The Environmental Center announced the 2021 Sustainability Award winners during a live-streamed celebration from Open Space Event Studios on Thursday, November 4.
The Environmental Center presented three Sustainability Awards to:
- Well Rooted Farms
- Kôr Community Land Trust
- Bend Bikes
Read more about them below.
Award recipients were selected by a community review committee. Nominees were scored on their contributions to all three pillars of sustainability – meeting human needs equitably, living within our planet’s ecological limits, and building a prosperous economy for all – without compromising the ability for future generations to do the same. The three winners were selected because they demonstrated a strong commitment to all three pillars, in addition to leadership across the community. Each received a hand-crafted award designed by local artist, Dr. Timothy Burnett.
The event kicked off with an engaging panel discussion with local youth leaders. The discussion highlighted actions, ideas, and solutions for a healthier, more sustainable future.
Well Rooted Farms is a family-owned business that grows organic vegetables, pasture raised eggs, and meat for the Central Oregon region. In addition to their commitment to regenerative agriculture practices, they offer a “U-Pick” vegetable garden in Tumalo that allows community members to connect with and harvest their own food.
Well Rooted Farms is on a mission to educate people where food comes from. Using signage and other materials, the unique U-Pick experience is designed to educate individuals and families about how food gets from farm to kitchen tables. They extend educational resources to the community through their social media channels.
Well Rooted Farms also stocks a vegetable shed near Ridgeview High School as a convenient way for people to purchase an abundance of healthy, nutritious vegetables on the run. The shed is stocked daily (sometimes twice daily), and is completely solar-powered.
In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, Kôr Community Land Trust stands out because they are creating sustainable, affordable homeownership opportunities for Central Oregon’s workforce. Not only is Kôr addressing a critical need in the community, but they are doing so with homes that meet goal net zero energy standards. Kôr uplifts low-to-moderate income households by relieving energy burden and using green building strategies to provide healthy homes powered by clean energy. The homes are guaranteed to be resold at affordable prices which ensures permanent housing affordability as a lasting asset to the region.
As Kôr strives to break down barriers to homeownership, they are engaging vendors and partners along the way to engage with and adopt sustainable building practices. The nonprofit is also advocating for bigger change and impact – such as a grey water reuse permitting process to be approved within Bend.
Bend Bikes is an all volunteer organization that engages with and advocates on behalf of families and people who bike in Bend with City leadership, staff, and other key decision makers. Their mission is to advocate for Bend as a complete city and to ensure that people from all communities and abilities feel safe biking around Bend. With approximately 40% of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, this is an admirable mission with benefits for people and the planet.
Bend Bikes believes that our community must move forward with inclusive, sustainable, and equitable transportation planning — a model that not only embraces mobility outside of owning a car, but that prioritizes the needs of low income residents and communities of color. Bend Bikes’ vision of a 15-minute city would allow people who walk, bike, and roll to access essential services, jobs, and schools safely.
In addition to their local grassroots efforts, Bend Bikes is stepping up as a local advocacy leader. The organization is providing leadership on the City of Bend’s Transportation Bond Oversight Committee, and in working with Neighborhood Associations to support safer transportation project designs. Bend Bikes has also been active at the state level to help impact funding for multimodal infrastructure projects.