Center for Sustainable Communities
May 20, 2014
Community feedback influences 2014 edible landscape plans
By responding to an online survey administered this winter, Luther students, staff and faculty played a role in shaping the composition of the gardens for the 2014 growing season. Gardens will include cherry tomatoes, ground cherries, eggplant, peppers, basil, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, mini watermelon, kale, chard, beans and common herbs. Everyone is welcome to harvest from these gardens, which are  located in front of Valders and behind Ylvisaker Hall. Just be sure to close the gate  beyind you to keep out the critters!

The goal of Luther's edible landscapes is to demonstrate the beauty of diverse vegetables and edible flowers and to reconnect people with food plants. Luther's first edible landscape garden is located near Valders and was the result of a student-initiated project for an environmental philosophy class.  The success of the first garden led to the creation of the edible landscape located behind Ylvisaker Hall. To learn more about the history of edible landscapes and other gardens on campus, visit the Growing Gardens website.   
Cornerstone Environmental releases preliminary draft of landfill gas study report
Earlier this year Luther was selected to receive a State Energy Program Formula award to fund a feasibility study to assess potential beneficial uses of landfill gas (LFG) generated at the Winneshiek County Landfill as an energy source for Luther College. The study seeks to analyze four options:
  • Cap and flare the LFG
  • Cap and utilize the LFG to fuel an onsite 500 kW electric generator
  • Cap, compress and pipe LFG 12 miles to Luther College heating plant
  • Cap, compress and transport LFG by truck to Luther College heating plant   
Cornerstone Environmental, the organization conducting the study, has recently given Luther a preliminary draft of their findings.  Cornerstone estimates approximately 23,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases could be destroyed at the landfill.  The report also estimates total capital costs associated with each of the four options:
1) Collection and Flaring On-Site, $800,000; 2) Collection and Electricity Generation On-Site, $2,900,000; 3) Trucking LFG to Luther Heating Plant, $2,800,000; and 4) Pipeline to Luther Heating Plant, $3,800,000. The final draft of the study will be completed by the end of June 2014 and will articulate all assumptions and fully estimate annual operating costs, any energy or carbon offset savings, and calculate paybacks for each option.
Registration for summer cooking classes open
The Center for Sustainable Communities' summer cooking classes schedule and course descriptions are now available on the sustainability website. Classes are open to all faculty, staff and students and are some of the many food education events offered to participants of the CSA Reimbursement Program. Classes are designed to provide an opportunity to experience new cooking skills and techniques and will cover everything from whole food smoothies to pickling, pesto and beyond! All classes are free, but registration is required. For a full course list and to register, visit the Cooking Classes webpage.
Education for Sustainable Development Conference seeks student representatives 
A youth delegation is being selected to go to a youth conference (ages 18-35) on education for sustainable development (ESD) in Japan this November. The U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development is very involved with ESD and would like to see a full contingent of youth attend.

The application can be found here. Application deadline is June 1st. For more information about the conference, visit the sustainability websiteIf selected, airfare and accommodations are paid. 
Move-out waste diversion
As the end of the year approaches, students are encouraged to donate or recycle unwanted items. Trash to Treasures is an annual event run by the men's basketball team that collects usable, unwanted items to sell during and after finals week. Each residence hall has a designated room where students can drop off donations, which are then brought to the Ashmore-Jewel Barn to be sorted and sold. All proceeds benefit the men's basketball program. Remaining items are packed up and donated to local resale shops. The 2014 Trash to Treasure sales will take place in the Ashmore-Jewell Barn on Friday, May 23 from 7:30-9:30am and 4-6pm and Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day) from 7:00am-1:30pmFor more information about the history of the event and what can be accepted, visit the Trash to Treasure webpage.  

Students wishing to get rid of unwanted items can also utilize the Blue Alps, Luther's online outlet to exchange and share goods. Created by Luther students, the Blue Alps allows anyone with a Luther email address to buy, sell, and exchange items within the Luther community. Go to for more information.
Pre-College Program accepting applications through June 1st
The Center for Sustainable Communities has extended its deadline for 2014 Summer Pre-College Environmental Studies Program applications. The Pre-College Environmental Studies program is a week-long residential program for innovative high school students with a passion for the environment and an interest in creative problem solving. Students will get to explore current environmental and social issues through outdoor field experience and project-based research working with Luther professors and faculty.  For more information on the program and to apply, visit the Pre-College Program website.
Sustainability Tip
Purchasing sunscreen for a summer's worth of fun activities? Consider the impact your product has on the environment! Researchers' estimate that an astonishing 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers into oceans, lakes and rivers every year, impacting the endocrine systems of aquatic wildlife and reducing overall water quality. Also, many sunscreens contain chemicals that are harmful to humans. Rather than lathering on sunscreen, use more protective clothing (hats, long sleeves), umbrellas, or purchase  biodegradable sunscreen. For a complete list of sunscreen do's and don't, visit the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreen, or download their app on Itunes.
This newsletter is provided by the Center for Sustainable Communities, which coordinates all sustainability initiatives at Luther College.  The mission of the Center is to promote sustainability and be a catalyst for change on campus and in the region.  For more information on sustainability initiatives at Luther and the outreach work of the Center for Sustainable Communities, please visit:
Upcoming Events
Friday, May 23 & Monday, May 26- Trash to Treasure Sales
 Ashmore-Jewell Barn
Come browse and purchase items that students donated during finals week and move-out. Visit the website or read below for more details and exact times!
Monday, June 2: Eating Your Yard-  Incorporating Edibles Into the Landscape
 12:15-1:15pm. Location TBD. 
Join Jeff Scott from Driftless Gardens to learn about growing more edible food in your pre-existing landscapes. Read more and register here
Student Spotlight
Jamie Stallman '14

Jamie Stallman is a Senior from Fargo, ND. He is double majoring in Religion and Biology with hopes someday of teaching religion with a focus on Environmental Ethics and Comparative Theology. As a Sustainability student worker, Jamie works mostly with alternative transportation and reducing Luther's waste stream, and is leading Luther's move-out waste efforts. He is also the SPOKES President and is commonly referred to as the 'bike' or 'SPOKES' guy on campus. Jamie will be taking a gap year following graduation, and will attend Yale University for a Masters of Arts in Religion in the fall of 2015.
Assistant Farm Manager- Red Earth Farms 
Red Earth Gardens in Tama, Iowa is looking for an Assistant Farm Manager for the 2014 growing season.  This position is full-time, year round and has room for growth based on your interests and background. Read More
Farming Assistant- Oostburg, Wisconsin  
A local farmer in Oostburg, Wisconsin is seeking summer help on his 5 acre farm to grow and harvest produce that is donated to the Meals on Wheels chapter in Sheboygan, WI. Read more
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