The goal of these 2008 gatherings was to create festive environments in which diverse sectors of the larger Ithaca community came together to learn about and envision the elements of a truly just and sustainable local community.  We also sought to increase the level of trust, understanding and collaboration between social justice and sustainability organizations in our community by engaging a variety of partners in designing and implementing the events.

The gatherings engaged 40-80 people at each session, with the exception of the food-processing event, which attracted about 120. They explored the themes of “Just and Sustainable Lifestyles”,  “Sustainable Transportation For All”, “Green Jobs in our Region,” “ Spirituality, Self-Care, and Community”, “ Sustainable Health Care For All”  “Food Preserving for Community Self-reliance,” and “Justice and Sustainability in our Schools.”  There were three consistent strong threads noted in the feedback comments:  people’s inspiration at the range of individuals and organizations engaged in building a positive future for this community; their increased recognition of the vital links between social justice and sustainability; and their desire to follow up and work with different organizations they learned about in the programs, including a willingness to go “beyond their comfort zone.”