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EA Attends the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Washington, DC
By Matt Drewno, Green Belt Mini-Farm Manager

Gene, Steve, Rose, Tania, Matt and John at the conference.

January 19–21, 2016, Ecology Action participated in the 16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, DC. This year's conference was titled, The Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The event was sponsored by several major organizations including the USDA, NASA, the US Department of Energy, the USGS and UNEP.

We participated in this event largely thanks to the work of Tania Slewecki and Gene Bazan. Both Tania and Gene have been involved in a broad range of leadership positions in sustainability issues at Penn State University and beyond. They currently run Neo-Terra, a Biointensive Mini-Farm in Lemont, PA, ( They were the organizing force that made our contribution to the Food-Energy-Water Nexus possible.

Each day of the 3-day event was organized into 3 sessions. Keynotes and Plenaries filled the mornings with presentations on global issues such as Megatrends in Food, Energy and Water. Symposiums took place in the early afternoon and covered topics such as Feeding 9, 10, 11 Billion Sustainably and Managing Nutrients, Water, and Energy for Producing More Food with Low Pollution. The late afternoons offered workshops that included dialogue with the audience after presentations by folks working to address the issues of Food, Energy and Water. In all there were over 100 key presenters speaking on more than 50 topics related to the subject.

A common theme throughout the conference was that of working together—of synchronizing efforts and approaching the challenges of the future with a greater sense of the connections and interrelationships between the issues and the solutions. In addition, many of the presentations focused on the data and trends. Many of those attending were enthusiastic to see such a practical, community-based solution represented by Ecology Action.

Ecology Action representatives John Jeavons, Steve Moore, Matt Drewno, Tania Slewecki and Gene Bazan held the floor during the workshop entitled Implementing an Ecologically Sustainable Food Production System to Address the Food, Energy and Water Nexus. As our workshop was one of the final ones of the 3-day event, and as it occurred just hours before a major blizzard was about to blanket the northeastern US with over 2 feet of snow, we were delighted to have a good turnout at our workshop. Our presentation focused on the more than 40 years of data, research and experience Ecology Action has developed toward sustainable agriculture in communities around the world. The final portion of our presentation was an open discussion with audience members on how to encourage genuinely sustainable Biointensive agriculture in communities. Several compelling ideas were developed, including access to land, integrating Biointensive practices into school curriculums and a Biointensive stimulus package which could enable more small-scale farmers to take root in communities across the US. The discussion was inspiring, and it was clear that those in attendance were hungry for ways to increase the spread of Biointensive practices focused on healthy soil, food and community.

To read more about the conference, visit

To view videos created by Neo-Terra, visit

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