Our mission at the Chesapeake Sustainability Institute* is to promote research and education in sustainability of the earth for future generations.
To quote Rachel Carson, “Water, soil, and the earth’s green mantle of plants make up the world that supports the animal life of the earth.” That animal life includes human life, us! Our green mantle is precious and priceless. We are losing arable land and green space everyday while the population is growing at a greater pace. Sustainability is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long term ecological balance. 2200 colleges and universities now offer certificates and sustainability degrees across the country.
The Chesapeake Sustainability Institute was founded in 1979 by an organic farmer. It was clear to him that sustainable farming practices provided answers to many of the environmental challenges facing our country, such as soil erosion, energy conservation, carbon sequestration, clean water, and access to fresh local, healthy food. Our mission aims to educate the public about the biosphere, including how sustainable farming can play a vital role in improving the health of young people today, providing whole, local, sustainable and nutrient-rich foods. Underground there is an invisible army of microbes. There are more microbes in one teaspoon of soil than humans on earth. A well fed army of microbes can go to work strengthening the soil, grow more food, hold more water, breakdown pollutants, prevent erosion and sequester carbon where it belongs. (Kate Scow, U.C Davis, University of California)
The Chesapeake Sustainability Institute advocates for, sponsors and supports local programs that advance knowledge and fosters the application of scientific and social disciplines that effect our health, environment and natural resources. We are in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and will work cooperatively with all organizations within its boundaries for preservation of natural resources and sustainability. Currently, our projects focus on Montgomery County Maryland. We promote projects that nurture the minds and bodies of our children. We advocate for wholesome nourishing food in our school system and placed-based experiential learning which leads to higher academic performance. A recent Brookings study found that in years when a school contracts with a healthy lunch provider, students at the school score 4 percent better on end-of-year academic tests but children who qualify for FARMs (Free and Reduced Meals) had test score increases about 40 percent larger! Researched backed benefits of hands-on, placed based, experiential education shows enhanced overall academic achievement in K-12 settings, including grades and test scores; increased opportunities for physical activity, social and emotional growth and increased school engagement (http://farmtoschool.org). Twenty one percent of children in the Montgomery County Public Schools are overweight and obese and rates are twice as high for Black/African Americans and Hispanic children than White children (and the rate is still increasing).
As we go through our daily routines we are not likely to be thinking of how our actions affect our ecology or the biosphere. We take for granted that an abundance of healthy food, clean water, and quality air will always be there to sustain our well-being. Do we know where our food comes from and how it is produced? Do we understand that biodiversity is essential to sustain the cycle of life? Our future depends on it. See this illuminating short video about carbon balance. It is essential that our next generation of leaders, our children, appreciate our beautiful blue planet and delicate green mantle that supports us. That starts with knowledge and awareness of local, sustainable food and agriculture and their responsibility for that sustainable future.
We will publicize projects fostering our mission to inform the public (Facebook etc.) and provide demonstration models for others to follow. We invite projects that are congruent with our mission who would like to formally become a non-profit organization to join the Chesapeake Sustainability Institute.
*The Chesapeake Institute for Local Sustainable Food and Agriculture (CILSFA), is a 501(c) (3) registered in Maryland. CILSFA is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions on behalf of our projects.