LAWRENCE —The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas will host “Foodscapes: Urban Agriculture, Sustainable Design & Community Health” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 29, at the Dole Institute. It is free and open to the public.
“Foodscapes” is an interdisciplinary program where urban agriculture meets sustainable design and city planning. The growing movement strives to better feed communities and improve overall health, community involvement and job opportunities, while working toward an environmentally progressive way to exist and renew urban living. Expert panelists, Daniel Dermitzel of Cultivate KC, Bob Berkebile of the award-winning architecture, design and planning firm BNIM and Steve Roling of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City will explore the interconnectivity of the movement, as well as identify challenges and successful models.
“In our ongoing efforts to provide programming on a wide range of topics that intersect politics, we are thrilled to explore the topic of healthy, sustainable living,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. “This event is sure to highlight innovative practices, emerging trends and the ways in which policy, local governments and markets play a part.”
Dermitzel is associate director and co-founder of Cultivate KC, an urban agriculture association that works to create sustainable, community-engaged farms throughout the Kansas City metro area. The organization works to provide an abundance of fresh and healthy food to city residents, to increase job opportunities through farming, to beautify and revitalize neighborhoods and to contribute to healthier living for individuals. Dermitzel is the former co-owner of Trailside Farm in Calhoun, Mo., a certified-organic vegetable farm. He obtained a master’s in urban planning from UCLA, and his interests include the theory and practice of sustainability, permaculture and urban design. As a farmer, Dermitzel is primarily concerned with finding ways to increase farm system health while still meeting the farmer’s income expectations.
Berkebile is a founding principal at BNIM, a multidisciplinary architecture, planning and design firm, headquartered out of Kansas City. The firm is committed to design excellence and civic consciousness. Berkebile has focused his four-decade career on improving the quality of life in American society. Berkebile is the founding chairman of the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment and was also instrumental in the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED rating system. Among numerous awards, Berkebile received a Heinz Award from Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation in 2009 for his role in promoting green building design and for his commitment and action toward restoring social, economic and environmental vitality to America’s communities. He was also listed as No. 3 on a list of the Top 5 U.S. Individual Role Models for green and sustainable design in the 2009 Design Intelligence Sustainable Design Survey.
Roling is the president and CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. He started his career as resident director of a youth treatment center in Missouri, and then as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Sen. Tom Eagleton. For six years, Roling worked with the senator on human service issues. In 1985, he became publisher of the Kansas City Business Journal. In 1991, he joined the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and became the senior vice president of the foundation until 2002.
In 2003, former Gov. Bob Holden appointed Roling director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. In that role, he was responsible for a $6.2 billion budget with more than 8,500 staff and 300 local offices throughout the state. Currently, as president and CEO of the $472 million Health Care Foundation, he works with a dedicated staff committed to improving the quality of health care in the region.
The program is co-sponsored by The Merc, Kansas Public Radio, KU Center for Sustainability, American Institute of Architecture Students - KU Chapter, American Society of Civil Engineers - KU Chapter and the Bachelor of Social Work Student Group at KU.