Each year since 2006, Sarasota County Government has developed and hosted a Sustainable Communities Workshop. Designed to bring together the community to discuss the latest sustainability topics, the day-long workshops feature expert speakers, breakout sessions, exhibitors, demonstrations and more. The annual events draw scores of residents, business leaders, institutions, government agencies and organizations for the opportunity to meet, learn and interact.
For the latest on our current workshop, visit the Sustainable Communities Workshop web page. To learn about previous workshops, click on a year below to see more information from that event.
The 14th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop—"Growing Greener Generations"—drew more than 200 attendees to learn vital information from more than two-dozen panelists and speakers, including keynote speakers Josh Tickell, Chris Castro, and Syd Kitson. Expert speakers and panelists provided up-to-date information on community strategies, resources, solutions, as well as best practices from other communities.
- sustainable food systems,
- renewable energy,
- social equity,
- climate change,
- regional sustainability,
- youth activity/engagement,
- and more.
The 13th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop – "Unique Perspectives for Community Solutions" – brought the community together to discuss sustainability priorities. Expert speakers provided up-to-date information on community strategies, resources, solutions, as well as best practices from other communities.
- the overview effect, with "The Artistic Astronaut" Nicole Stott,
- plastic pollution solutions,
- environmental communication,
- habitat restoration,
- food, and more
- Keynote: Back to Earth (Nicole Stott)
- Keynote: Communicating Beyond the Choir (Dr. Joanna Huxster)
- Habitat Restoration (Lightning Talk): Best Practices and Benefits of Living Shorelines (Armando Ubeda)
- Habitat Restoration (Lightning Talk): Indian Beach Sapphire Shores (Jack Merriam)
- Habitat Restoration (Lightning Talk): Pelican Cove (Bill McKay)
- Habitat Restoration (Lightning Talk): South Venice Waterway (Harrison Fox)
- Breakout – Sustainable Building: Innovating a Greener Future (Jennifer Rominiecki)
- Breakout – Sustainable Building: LEEDing the Way to Net Zero Plus Communities (Marshall Gobuty)
- Breakout – Sustainable Building: Results of a Meaningful Process in Architecture and Place (Sean Williams)
- Green Business: Waste Reduction at the Market (Phil Pagano)
- Green Business: Green Events – Eco Product Solutions (Alyson Zildjian)
- Green Business: Sustainable Businesses – The Exciting Path Forward (Dr. Charles Reith)
- Ready for 100 Update (Stevie Freeman-Montes)
- Breakout – Transportation: Extending the Legacy Trail – From Vision to Reality (Roger Normand)
- Breakout – Climate Change: The Shrinking Timeline for Global Warming (Tim Rumage)
- Breakout – Climate Change: Drawdown – Local Climate Solutions (Christine Quigley)
- Breakout – Climate Change: Entirely Possible – Solar Solutions (Julia Herbst)
- Food Strategies and Solutions (Lightning Talk): Community Gardens – Sowing Seeds of Sustainability (Mack Lessig / Mindy Hanak)
- Food Strategies and Solutions (Lightning Talk): Local Community Composting Initiatives (Tracie Troxler)
- Food Strategies and Solutions (Lightning Talk): Gulf Coast Oyster Recycling and Restoration (Robert Baugh)
- Food Strategies and Solutions (Lightning Talk): Sustainable Production of Fish and Sea Vegetables (Kevan Main)
The 12th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop, "Building a Better Future, Together," featured speakers with up-to-date information on community strategies and resources, as well as best practice from other communities.
- sustainable living,
- climate change,
- social equity,
- green building, and more.
The workshop also featured interactive, breakout demonstration sessions on permaculture, composting, transportation, sustainable purchasing, and other topics.
- Keynote: Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (Dr. Randall Wells)
- Keynote: Social Equity (Nathaniel Smith)
- Predictions and Preparations for Climate Change: Climate Change/Sea Level Rise (John Englander); Ocean Acidification (Dr. Emily Hall); City of Sarasota Climate Change Vulnerability Study and Adaptation Plan (Stevie Freeman-Montes)
- Going Solar in the Sunshine State: Solar Overview (Bill Johnson); 100% Renewable Initiative (Sean Sellars); Property Assessed Clean Energy (Lee Hayes Byron)
- Engaging Community: Non-Profit Involvement (Arlene Sweeting); Engaged Citizen in Local Government & Neighborhood Challenge (Jane Grogg)
- Sharing a Pathway to Equity: ALICE Study (Holly Bullard); Environmental Justice/Newtown (Vickie Oldham)
- Innovations in the Built Environment: Green Building Overview (Drew Smith); Promoting Health Benefits through an Age-Friendly Built Environment (Dr. Kathy Black)
The 11th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop – "Paths to a Sustainable Future" – brought expert speakers to deliver information on community strategies and resources, as well as best practice from other communities.
- valuing nature,
- strategies for smart(er) growth,
- building community resilience,
- edible innovation, and others.
Workshop attendees met with local groups to work on sustainability actions. Creating pathways to a sustainable future requires participation from everyone to identify and implement innovative and appropriate solutions that support community needs.
- Keynote: Oh, Florida (Craig Pittman)
- Keynote: City Repair Project (Ridhi D'Cruz)
- Valuing Nature: Natural Environment in Sarasota County (Christine Johnson)
- Valuing Nature: Habitat Restoration (Dr. Jay Leverone)
- Valuing Nature: Sustainable Tourism (Dr. David Randle)
- Strategies for Smarter Growth: Urban Design (Karin Murphy)
- Strategies for Smarter Growth: Affordable Housing (Allen Parsons)
- Strategies for Smarter Growth: Bicycle and Pedestrian (Patrick Lui)
- Building Community Resilience: Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (Sophee Payne / Carol Jeffers)
- Building Community Resilience: Climate Vulnerability Assessment (Stevie Freeman-Montes)
- Building Community Resilience: Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact (Jason Liechty)
- Edible Innovations: East End Market (John Rife)
- Edible Innovations: All Faiths Food Bank (Ryan Beaman)
The 10th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop – "Learning from Our Past, Charting Our Future" – was held Dec. 3, 2015.
The workshop brought together the community to reflect on 10 years of sustainability actions and discussions.
- Sustainability Assessment Report (10 years)
- Sustainability Leaders
The 9th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop focused on "Growing Healthy, Resilient and Prosperous Communities."
Residents, business leaders, institutions, government agencies and organizations gathered to learn through information-rich sessions and panel discussions. Community solutions shared included:
- improved health,
- access to local, healthy food,
- community actions that address resiliency,
- business choices for community prosperity, and others.
- Community Food System (Kristian Blessington)
- Critical Role for Local (MIchael Shuman)
- Delicious Development (Michael Shuman)
- Eat Local 2014 (Don Hall)
- Efficiency Durability Affordability (Michael Sollitto)
- Healthy Sarasota County (Beth Kregenow)
- Fresh Access Bucks (Carmen Franz)
- Incorporating Resiliency (Jay Leverone)
- Post Disaster Redevelopment (Laird Wreford)
- Resiliency of Water Resources (Pierce Jones)
- Sarasota Farm to School (Malory Foster)
- Role of Sustainable Business (Sharon Hanna)
- The Discussion Groups – Final Results
- The Sticker Results – I Want (blank) in My Sustainable Community
National experts and local leaders shared insights on both innovative practices for sustainability as well as collaborative ventures that maximize the benefits to the community and the businesses involved.
Focal areas included alternative financing and economic development opportunities, sustainable transportation and eco-tourism.
Held Oct. 30, 2012, the 7th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop convened under an "Innovation for the Future" theme.
Individuals, organizations, businesses, institutions and government agencies gathered to learn and share community solutions, including:
- electric transportation,
- green homes and buildings,
- local food entrepeneurs,
- improved health,
- Renewable and sustainable economy, and others.