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Sullivan Renaissance conference and expo

Jennifer Clark of the Eminence Road Farm Winery chats with Danielle Gaebel, manager of the Sullivan County Farmers’ Markets, at the local market set up at the Sullivan Renaissance annual winter conference in Ferndale, NY on March 9.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
March 13, 2013

The annual winter conference of Sullivan Renaissance was held at the CVI building in Ferndale on March 9, and was once again a magnet for the movers and shakers of the county and the region. Mingling among the crowd before the opening keynote speech were State Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Congressman Chris Gibson and a host of elected officials from Sullivan County.

As is the tradition with the conference and expo, the atrium of the CVI Building is transformed through the introduction of plants and flowers and also with the wares of local garden centers and nurseries. Program director Glenn Pontier said, “We love to give the sense of the transformative power the plants have because that’s really what our program is about: the communities are transforming themselves through flowers and gardens.”

This year, the list of vendors displaying their wares was expanded to the second floor cafeteria, and included a local market offering products from local producers Aunt Nenee’s, Brandenburg Pastry Bakery, Catskill Provisions, Catskill Distillery Company/Dancing Cat Saloon, Crimson Candle, Eminence Road Farm Winery, Heirloom Botanicals, Hilly Acres Farm, Java Love Coffee Roasting, Justus Ashalter Maple Syrup, Natural Contents, Northern Farmhouse Pasta and Root N Roost Farm.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Peter Tarlow, an international consultant on the positive impacts of community beautification on economic development and tourism. He spoke about the power and impact of volunteers to make change in their communities.

New this year, two additional staff members have been added to Sullivan Renaissance: Cara Kowalski is a volunteer coordinator and Diana Weiner is a horticulture coordinator.

Also this year, there will be a new contest targeted at the summer community, the camps and bungalow colonies, and helping them understand that a person has a responsibility to the earth. The prize for that contest will be $10,000 for one of the summer institutions that does the best job of cleaning up and looking better.

The involvement of young people will also be expanded this year and an award will be given in each of the Sullivan Renaissance categories for “outstanding involvement with young people.”

Visit www.sullivanrenaissance.org.

or call 845/295-2445 for more information about the programs or how to become involved.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.