.  Food Respect and Recovery – food recovery, compost and recovery
  5.  Land Use – farmland preservation
  6.  Farm to School – improving healthy food options in Lehigh Valley schools through increased utilization of local foods, educating community school boards, administrators, and teachers of the many benefits of utilizing local food purchases
  7.  Farming – overcoming farming barriers, new farmer training and retention, planning for the local food eocnomy
  8.  Infrastructure – distribution, processing, aggregation, distribution, wholesale buyers, farms to institutions
  9.  Entrepreneurship – growing the local food eocnomy through addressing barriers to start up and scaling up of local food and beverage businesses

It’s sure to be a really dynamic evening.

We would LOVE to have you come join us so that you can contribute your voice to the larger effort, plug into a working group that captures your passion and be a part of the Lehigh Valley’s food revolution.

Mark your calender for The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council Semi-Annual Meeting gathering on April 5th from 5:45-8 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley at 424 Center Street, Bethlehem PA  18018.

Register now here,

Or, send an email to

Or call 484-893-1060 to reserve your spot

The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council is a project organized using the principles of Collective Impact in which the following nineteen organizations work together to gain traction on reducing food insecurity and growing the local food economy:

The Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council includes United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, CACLV, Second Harvest Food Bank, Rodale Institute, Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley, the Nurture Nature Center, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Sodexo, The Seed Farm, RenewLV, Penn State Extension, Seven Generations Charter School, Lafayette College, New Bethany Ministries, Lehigh County Community Revitalization and Development, Northampton County Department of Economic Development, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.

We look forward to seeing you on 4/5!  Register today!

Joyce Marin, Executive Director of RenewLV