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How is Berks County being sustainable?

by Noah Rizzo, Alvernia University, citizen contributor

Nov 16, 2018

Berks County is in the middle of agricultural powerhouses such as Lehigh, Lebanon, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Chester county, this means the land around us not only provides a multitude of people with food, it is the home to hundreds of farms that have a significant environmental and economical impact on everyone. Some say farms are responsible for some of the environmental challenges we are facing today due to their frequent use of pesticides on the crops and GMOs that are fed to livestock, however farms contribute to the devastation to the environment just as business’ in the city and residents who live excessively. Berks County is making strides to become more sustainable for the betterment of the future of this county and the integrity of the land.

Berks Nature is one of the most influential business that has been making improvements in Berks County’s beautiful scenery since 1974, improvements such as land preservation, water protection, trail management, community gardens, and education programs. Berks nature also has various partnerships that they use to branch out to other business’ and make their efforts more sustainable, one of those partnerships are with Alvernia University, Berks Nature has recently moved their head quarters to Angelica park on the edge of Alvernia’s campus.

I work at Bog Turtle Creek Farm which is an experimental farm project through the Holleran Center at Alvernia University. It is a student led project that has 6 full time employees during the summer with a one acre fenced in area that holds more than 40 different varieties of produce in the summer season. This farm’s mission is to grow organic produce and to sell this produce at various markets around Reading to help with the food shortage in the urban area and to provide cheap and healthy food to those in need. Most of the produce is purchased with government assistance checks and food stamps. Alicia Sprow is the director of sustainability at Alvernia, and I spoke with her about sustainability in Berks County and she explained that Berks Nature is a large factor in sustainability here because they record data of businesses and factories usage of materials such as water, gas, electric and they monitor Berks County’s environmental impact over time.

Not only in Berks County, sustainability has become a trending topic around the world because we have recently realized some of the struggles our earth has been going through and that our environment has not been thriving due to our negative impact on it. We have been living in a society of temporary goods that are mass produced and there are so many negative effects on the environment and society from that but there is hope now that there are actual business’ that are based on sustainability there is a hope that other business’ and ultimately the people will realize what is at steak and make an attempt to lessen their impact on the environment.

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