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IIRA Environmental Sustainability "Lite" Summit April 1; Full Summit in Fall 2014

January 16, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – Staff at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University have revamped the Spring Semester Environmental Summit this year and will kick off the spring season this year with a new event. According to IIRA Assistant Director Timothy Collins, the first annual WIU Environmental Sustainability Lite Conference will be held Tuesday, April 1 on the Macomb Campus. The conference is open free to the public.

"The IIRA will sponsor the annual Environmental Summit during the fall this year, and we have organized a smaller event to be held during April, which will also conclude our 2014 Spring Semester Sustainability Brownbaggers' sessions," Collins explained. "Because Earth Day is observed in April, we chose this date to present the new event, to help create awareness for the Earth's environment and to encourage sustainability. Earth Day was originated in the United States in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson and since 1990, it has been observed globally by more than 500 million people," he added.

The conference begins with a Brownbagger presentation by Terra Brockman from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Western's Leslie F. Malpass Library, fourth floor (west), followed with a late afternoon (4-5 p.m.) reception in the Malpass Library Garden Lounge. Brockman will give a second presentation from 7-8 p.m. in Stipes Hall 121.

Brockman Background
After completing her graduate degree in English literature and biology at Illinois State University, Brockman traveled to Japan to work as a teacher, writer and editor before she moved to New York City, where she worked as a writer and editor for nearly a decade. During those years, she traveled extensively, from Nepal to Eritrea to Morocco to the Baltics. While visiting the so-called "third world" countries she found she often ate better foods than in the U.S. because their foods were fresh, local and unprocessed.

In 2001, Brockman founded The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit dedicated to preserving farmland for sustainable farming, matching farmers with land, training new farmers and connecting consumers with local producers. She writes, speaks and advocates for many aspects of sustainable farming, food and farm issues. Her most recent book, "The Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm", was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2010. She has been honored with a Green Award from "Chicago Magazine," a Good Eating Award from the Chicago Tribune and a rural achievement award from Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon.

For more information, contact Sandy Wittig at the IIRA (309) 298-2637 or via email at Learn more about the IIRA at

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