The theme for the fourth annual Sustainable Urban Landscape conference being held at Cuyamaca College March 8 is “The Bottom Line for Green is Black,” examining the ways that good landscaping practices can be a profitable business model in addition to helping the environment.
The keynote speaker for the event is architect John Picard, known as the “green prophet” for his pioneering work in sustainability. He was a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed and built. He has conceptualized and built hundreds of the smartest homes, workplaces and communities in America and his vision guides the future planning of dozens of Fortune 500 companies.
Last year, more than 250 people attended the conference, geared toward landscape professionals, educators and others interested in keeping current with the latest in sustainable landscape practices. The conference, hosted by Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture department, is being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the college’s Performing Arts Theatre, with a reception to follow at the Water Conservation Garden.
“This conference is just one of the many ways that Cuyamaca College is on the forefront of training for people interested in better using our natural resources,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “We recognize that green jobs are good for the environment and the economy.”
Other speakers at the conference include:
· Dennis Pittenger, environmental horticulturist at UC Riverside and a nationally-recognized expert in landscape water management
· David Shaw, a farm advisor with the University of California Extension in San Diego. His work includes assessing the needs and presenting educational and research programs for landscape professionals.
· Richard Restuccia, director of water management solutions at ValleyCrest Companies, Inc.
· Tom Jesch, owner of Waterwise Botanicals, a wholesale/retail nursery that specializes in drought-tolerant and cutting-edge plant varieties.
The conference will also feature a discussion on the business of urban farming that will be moderated by author and educator Nan Sterman. Panelists include Karen Contreras, the founder of Urban Plantations, a company dedicated to city-dwelling sanctuaries; Bill Tall, founder of City Farmers Nursery; and Crystal Montoya, a certified grower who produces food from her home for farmers markets.
Sessions will also be held at the Water Conservation Garden on the Cuyamaca College campus with talks by garden employees about practices that are influencing the San Diego style of sustainable landscapes.Registration for the conference is $90 before Feb. 29, and $100 after Feb. 29. Registration includes the presentations, vendor displays, along with breakfast, lunch, and a post-conference reception. Parking is free. For more information or to register, visit www.cuyamaca.edu/ohweb.