Building community and sustainability leaders in So. Jersey!
When you approach Croft Farm in Cherry Hill at twilight (or any time of day), you canâ€™t help but wonder how lucky you are to live in a region with such historic and scenic treasures. This Cherry Hill Township site that includes the vibrant and active Arts Center tucked behind the historic farm house has been well maintained and expanded through the decades. The Croft Farm Arts Center was the site for Sustainable Cherry Hillâ€™s two-day event, Our Sustainable Future: The YOU in Community. Sustainable Cherry Hill, with its mission of Â ”bringing people together to build a sustainable South Jersey”, Â reached out with a regional focus for this event. Â Almost half of the attendees were NOT from Cherry Hill. Â We had representatives from towns, such as Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Stratford, Evesham, Mt. Laurel, Â Burlington City, Camden, Collingswood, Riverton, Hammonton, Philadephia and more.
Following weeks of planning, Friday eveningâ€™s event started with a twilight hike along Croft Farmâ€™s National Recreation trail.Â Sustainable Cherry Hill member and township planner, Natalie Barney led the hike pointing out the splendid natural area that so many more people are discovering. Back inside the arts center, we brought the outdoors in. The splendid weather allowed us to open the barn doors so the more than 50 people attending the free dinner could socialize, network and enjoy organic, U.S. wine, Flying Fish beer and a delicious dinner from Tutti Toscani Caterers.Â For those with a sweet tooth, there were plenty of homemade and locally purchased desserts to enjoy.
While the lively conversation, food, beer and wine would have been enough, the melodious sounds of the Cherry Hill/Voorhees-based band, Dichroic Glass provided an extra touch that really made the evening so special. The band played original music and cover tunes that kept toes tapping throughout the evening.
After a nightâ€™s rest, the scene shifted to Trinity Presbyterian Church on Route 70 where the morning of work and discussion took place following a continental breakfast. Â Three tracks provided attendees with outlets to learn and talk about: Leadership training, visioning and community outreach. Many people connected with new people or reconnected with others they hadnâ€™t seen in a while. The aim of the sessions was to get people talking about how to advance the sustainability mission throughout the region. There were ideas for reaching more students in the region; finding and connecting with supporters within local governments; and enthusiasm toward creating an effort to educate the public about healthy eating. Many wheels started turning to generate a more robust reach to take sustainability efforts to new heights. Our final activity, “Just One Thing”, encouraged attendees to publicly pledge how they were going to take sustainability to the next level in their personal, community or professional lives. Â Check out the great photos by Rob Blatt here.
Special Â thanks:
Submitted by Brenda Jorett, SCH Communications Director and Public Relations Consultant