How can Boston and other cities become more sustainable? Can local food and slow living lead to healthier food and more happiness, and improve our fast-paced lives?

To answer these types of questions, Jute Marketing presented BostonEco’s “Fresh Ideas for Sustainable Urban Living,” a networking and panel discussion event on September 21, 2015, in Somerville, Massachusetts. We brought together bold thinkers, authors, and doers interested in planet-friendly living, to share their ideas on sustainable food, micro living, and healthy living.

This topic drew a diverse group, including urban agriculture experts, food activists, tiny home enthusiasts, non-profits, healthy living bloggers, food entrepreneurs and retailers, and many others to this sold-out event.

BostonEco Sustainable Panelists

The panel moderated by Janet Morgenstern Passani, founder of Jute Marketing and BostonEco, included:

New Slow City book* Bill Powers, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, author of New Slow City: Living Simply in the World’s Fastest City, and expert in sustainable development and conservation, currently residing in Bolivia.

* Jessie Banhazl, founder and CEO of Green City Growers, a Boston-based urban agriculture business that transforms unused space into thriving urban farms.

* Ali Berlow, author The Food Activist Handbook – Big & Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community, and former founding executive director of Island Grown Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to supporting local farmers on Martha’s Vineyard.

The evening was filled with fresh ideas, creative thinking, and memorable moments. Jessie Banhazl energized the audience to create new norms as she explained her innovative idea of incorporating rooftop gardens into all new building designs. After successfully launching a rooftop vegetable garden at Fenway Park, and atop supermarkets and office buildings, why not go further with this idea? That’s food for thought.

Bill Powers led a spontaneous meditation by asking everyone to close their eyes and picture a place where we felt happy. It was a simple but powerful reminder to slow down and live simply and joyfully. The growing LOHAS The Food Activist Handbook(Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability) market indicates that more individuals are pausing and consciously selecting meaningful products that are thoughtfully created (i.e., fair trade), sustainably produced (i.e., locally grown), and carefully sourced (non-GMO).

Ali Berlow shared inspiring stories of grassroots efforts that started in her kitchen and with groups she met across the U.S., who are launching creative initiatives for healthier food in their kitchen and communities. The “you can do it” theme was motivational for sparking small steps and big changes.

Thank you to event co-sponsors: Net Impact Boston, connecting professionals and empowering change for environmental and social impact; the World Policy Institute; and Spindrift beverages.

Check out all the event photos.

 Janet Morgenstern Passani and Morgan Berman (My MilkCrate app)

Janet Morgenstern Passani and Morgan Berman (My MilkCrate app)

BostonEco is a community on a mission to further healthy, sustainable ideas locally in Boston and globally. Head over to Facebook to see photos and videos from other events, and also follow along on Twitter and Instagram. Don’t miss the next BostonEco event! Sign up for announcements on BostonEco is a Jute Marketing initiative.

Let’s continue the conversation on fresh sustainable ideas. What healthy initiatives and innovative thinkers inspire you? Leave a comment below and let us know!