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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Nature Prevails, a new Elemental Impact platform

Bigger than Us podcast 
promo graphic

Since inception in 2010 as the home for the Zero Waste Zones, Elemental Impact (Ei) embraced the "nature knows best" concept. Ei's work uses a holistic approach where the broad ramifications of action taken is assessed including the essential microbial communities.

As featured in her May 2020 Bigger than Us podcast interview, Ei Founder Holly Elmore is known for the following quote:

In order for life as we know it to survive and thrive on planet earth, we must - absolutely must - get our soil and water microbial communities back to a healthy, balanced state.

Food-Waste Collection for Compost
During the Ei Era of Recycling Refinement, from inception through June 2017, commercial collection of food waste for compost was a primary focus. In 2014, Ei announced post-consumer food-waste collection for compost or a state-permitted destination other than landfill was the prime Sustainable Food Court Initiative focus.

The "Nature Knows Best" slide in the
World Chef's Sustainability Course
In 2015 Ei prepared the waste & recycling curriculum for the World Chef's Feed the Planet Sustainability Education for Culinary Professionals, a course currently taught in culinary schools across the globe. For the food-waste composting section, a "Nature Knows Best!" slide discussed nature's perfect decomposition system and the role it plays in soil and plant health. For example, a tree’s decaying leaves contain up to 80% of the nutrition required for the tree to thrive.

Though they can emulate nature's system, humans cannot duplicate it. As human-created food-waste destinations stray further from natural parameters, the end product contains fewer nutrients required by the soil’s microbial community. Thus, Ei embraced outdoor windrow-compost operations as it emulates natural decomposition; Ei opposed anaerobic digestion of food waste as the system strays from natural decomposition. Ei's perspective was based on the implications for the soil and water microbial communities related to food-waste destination options.

In July 2017, the RiA Magazine article, Soil Health: regenerating the foundation of life, announced the Ei Soil Health platform. Within the announcement, Ei evolved from a focus on recycling refinement and food-waste collection for compost to Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity. Inherent within the Soil Health platform are focuses on Regenerative Agriculture, Carbon Sequestration, and Urban Carbon Sinks. Thus, Ei segued from the Era of Recycling Refinement and into the Era of Regeneration.

Carbon Crisis: simply a matter of balance
Within the Era of Regeneration, Ei's underlying premise is restoring balance to the Earth's five carbon pools: atmosphere, oceans, soils, biosphere, and fossil. Ei Strategic Ally Kiss the Ground's The Soil Story video explains the Earth’s carbon cycles in an easy-to-understand format where soil is the hero for regaining balance.

The RiA Magazine article, Carbon Crisis; simply a matter of balance, establishes carbon-crisis solutions that are grounded with two simple tactics: 1> align systems within Nature’s proven cycles and 2> rely on basic supply | demand economics. Regenerative-agriculture practices align with these two tactics and are integral to balancing the carbon cycles. 

In the November 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, Ei coined the term Urban Carbon Sinks where regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are the protocol. Ei's Urban Carbon Sink Pilot $100,000 grant proposal was a finalist in the Ray C. Anderson 2020 NextGen Grant process. Due to COVID-related challenges, the 2020 final grant proposal was not submitted. An impressive Urban Carbon Sinks team is excited for the 2021 NextGen Grant request for proposals.

Holocene Extinction (sixth mass extinction)
According to the November 2019 Science Alert article, Are We Really in a 6th Mass Extinction? Here's The Science, current conditions indicate that the Earth's Holocene extinction, or sixth mass extinction, is well underway. From the article:

A mass extinction is usually defined as a loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a "short" geological period of time. Given the vast amount of time since life first evolved on the planet, "short" is defined as anything less than 2.8 million years. 

... The Earth is currently experiencing an extinction crisis largely due to the exploitation of the planet by people. 

The previously referenced Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions article establishes the building crisis of the diminishing food and oxygen supply.

Abandoned farmstead in the
American Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
photo courtesy of Britannica.com 
According to a Global Agriculture Soil Fertility & Erosion Report:

Our most significant non-renewable geo-resource is productive land and fertile soil. Each year, an estimated 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost due to erosion. That's 3.4 tonnes lost every year for every person on the planet. Soils store more than 4000 billion tonnes of carbon.

A dangerous dilemma is brewing with an increasing global population and a diminishing ability to produce food.

According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) June 2020 How much oxygen comes from the ocean? fact sheet:

Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton — drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. One particular species, Prochlorococcus, is the smallest photosynthetic organism on Earth. But this little bacteria produces up to 20% of the oxygen in our entire biosphere. That’s a higher percentage than all of the tropical rainforests on land combined.

Yet plankton is perishing at alarming rates due to ocean acidification and warmer water temperatures. 

Though life as we know it on planet Earth is endangered, Nature always prevails and will simply nurture and embrace new life forms if the existing species perish.

Nature Prevails

An elder tree thrives within a 
building in Old Havana
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Ei announces the Nature Prevails platform to complement the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Within the Nature Prevails premise, the Earth heals herself and nurtures renewed life forms, no matter the calamity caused by humans or extraterrestrial activities.

During the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic quarantines, citizens witnessed an immediate impact of reduced human activity via clearer skies, orchestras of bird songs, and the roaming of wild animals in urban and rural parks. The experiences were a glimpse of how quickly the natural world resumes when human activity subsides.

With a commitment to align work with Nature, Ei defined The Principles of Nature with three broad categories:

  • Diversity
  • Dynamic Balance
  • Necessity of Cover & Ability to Roam

Beyond the environment-related activity within in each category, societal systems including economic structures, financial markets, urban design to name a few also align within and are impacted by The Principles of Nature. 

In the recently published The Nature of Nature, Why We Need the Wild, author Enric Sala explains the fallacies inherent within using a country's Gross National Product (GNP) as the standard indicator for a country's economic growth and stability. According to The Economic Times, GNP is defined as follows:

GNP measures the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced by the country’s factors of production irrespective of their location. Only the finished or final goods are considered as factoring intermediate goods used for manufacturing would amount to double counting. It includes taxes but does not include subsidies.

In Enric's perspective, the GNP is one of the worst indicators for human prosperity for three reasons:

  1. It does not factor in the destruction of the natural world and externalizes devastating consequences in favor of manufacturing capabilities.
  2. It assumes that the only value of a society is what can be measured as part of an official, organized market.
  3. It does not measure well-being and happiness.
Within the current definition, forest-protection by an indigenous tribe would not be included in the country's GNP. Yet, clear-cutting of the forest for timber sales would be included in the GNP.

Simon Lamb's groundbreaking book Junglenomics published in late 2019 presents Nature's clear blueprint on how to reorganize the economic domain to protect and benignly coexist with natural environments, halt species decline, and benefit the poorest. The result of 25 years of research and insight, Junglenomics provides a new vision for a future world rescued from decline, gained through an understanding of the profound forces at work in modern economies.

Future articles as well as Ei website content will further delve into The Principles of Nature and how they apply to environmental as well as societal phenomena.

The opening slide in the GRLEI intro PPT
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images

Activities within Ei’s Nature Prevails platform are in partnership with the GRLEI.

On April 6, 2020 Ei Founder Holly Elmore hosted the inaugural GRLEI call to announce the initiative formation. With approximately thirty prominent land-economics professionals on the call, it was a milestone day!

The RiA Magazine article, Global Thought Leaders Embrace Regenerative Land Economics, launches the initiative and announces the prominent GRLEI Executive Team:

  • Holly Elmore, GRLEI Chair (Ei Founder)
  • Bernadette Austin, GRLEI Focus Area Lead (Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis)
  • Brad Bass, GRLEI Advisor & Industry Expert (30-year veteran at Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as a Status Professor at the University of Toronto (UT))
  • Ronald Thomas, FAICP, GRLEI Adviser & Industry Expert (Ron Thomas & Co. President)
Many of the Ei Advisors are enthusiastic to serve as GRLEI Advisors in their respective areas of expertise.

GRLEI Vision: to explore challenges related to stated focus areas from a holistic approach where the community, environment, and local economies benefit from commentary, discussions, and proposed projects.

GRLEI Tagline:

Global thought leaders supporting complete and equitable communities.

GRLEI Focus Areas:
  • The Focus Area slide in the GRLEI intro PPT
    photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
    Infrastructure
    – explores the built environment including a city’s water & sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities, as well as corporate, government, and educational districts | campuses. Additionally, focus is on the availability of and access to affordable housing within a community.
  • Environmental Resources – explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities on energy sources, soil health, local greenways, open spaces, waterways, and resident access.
  • Social Equity – explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.
With utmost generosity, Brad offered eight hours of student time from his UT research platform to assist with developing the GRLEI communication vehicles and researching content.

Beginning the week of May 25, Jahin Khan, a UT research student within Brad’s COBWEB platform, worked closely with Holly on crafting a GRLEI PPT presentation to support the introductory magazine article. Later in the summer, Ridhi Gopalakrishnan joined the UT-affilated research team to study Urban Carbon Sinks and the impact of glyphosate on the soil ecosystem.

One of the initial Nature Prevails tasks is to classify each of the identified topics within the respective Focus Areas within The Principles of Nature's three broad categories.

Launching the Nature Prevails platform is an Ei Milestone and is destined to catapult Ei's important work into new dimensions of influence and impact.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

From Macro to Micro to Nanoplastic, an Ei Article Book

Image captured on Long Boat Key, Florida
Image captured on
Long Boat Key, Florida
In September 2020, the Fingertip Press published the first Elemental Impact (Ei) Article Book: From Macro to Micro to Nanoplastics, an excerpt from the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) article, Plastics: a double-edged sword

From "Plastics: a double-edged sword:"

The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth.

In less than seventy years, humans managed to infiltrate the Earth with micro and nanoplastics from discarded single-use and durable products in literally every nook and cranny, ranging from the arctic snow caps to the depths of the oceans and everywhere in between.

It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart.

Additionally, the Nanoplastics article includes the following new sections:

  • Plastics at the beach - showcases how readily available durable and single-use plastic items are common place during beach enjoyment.
  • Beyond litter, cigarette butts are plastic pollution - explains how cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic.
  • Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger - gives an overview of the empowering October 2018 exploration.
  • COVID-19 plastic pollution - explains how the recent pandemic resulted in a new surge in plastic pollution.
Image taken on a
secluded Cozumel beach
Soft cover, magazine-style books are available for purchase at $11.99 each plus delivery; volume-purchase discounts are given. Additionally, a pdf version of the book is available for $8.99. Here is the link to purchase the book: https://bit.ly/3bl2Zxs

A portion of the book proceeds is donated to Ei, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity.

The Fingertip Press is a division of Holly Elmore Enterprises and the nomenclature for Ei Founder Holly Elmore's published articles, documents, and other written communication. Photos in the Nanoplastics book are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.

While formatting the book design, Holly discovered a shortage of plastic photos to include. Thus, on an early summer Sunday morning, Holly went on a five-mile walking photo shoot in her urban Atlanta neighborhood. As suspected, there were ample plastic-pollution photo opportunities to complete the book-image portfolio.

For the cigarette butt image on page 15, in 2017 Holly walked a similar five-mile neighborhood route and collected every butt encountered. Upon returning home, Holly staged the artistic capture and promptly got ill from the cigarette toxins.

Remnants of  plastic holiday decor 
in Selby Garden's pollinator garden
On the bottom of page 2, the image depicts plastic debris blown from nearby I-75 onto Kennesaw State University's Hickory Grove Farm, a regenerative farm that provides food for campus dining and serves as a research field station.

Many of the other book images are from Holly's extensive travels over the past several years including Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Austin, Texas, and her lovely hometown, Sarasota, Florida. 

For those interested in promoting the monumental book in their networks and beyond, contact Holly at holly@elementalimpact.org to strategize on opportunities available. The book is an excellent plastic-pollution-education tool for schools, corporations, and the overall community.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Urban Carbon Sinks: a regenerative solution to the diminishing oxygen-supply crisis

In partnership with the Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative (GRLEI), Elemental Impact (Ei) seeks funding for an Urban Carbon Sink Pilot Project currently under development. Grant proposals and other potential funding sources are underway. By partnering with the GRLEI, the potential global impact is significantly magnified.

Carbon Sinks
Simply, a carbon sink is an area of land where plants drawdown more carbon via photosynthesis - the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars for energy -  from the atmosphere than is released from the soil into the atmosphere. 

Vibrant forests are natural
carbon sinks.
Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades
The oceans are technically carbon sinks as they currently absorb more atmospheric carbon than is released. Current excess carbon in the oceans causes ocean acidification that kills plankton at alarming rates. As marine plant life (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) photosynthesis generates the vast majority of atmospheric oxygen, the Earth is heading towards an oxygen-deficiency crisis.

By re-establishing abundant land-based carbon sinks, the carbon cycles may return to balance via atmospheric carbon returning to the soils. Once a threshold of lowered atmospheric carbon is reached, the oceans will release their stored excess carbon into the atmosphere. Thus, ocean acidification will reverse and marine plant life may revive back into healthy oxygen-producing states.

Regenerative Agriculture | Grounds Maintenance
As well documented in the 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, regenerative agriculture is a viable solution for restoring weakened soil ecosystems and drawing significant carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. Thus, regenerative agriculture creates carbon sinks.

Within the article, Ei announces intentions to create urban carbon sinks via integrating regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices on corporate complexes, college | university campuses, highway medians | shoulders, airport land surrounding runways, parks, and other available urban lands. Collectively, the regenerative landscaped areas are destined to serve as urban carbon sinks and aid in restoring the carbon-cycle balance.

Urban Carbon Sink Pilot
Public parks are perfect
venues for urban carbon sinks
Utilizing Ei’s extensive corporate network and prominent Advisory Council, the Urban Carbon Sink Pilot (UCSP) will recruit corporate, local government, and university participants enthusiastic to reduce their carbon footprint by overhauling their landscape and grounds maintenance practices. Ei Advisors will educate on regenerative practices and support in the implementation. With strong documentation of challenges, successes, and lessons learned, Ei will craft an Urban Carbon Sink template for replication.

The carbon drawdown will be tracked via measuring the organic matter (carbon) in the soil. Prior to UCSP implementation, soil tests will establish the pilot’s baseline; future soil tests at specified intervals will document carbon-drawdown success.

Education
Integral to Ei’s model is in-depth documentation of a pilot’s purpose, environmental and economic benefits, implementation stages, along with testimony from participants. Documentation includes RiA articles, detailed photo albums, and case studies. Additionally, the UCSP will prepare educational webinars to share with industry associations such as the U.S. Green Building Council, American Society of Landscape Architects, International Facility Management Association, and more.

Benefits Beyond Carbon Drawdown
Regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are “cide-free” with no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. By mimicking natural systems, healthy foliage grows without the use of toxic chemicals commonly used in grounds maintenance; these toxins run-off into local streams and water systems. Thus, local water systems benefit. 

Honey bee in "cide-free"
community garden 
As “cides” are fatal to many pollinators, the local insect population benefits as well as their predators. Thus, the local urban-wildlife system benefits.

Inherent within regenerative landscape practices is the use of native foliage that evolved to thrive within the local climate and soil conditions. With healthy soil retaining more rainwater and native plants are often able to sustain on rainwater, there is potential for a significant reduction in irrigation water used. Thus, a reduction in the facility’s landscape costs and a benefit to the community as a hole.

The local population benefits from available public parks and other greenways free from toxic chemicals.

When asked about the motivations to dedicate her life to environmental and societal dilemmas, over the past decade Ei Founder Holly Elmore's answer is consistent:
In order for life as we know it to survive and once again thrive on Planet Earth, we MUST return the water and soil microbial communities back to a healthy, balanced states.
Urban Carbon Sinks are one avenue to let the Earth heal herself from human intervention within her natural cycles.
______________________________
The photo images in the article are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Global Thought Leaders Embrace Regenerative Land Economics

On April 6, 2020 Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore hosted the inaugural Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative (GRLEI) call to announce the initiative formation. With approximately thirty prominent land-economics professionals on the call, it was a milestone day!

GRLEI Executive Team
A first task within the formation stage was designating an Executive Team. Focused on guiding the GRLEI segue from a vision into a viable initiative, the team commits to making a difference in global arenas. The GRLEI Executive Team consists of the following individuals:

Holly Elmore, GRLEI Chair

Holly's eclectic career path includes multiple faucets ranging from the corporate arena (Arthur Andersen Auditor & Trammell Crow Controller) to the foodservice industry (owner of a corporate catering business & restaurants) to sustainability-industry leader (Zero Waste Zones & Ei Founder). In addition, Holly is an avid nature & documentary photographer and respected journalist with prominent articles and photographs featured in national publications.

Bernadette Austin, GRLEI Focus Area Lead: Ei Advisor

As Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis, Bernadette brings extensive experience in community development praxis and public-private partnerships. She works to build bridges across disciplines and support research that is community-engaged, policy-oriented, and equity-focused.

Brad Bass, PhD, GRLEI Industry Expert & Ei Adviser,

Brad is a 30-year veteran at Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as a Status Professor at the University of Toronto. Brad led the development of COBWEB (Complexity and Organized Behaviour Within Environmental Bounds) in 1999. COBWEB, is now used by students to simulate the performance of vertical flow constructed wetlands, urban segregation, and retail locations.

Brad served on a team that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for Climate Change.

In 2012, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities awarded Brad the Lifetime Achievement Award for Green Infrastructure Research. Brad's most recent work on the cost of algal blooms was published in July 2019.

Ronald Thomas, FAICP, Industry Expert & Ei Adviser

For two decades Ron directed his planning firm located in Washington DC; and then became an associated principal with the landscape architecture and planning firm, Jones and Jones in Seattle. From 2000 to 2010 Ron served as the executive director of the Chicago regional planning agency, Northeast Illinois Planning Commission and then semi-retired to Athens, GA to serve on the University of Georgia faculty at the College of Environment and was chair of the Oconee Rivers Planning Commission from 2011- 2016.

Ron continues as a practicing consultant urban planner with the Community Design Exchange and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners receiving over 40 awards for distinguished work in the broad field of planning. He has edited the APA Regional Planning Journal and has published frequently. He is working on a book on Arts & Crafts era planning, a subject of personal interest for over 40 years.

GRLEI Formation
With the Executive Team in place, the next task was to craft the GRLEI Vision and define the Focus Areas and Commitment as follows:

Vision: to engage the global thought leaders and explore challenges related to stated focus areas from a holistic approach where the community, environment, and local economies benefit from commentary, discussions, and proposed projects.

The GRLEI seeks to be a thought leader in supporting complete and equitable communities.

Focus Areas:
Focus Area slide on GRLEI PPT
  • Infrastructure – explores the built environment including a city’s water & sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities, as well as corporate, government, and educational districts | campuses. Additionally, focus is on the availability of and access to affordable housing within a community.
  • Environmental Resources – explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities on energy sources, soil health, local greenways, open spaces, waterways, and resident access.
  • Social Equity – explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.
Commitment: the GRLEI is committed to action, whether in the form of drafting educational documentation (articles, white papers, website copy), global webinars, and/or projects designed for community impact. GRLEC members must actively participate.

Thanks to her brilliant editorial wand, Bernadette further defined the Focus Areas via respective Visions, Scopes as well as Challenges and Impacts.

Infrastructure Focus Area
Vision: The GRLEI Infrastructure Focus Area seeks to explore the development, improvement, and preservation of facilities that support an environmentally and financially sustainable built environment.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge
across Tampa Bay
Scope: This group explores the facilities that comprise the built environment occupied by people environmentally and financially sustainable. The infrastructure of these complete communities include municipal water and sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities (such as gas and electricity), as well as government, corporate or industrial parks, and educational districts and campuses.

Challenges & Impact: One of the greatest challenges facing this field is addressing environmentally and economically sustainable and resilient land-use practices. The Infrastructure Focus Area seeks to support this goal by focusing on the facilities that support the built environment. These facilities include the utilities and common areas required for land uses such as residential, retail, commercial, and industrial.

Utilities include wet and dry utilities, (such as water, sewer, and energy needs). In particular, this group seeks to understand the challenges and barriers to creating and maintaining such resources in environmentally and financially sustainable ways. As a necessary public benefit, challenges and barriers will be viewed through the lens of both institutions and public agencies responsible for this infrastructure, as well as the customers and stakeholders who depend on these services.

Environmental Resources Focus Area
Vision: The GRLEI Environmental Resource Focus Area seeks to explore the interaction of humans with environmental resources in urban and rural areas through the lens of land use.

Cover crops at the
Farm @ Cragmoor in South Carolina
Scope: This group explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities. Topics include open space and natural resources. Open space topic areas include greenways, parks, waterways, coastlines, urban greening spaces, and agricultural and natural lands. Natural resource focus areas include soil health, water resources, air quality, and energy sources and generation.

Challenges & Impact: One of the greatest challenges facing this field is balancing growing population and economic demands with limited natural resources and open space. The Environmental Resource Focus Area seeks to support this goal by focusing on human interaction with and impact on natural resources, (such as water, air, and soil), and open spaces, (in both urban and rural areas).

Social Equity Focus Area
Vision: The GRLEI Social Equity Focus Area seeks to support the development of complete communities with equitable access to opportunity and amenities for all people.

Sleeping man on stream walkway
in Austin, Texas
Scope: This group explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.

Challenges & Impact: Arguably, addressing sustainable and equitable land economics is the greatest challenge of our time. The Social Equity Focus Area seeks to support this goal by focusing on stakeholders who may lack the access or resources necessary to be involved in land economics decision-making. These often involve barriers stemming from community investment practices and socio-economic issues.

At the formation of this group, top focus areas are housing affordability, economic development, workforce development, urban agriculture and food systems, sustainable resource and waste practices, and environmental justice.

Focus Area Topics
Within the three focus areas, the Executive Team identified topics for further exploration. Most topics fall within the scope of two or more focus areas.

Below are the topics with designated GRLEI Industry Experts, who agreed to provide topic copy including: WHAT, WHY, Connection to Land Economics, Project Explorations, and On the Horizon.

Soil slingers at CompostNow's
food-waste composing facility
in the metro Atlanta area.
Infrastructure Focus Area
  • Affordable Housing
  • Biosolid Management Systems
  • Broadband Network Communication: Fiber-to-the-door for all
  • Circular Economy
    • Waste | Recycling Management Systems
    • Food-Waste Collection
    • Food-Waste Composting
  • Erosion Control
  • Green Infrastructure  
Environmental Resources Focus Area
Carrots harvested on a regenerative
urban farm in Greenville, South Carolina
  • Erosion Control
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Soil Health | Soil Restoration
  • Regenerative Agriculture | Landscape
    • Urban Carbon Sinks
    • The Commons
  • Parks & Public Accessible Greenspace
Social Equity Focus Area
  • Affordable Housing
  • Broadband Network Communication: Fiber-to-the-door for all
  • Racial Equity
Additional topics will be added as new GRLEI Industry Experts commit to sharing their wisdom.

Ei Advisors 
Below are the Ei Advisors along with their respective along with their GRLEI Focus Area Topic leadership.

Brad Bass, PhD, Green Infrastructure

Brad's head shot and bio are provided in the GRLEI Executive Team article section.

Britt Faucette, PhD, Erosion Control, Food-Waste Composting, Soil Health, Regenerative Agriculture, Urban Carbon Sinks 

Britt is an Ecosystem Scientist, Certified Professional of Erosion & Sediment Control, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). Britt currently directs research, technical services, and regulatory approval programs for Filtrexx International and the organics recycling and storm water management industries.

Britt earned his PhD from the Odom School of Ecology at the University of Georgia where he researched soil-water-plant performances of various BMPs used in soil erosion and storm water management applications; served as a state specialist in storm water management, organics recycling, and pollution prevention programs in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; and is an adjunct professor in the School of Environmental Design.

Over the years, Britt authored 20+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, over 100 popular press articles, developed federal (7) and state (nearly 50) specifications on organic materials used in erosion and sediment control and storm water management, worked with foreign governments, taught graduate students, consulted on organic materials management and storm water related projects in 15 countries, has been awarded approximately $500,000 in state and federal research grants, has conducted seminars and training sessions at over 100 national and regional conferences, and has published three books on research and design elements of organic materials used in erosion control and storm water management.

Holly Elmore, Food-Waste Collection, Food-Waste Composting, Urban Carbon Sinks

Holly's head shot and bio are provided in the GRLEI Executive Team article section.

Ronald Thomas, Broadband Communications Network

Ron's head shot and bio are provided in the GRLEI Executive Team article section.

Stephanie Barger, Circular Economy, Food-Waste Collection, Waste & Recycling Systems, Urban Carbon Sinks

Stephanie during a tour of
Georgia Tech's award-winning
waste & recycling program
As global director of market transformation & development for the TRUE Zero Waste Certification, Stephanie is responsible for the growth and development of the TRUE program. In 2017 Stephanie helped launch TRUE, which is owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). TRUE was acquired by GBCI in 2016 and was previously known as the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, which Barger formed in January 2012. The GBCI is the certification entity within the U.S. Green Building Council.

Prior to forming the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, Barger spent 15 years leading Earth Resource Foundation (ERF), a dynamic high school environmental leadership program. In 2009, ERF was awarded a Federal Stimulus Grant (the California Green Jobs Program in Orange County) to provide training for at-risk youth in zero-waste and career development.

Previously, as a certified trainer with California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA), one of the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit recycling organizations, Stephanie helped write and administer a $5 million Department of Labor grant. Under the grant, the CRRA training program expanded to over 500 unemployed and under-employed individuals. The grant also developed a recycling, resource management and zero-waste certificate and an associates degree program at three community colleges in Southern California.

Wayne KingBiosolid Management Systems, Food-Waste Collection, Food-Waste Composting, Soil Health, Urban Carbon Sinks
Wayne with Kathy Kellogg Johnson
at the 2018 USCC Conference

Along with his son, Wayne is a principal owner of ERTH (Environmental Resource and Technology for Humanity) Products, one of the largest compost manufacturing facilities in the Southeastern United States. Over the past decades, Wayne served in numerous industry leadership capacities: U.S. Composting Council President and Board Member, founding President of the Georgia Composting Association, Georgia Recycling Coalition Board Member, Past Chairman of the Georgia Green Industry Association, and was a founding Board member of the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology. 

Over the decades, Wayne and ERTH Products were the recipient of numerous prestigious state and national awards. Recently,  Wayne received the prestigious 2018 USCC’s Hi Kellogg Award for Outstanding Service to the Composting Industry. 

Upon graduation from Midwestern University, Wichita Falls, Texas, Wayne was commissioned as an army officer and served his country for 20 years as a Military Intelligence officer with a specialty in aviation. Wayne is an instrumented rated commercial pilot in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

GRLEI Communication
As the Formation Stage segued to completion, the Executive Team shifted focus to the GRLEI Communication Stage. With utmost generosity, Brad offered eight hours of student time from his University of Toronto (UT) research platform to assist with developing the GRLEI communication vehicles. 

Beginning the week of May 25, Jahin Kahn, a UT research student within Brad's COBWEB platform, worked closely with Holly on crafting a GRLEI  PPT presentation to support an introductory blog article.

The below GRLEI tagline was established:

Global thought leaders supporting complete and equitable communities.

Next on the communications agenda is the GRLEI website launch, complete with blog and newsletter functions. Holly will curate the website content; Bernadette will serve as the website editor to ensure the copy has a consistent, clear voice.

The GRLEI will host quarterly Zoom meetings filled with updates and tales from the action-packed initiative agenda. Quarterly newsletters are open to the public and may be used to court professionals interested in GRLEI participation.

Urban Carbon Sink Pilot Project
In partnership with the GRLEI, Ei seeks funding for an Urban Carbon Sink Pilot Project currently under development. Grant proposals and other potential funding sources are underway. The RiA Magazine article, Urban Carbon Sinks, provides details on the important Ei endeavor. By partnering with the GRLEI, the potential global impact is significantly magnified.

The Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative provides an avenue for global thought leaders to embrace regenerative land economics topics via dialogue, research, and projects. Ei is honored to take a leadership role in the initiative's formation and activation.

______________________________
 Except for the head shots and PPT screenshots, the photo images in the article are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration

The third in a three-article series celebrating Ei's ten-year anniversary.

On February 5, 2020 Elemental Impact (Ei) celebrated ten years of making an impact in an array of industries and communities. In 2010 Ei was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit to serve as the home for the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ,) the nation’s forerunner in the commercial collection of food waste for compost.

Ei's precursor, the Green Foodservice Association (GFA), an affiliate of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), launched the ZWZ in February 2009 at an acclaimed press conference hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA).

ZWZ Two-Year Anniversary
Press Conference Presenters
As the nation's forerunner in the commercial collection of food waste for compost, the ZWZ were thrust into the media spotlight. Prominent media included a CNN story and New York Times front-page article. The first article in the series, A Decade of Impact: history & background, chronicles the ZWZ formation along the plethora of media attention and awards received in 2009.

During the Era of Recycling Refinement (RR), Ei inception through June 2017, the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs. The second article in the series, A Decade of Impact: Era of Recycling Refinement, is a comprehensive overview of the important work accomplished, honors & awards received, and many other successes during the Era of RR.

In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of RR was Mission Accomplished and embarked into the Era of Regeneration with two primary focus areas: Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity. The Product Stewardship platform remains active yet is not a prime focus area at this juncture.

The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and provide support as the Pioneers craft new standard operating practices that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the team moves to a new industry frontier.

Beginning with the ZWZ, Ei initiatives epitomize the following mantra:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

Committed to action, the Ei lives the tagline, Regeneration in ACTION, throughout the Era of Regeneration.

Mission Accomplished - website relaunch
As a welcome to the Ei Era of Regeneration, the Ei site relaunched with a refreshed design featuring Ei Founder Holly Elmore's photography images. An updated navigation reflects the current focus areas: Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, Water Use | Toxicity, and Product Stewardship platforms.

Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished are thoroughly documented in the 46-page Mission Accomplished website section. The Mission Accomplished section includes the following categories:
Refreshed Ei site homepage
Ei Magazine articles related to each page's topic are listed on a sidebar. For meeting, tour, and conference presentations, the respective PPT presentations are available for download. Additionally, the Ei Milestones page is a monthly detail of prominent activities from the ZWZ launch to the current month, along with links to relevant website pages, magazine articles and other pertinent information.

The Mission Accomplished website section continues as a valuable industry resource.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Ei In-Kind Partners Jonathan Beacher of Atlanta Website Design and Lee Thompson of Thompson Creative for dedicating their amazing talent and time to the Ei site relaunch. Jonathon tirelessly built the structure and functionality for the nearly 100-page site. Lee created a simple, clean, at times whimsical, yet highly professional design that represents the magic within Ei's important work.

Along with the website relaunch, the Zero Waste in ACTION Magazine was renamed the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) Magazine. Compliments of Lee, the graphics for each Ei on-line magazine, the RiA and The IMPACT, were refreshed.

With the Ei Era of RR "wrapped-up" in an organized, highly detailed website section, Ei is living the new tagline Regeneration in ACTION with full vigor.

The RiA article, a farewell to recycling refinement | a welcome to regeneration | a website relaunch, announces the Era of Regeneration along with the refreshed website.

Changing of the Guard
Founding SFCI Co-Chairs Scott Seydel and Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks lead the SFCI through grand successes within the RR and Post-Consumer Food Waste focus areas. With the shift to a Soil Health focus, Scott and Doug passed the Ei leadership baton to Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Directory of Sustainability Tim Trefzer with strong accolades.

From Scott:
It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome our friend Tim Trefzer of the Georgia World Congress Center as the new SFCI Chair. I was honored to serve as SFCI Co-Chair with Doug Kunnemann and work with the SFCI Team, including Tim, on recycling-refinement and post-consumer food-waste projects. During our tenure, the SFCI experienced impressive achievements within compostable packaging, post-consumer collection of food, and source-separated-materials recycling programs and pilots.
Doug & Tim at an Ei event.

With Ei's shift in focus to Soil Health, I pass the baton to the next generation of leaders to continue Ei's stellar track record. I am most impressed with Tim's professionalism, expertise and sincere commitment to creating a sustainable world. Though I pass the baton, Tim may count on me for unwavering support and advice.

From Doug:
I am excited to announce Tim Trefzer of the Georgia World Congress Center is the new SFCI Chair! It was a pleasure to work with Ei Founder Holly Elmore and serve as Co-Chair with Scott Seydel. Our thanks to Holly’s leadership during our SFCI tenure. 

With Tim as SFCI Chair – “there are no limits!” Tim – congratulations to you! We wish you great success!

Subsequently, Tim's official Ei Leadership title segued from SFCI Chair to Regeneration in ACTION Chair.

The RiA Magazine article, Changing of the Guard: Welcome Tim Trefzer to the Ei Leadership Team!, gives a brief SFCI history, chronicles Tim's impressive achievements, and reiterates Scott and Doug's accolades.

Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture
Regenerating the foundation of life

Holly with Regenerative
Agriculture Icon
Will Harris in 2008
In her years as the GFA Founder & Executive Director, Holly was a leader in the local, sustainable | farm-to-table movement. Holly worked closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture team on launching the first Georgia Grown food show in 2008. Introductions to Atlanta's culinary community were integral to the Georgia Grown food show success. The GFA Advisory Council consisted of prominent Atlanta leadership, including Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black in his prior Georgia Agribusiness Council President role.

Within the Soil Health platform, Holly builds off her strong sustainable agriculture foundation cultivated within the powerful GFA Producers Task Force.

Soil Health brings a vibrancy to Ei's important work along with renewed and new industry relationships. The spiral of humanity's environmental impact is perpetual; Ei is honored to bring past expertise to new light within the Soil Health focus area.

Carbon Crisis
Simply a matter of balance

GFA seminar invitation
From the onset, the "carbon issue" caused confusion and often misinterpretation. How can carbon be bad when it is the Earth's building block? What is a carbon footprint? What are the differences between the varying carbon compounds and how are they generated? Is carbon the culprit for climate change?

In June 2009, the GFA, hosted a Carbon WHAT? seminar in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Sustainability Division to answer these questions. A seminar transcript provided by the EPA is available on the Ei References & Materials page under the Other Sustainability Topics category.

It is time to simplify the carbon scenario and bring clarity to the confusion. By aligning with the perfect systems inherent within Nature, simple solutions emerge that bring the Earth's carbon cycles back into balance.

The Earth's Carbon Cycle
The Earth's carbon cycle maintains balance between five carbon pools: 1> Atmosphere, 2> Oceans, 3> Soils, 4> Biosphere, and 5> Fossil.

Removal and burning of stored carbon from the fossil pool in the form of coal, natural gas, and petroleum is a major contributor to the out-of-balance state. When burned as an energy source, fossil carbon is transferred into the atmosphere and ocean-carbon pools. In addition, common commercial agriculture practices release a tremendous quantity of carbon stored in the soil pool into the atmosphere pool.

An empowering four-minute video, The Soil Story published by Ei Strategic Ally Kiss the Ground, states the problem and the solution are a matter of balance. Simply: there is too much carbon in the atmosphere and ocean pools. To restore balance, excess carbon must transfer to the fossil, biosphere and/or soil pools.

White Oak Pastures
uses regenerative agriculture
grazing,practices
The video explains the Earth's carbon cycle in an easy-to-understand format where soil is the hero for regaining balance.

Ryland Englehart, Cafe Gratitude owner and Kiss the Ground co-founder, completes his video narration with the following powerful statement:

"Regeneration of soil is the task of our generation."

Plants serve as atmosphere carbon pumps via photosynthesis. The soil stores the "pumped carbon" as food for its incredible ecosystem, including a wide array of invertebrates and microorganisms.

Healthy, well-structured soil produces nutritious food for the soil ecosystem and gains more carbon from plant decay. In addition, healthy soil filters and retains water - up to 40% more water than out-of-balance soil. A positive feedback loop within the carbon cycle restores balance.

Regenerative agriculture is essential to restore the carbon-cycle balance. Current soil-tilling practices break the carbon cycle and harm the soil ecosystem. Thus, petroleum-based fertilizers are used to grow crops. Yet these crops are devoid of many nutrients provided by the soil ecosystem.

The RiA article, Carbon Crisis: simply a matter of balance, explains the current carbon scenario and shares documented examples where regenerative agriculture practices restored soil health.

Regeneration in ACTION
Over the past decade, sustainability moved from a buzz word to a movement to a culture within leading communities, universities and businesses. Significant strides were made in zero-waste practices, renewable energy technology, and reduced carbon | water footprints. Yet the glaciers continue to melt, the ocean acidification levels are increasing, and desertification is escalating.

A Pending Crisis
According to a senior United Nations official in 2017, there were only 60 years of farming left if soil degradation continues at current levels. In a Scientific American article, Volkert Engelsman, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, states,"We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming."

A dangerous dilemma is brewing with an increasing global population and a diminishing ability to produce food.

Abandoned farmstead in
American Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
photo courtesy of Britannica.com
In addition, plankton is perishing at alarming rates due to ocean acidification and warmer water temperatures. Marine plant life (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) photosynthesis - the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars for energy - generates the vast majority of atmospheric oxygen.

The December 2015 Science Daily Failing phytoplankton, failing oxygen: Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth article states:
"About two-thirds of the planet's total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton -- and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale. This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans."
Is sustainability enough to stave off the building crisis of the diminishing food and oxygen supply?

Regenerative Solutions
To avoid a doom and gloom perspective, it is important to simplify the scenario and discover regenerative solutions. Beyond sustainability, regeneration focuses on rebuilding and restoring nature's perfect system.

Cover crops are integral to
regenerative agriculture practices
The previously mentioned The Soil Story video introduces regenerative agriculture | landscape practices as a solution for restoring the soil ecosystem. Healthy, alive soil nurtures plants with strong, deep root systems; the plants "pump" carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. In addition, healthy plants grown in alive soil produce abundant, nutritious food.

Once the atmospheric carbon reduces to a certain threshold, the oceans will release carbon into the atmosphere, reversing ocean acidification. Thus, marine plant life once again thrives, generating ample oxygen into the atmosphere.

Soil regeneration addresses the food and oxygen components of the pending crisis.

In The Compost Story video, the sequel to The Soil Story, compost is introduced as a key ingredient in the soil-regeneration recipe. Ei served as a The Compost Story video launch partner.

The RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, introduces soil regeneration as a solution for the pending food and oxygen-deficiency crisis and showcases examples of successful soil regeneration.

Farm Tours
Farm tours are integral to Ei's work on many levels. From a soil-health perspective, farms may be harmful or extraordinarily beneficial to restoring carbon-cycle balance. Ei focuses on the many success stories where farms restore broken soil systems through regenerative agriculture.

Hickory Grove Farm
In 2013 the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) leased the 26-acre tract of land to Kennesaw State University (KSU) for farm use. Formally, the Hickory Grove Farm (HGF) land was the GDOT cement-mixing site for nearby I-75 construction. Though not toxic, the soil was severely compacted and devoid of necessary minerals to sustain a healthy soil ecosystem. In addition, stormwater flowed off the property, rather than hydrate the "dead soil."

The HGF natural retention pond
With patience, tenacity and a strategic plan, KSU restored the land through regenerative-agriculture practices. Simple, effective stormwater-management techniques retain water on the property, including a vibrant natural retention pond. A pair of mallard ducks, frogs, a variety of native plants, and abundant insects thrive within the pond and its shoreline.

Soil restoration is a partnership with the land; continued nurturing through compost use, crop rotation and other regenerative applications are necessary to maintain and improve soil health. HGF Manager Michael Blackwell utilized his extensive regenerative-agriculture wisdom to restore the soils into rich, dynamic ecosystems where crops thrived.

Within a mere four years HGF supplied The Commons, KSU's Gold LEED-certified dining hall, with nearly 25 percent of its produce, approximately 20,000 pounds of produce annually, and often 100 percent of its eggs. The Commons serves 6,000-plus students, faculty, and guests per day during the active school year.

Beginning in June 2017, Ei developed a close relationship with HGF and hosted a series of farm tours with prominent industry professionals. The tours continued through June 2019 when HGF evolved into the KSU Field Station that serves as a living laboratory for researchers, educators, and students.

The following RiA Magazine articles and Ei FB album showcase the various tours:
King of Crops Farm
The King of Crops sign
King of Pops, a popular hand-crafted popsicle company, purchased the King of Crops farm to source locally grown organic ingredients nurtured within sustainable agriculture practices. In addition to farming, King of Crops is a state-permitted food-waste compost site. Commercial and residential food-waste hauler CompostNow delivers their material to the farm. CompostNow Co-Founder David Paull hosted many tours over the years to educate on the farm food-waste composting practices. 

The Ei FB album, Ei Connects, gives pictorial recounts of the tours; the later Ei Connects article section gives details on the important tours.

Farm at Cragmoor
On May 14, 2019 Ei Strategic Ally Feed & Seed hosted an introductory meeting with Spartanburg County School District 6 (SCSD6) Superintendent (SC) Dr. Daryll Owings and Deputy Superintendent Greg Cantrell to learn about the district's impressive healthy-food school program.

Greg, Mary & Daryll
After an overview meeting in the district's offices, Daryll and Greg hosted Seed & Feed Chair Mary Hipp and Holly on tours of the campus greenhouse followed by the Farm at Cragmoor where healthy, organic food is grown for the school foodservice. As the tours ended, Daryll took the group by some of the nearby historical sites. The following Healthy-Food School Programs section shares the impressive farm-to-school program implemented at SCSD6.

Subsequently, Holly and Mary visited the Farm at Cragmoor on several occasions to witness the movement from planning to implementation stages.

The RiA Magazine article, Spartanburg County School District Six: a culture of EXCELLENCE!, gives a synopsis of SCSD6 as well as the history and development of the Farm at Cragmoor into a viable organic farm; the article, When students come first, healthy food naturally follows, documents the Farm at Cragmoor segue from the planning | investment stage into a fully operational farm, complete with organic certification. The Ei FB album, Spartanburg County School District 6, includes pictorial recounts of the numerous Farm at Cragmoor visits.

Atlanta Urban-Agriculture Tours
On a crisp early spring day in April 2015, Ei orchestrated a tour of Atlanta's robust urban agriculture for Fulton County and EPA Region 4. The overt tour purpose was to introduce Valerie Rawls, Fulton County senior policy adviser to Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves, and Kim Charick, EPA physical scientist in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Division, to the local farmers | non-profits operating farms.

Atlanta Urban Agriculture
Tours Group Photo
At a deeper level, the tour educated Valerie, Kim and Holly on the urban-agriculture systems in-place, their connectivity (or lack thereof), the far-reaching implications of urban farms beyond providing fresh, seasonal produce to impoverished neighborhoods, and the valuable role compost plays on the farms.

On the surface the urban agriculture tours were a fun day spent with new and long-time friends. Yet the undercurrent of imperative action was strong. It was thrilling to realize urban agriculture's vital role on fronts beyond food security and community engagement.

The RiA Magazine article, Urban Agriculture: vital on many fronts, chronicles the monumental day while the Ei FB album, 04-03-15 Atlanta Urban Ag Tours, gives a pictorial recap.

Greenville Urban Farm Tours
While in Greenville for the Healthy-Food School Programs meetings, Mary took Holly on tours of two prominent, impressive urban farms, Reedy River Farms and Horseshoe Farm.

Reedy River Farms
Reedy River Farms
high tunnel & open-air plots
In September 2015, George DuBose and Chris Miller started Reedy River Farms with the mission to provide the best vegetable produce to their community and the most talented chefs in Greenville.

Located on an acre plot less than a mile from downtown, Reedy River Farms makes efficient use of their land via a covered high tunnel along with open-air plots. Committed to organic practices, the farm is "cide-free" (pest, insect, herb, and fungi) and nurtures their soil with local Atlas Organics compost. With close proximity to downtown, Reedy River Farms minimizes produce-transportation emissions.

Horseshoe Farm
Back in 2017, a prominent local chef asked Chris to help him start a chef's garden at his restaurant. Thus, Chris left Reedy River Farms and launched That Garden Guy (TGG) to educate on and facilitate the "grow-your-own" and "local-food" movement.

In his consulting practice, Chris partners with Feed & Seed to help farmers improve restaurant-specific varieties and practices to maximize those relationships.

Organic carrots harvested at
Horseshoe Farm
Greg McPhee, Chef Owner of The Anchorage, partnered with TGG in 2018 on Horseshoe Farm, an urban farm that is chef-driven with what and when crops are planted. Beyond another source for organic, locally grown produce, their intent is to drive the next wave of chef | farmer relationships and expand the Upstate's regional food system.

The Greenville urban farm tours are chronicled in the RiA Magazine article, Greenville, #yeahthatgreenville, is a southern treasure; the Holly Elmore Images FB album, Greenville, SC, is a pictorial recount of Holly's May Greenville visit with sections on the farm tours

Healthy-Food School Programs
In October 2018 Ei along with Feed & Seed hosted the Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health and World Hunger. During the final exploration session at the Clemson organic student farm, Mary shared on the amazing healthy-food school programs at Greenville County Schools as well as up the road 20+ miles at Spartanburg County Schools, District Six.

Mary at the Ei Exploration
Inspired, Holly traveled to Greenville in May 2019 to meet the masterminds behind the healthy-food school programs and tour their respective operations. Mary was generous with her time, connections and spirit as she hosted Holly for two consecutive days of meetings and tours.

The two diverse school systems arrive at a common goal of serving the respective district’s students healthy, delicious food on a daily basis. With a commitment to locally sourced food, the school systems directly support local farms who in turn contribute to local soil regeneration.

Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services
Greenville County Schools (GCS) Food and Nutrition Services (FANS) Director Joe Urban created the #schoolfoodROCKS social-media branding for the incredible school-foodservice operation under his direction. Passionate about establishing healthy-food school programs as the standard across the nation and beyond, Joe uses GCS FANS’s success to inspire other school systems to evolve their food programs.

A typical GCS FANS lunch
The evolution of the GCS FANS-food program inaugurated in 2010 with the support of then Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher. Soon-to-open A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School was designated as the pilot for the healthy-food program. Ron Jones was hired as a GCS FANS Culinary Specialist to develop and oversee the pilot.

Once the FANS healthy-food program grew into standard-operating practices, Ron left GCS FANS for his current position, Director of the Office of Health and Nutrition at the SC State Department of Education. In the meantime, Joe was promoted to GCS FANS Director.

On May 15, 2019 Joe hosted Mary and Holly for an introductory meeting on GSC FANS’ impressive healthy-meals program. Following the program history and current scenario education, the group toured the Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School cafeteria and enjoyed an amazing lunch.

Mary with Joe & his team
GCS includes 100 school facilities and special centers while FANS operates 93 commercial kitchens. The 750 FANS-foodservice professionals serve approximately 80,000 meals daily while school is in session for a total of 14 million meals annually. Thus, FANS beholds strong purchasing power with national broadline distributors and requires them to carry locally sourced, often organic, products via their supplier contract. Thanks to GCS FANS’s high culinary standards, Greenville-area foodservice operators may also purchase locally sourced products from the broadline distributor.

The RiA Magazine article, #schoolfoodROCKS: indeed, school food does rock in Greenville County, SC!, gives an in-depth synopsis of the GCS FANS development as well as the ingredients for success. A section in the Holly Elmore Images FB album, Greenville, SC, gives a pictorial recap of the GSC FANS’ cafeteria tour and lunch.

Spartanburg County Schools, District Six
Under the leadership of SCSD6 Superintendent Dr. Darryl Owings, a culture of excellence infiltrates the district’s entire spectrum of operations. With the strong support of the nine-member School Board, Darryl ensures the SCSD6 adheres to their mission to always put the children first.

Noble trees on the sprawling
SCSD6 main campus
The SCSD6 administrative offices as well as the main district campus are located in Roebuck, SC on a sprawling 292-acre tract of land. Intertwined within the SCSD6 facilities are natural wetlands, wooded areas, and walking trails available for students and the community.

Over 2016 and 2017, the SC Conservation Bank purchased a total of 120 acres of family-owned land from Charles and Mary Moore’s descendants. In 2016, Upstate Forever protected the land with a conservation easement to set aside the land for educational and agricultural purposes. The Spartanburg County Foundation owns the protected land while Upstate Forever administers the property. In a long-term agreement, SCSD6 leases 16 acres to use as an organic farm to grow produce for the district schools.

Per the Upstate Forever site, partial funding from the SC Conservation Bank offsets some of the costs involved in placing the easement, making the land donation, and endowing the property’s perpetual care. The entire tract of land is known as the SCSD6 Farm at Cragmoor.

A natural extension of a healthy-food program is a farm-to-school focus supporting local agriculture. In 2016, SCSD6 evolved the farm-to-school focus to a campus-to-cafeteria endeavor with the construction of a greenhouse on the backside of the Dorman Freshman Campus.

Farm 2 School Manager
Lisa Stansell examines the
okra crop
In 2016, SCSD6 took possession of the 16-acre plot of land destined for the district’s organic-certified farm within their Farm 2 School program. For the first year, farm staff tested the land to determine what could be grown crop-wise and officially opened as an operating farm in 2017. The SCSD6 Farm at Cragmoor is the foundation for creating a hyper-local food system for SCSD6. On October 4 2019, the Farm at Cragmoor received its USDA Organic Certification.

Refer the preceding Farm Tours section where the Farm at Cragmoor tours are chronicled. Supporting article and FB album links are included in the section.

While GCS FANS supports local farmers via its broadline-distributor contract, SCSD6 grows its own organic, healthy food for student meals. When the schools are closed in the summer, the Farm at Cragmoor operates a popular local farmer’s market that provides the county with a hyper-local food option.

Hydroponic Gardens
A common denominator discovered while exploring the healthy-food school programs was the implementation of hydroponic-gardening systems. As previously mentioned, SCSD6 built an on-campus greenhouse to supply the district's foodservice operations leafy salad greens as well as fresh herbs. Though not witnessed, Ei learned the GCS FANS has living-wall hydroponic systems at several of the district's schools.

A variety of lettuces are ready
for harvest in the HGF
Hydroponics Lab
At KSU HGF, the Hydroponics Lab was one of the first structures built on the leased farm. Initially, the Hydroponics Lab provided KSU Dining with a plethora of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes from the enclosed system. Later the hydroponic systems evolved into a less labor-intensive production that focused on leafy salad greens and vegetables as well as fresh herbs.

Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), the second largest convention center in the nation, walks the sustainability talk with their Center-to-Table gardens. Operated by OCCC food-service contractor Centerplate, the open-air hydroponic gardens are located in the Westwood lobby and greet convention attendees with a cheerful, sustainable welcome.

During the initial Three-Step Straw Initiative introductory meeting, Holly discovered the lush hydroponic gardens and later returned for a photo shoot of the gardens.

The RiA Magazine article, A Hydroponic-Agriculture Renaissance, articulates hydroponics ancient history through a renaissance when industrial plastics replaced heavier, more expensive construction materials. Hydroponics-agriculture advantages and challenges are discussed.

Additionally, the KSU HGF, SCSD, and OCCC hydroponic gardens are showcased. The Holly Elmore Images FB album, Hydroponics Farming, showcases tours of the three featured commercial-hydroponic applications.

Water Use | Toxicity
The Water Footprint: an important regeneration standard
Within the regenerative movement, the water footprint is essential to quantifying successful programs. By its nature, regenerative agriculture sequesters carbon from the atmospheric pool and into the soil. As it heals and regains a vibrant ecosystem, healthy, well-structured soil absorbs, filters. and retains significantly more water and replenishes the Earth’s aquifers.

For the community at-large, citizens, businesses, governments and educational institutions, it is imperative to use a regenerative perspective in assessing how their current systems and practices impact their water usage. Beyond the quantity of waters used, toxins released into the sewer systems and waterways have far-reaching consequences on the environment.

In the RiA Blog Magazine article, Zero WATER Waste: more than a goal, a necessity, establishes the foundation for Ei’s Water Use | Toxicity Platform.

Conscious Cleaning
Removing toxic-chemicals from standard-cleaning practices

Mission: To eliminate the use of toxic and harmful chemicals in commercial cleaning systems and minimize the byproducts generated.

Though they are an improvement over toxic-cleaning solutions, many green-cleaning products are synthetic in nature and may pose harm to individuals and the environment. Conscious-cleaning solutions cause no harm whether ingested via breath or swallowing or flushed into sewer systems. Vinegar and baking soda are two common household products that are excellent conscious-cleaning solutions.

The RiA Magazine article, The Evolution of Standard Cleaning Practices, gives an overview of cleaning practices and introduces conscious cleaning.

In addition to cleaning solutions, the Ei Conscious-Cleaning Initiative (CCI) addresses cleaning protocol, supplies used, and the carbon | water footprints inherent within janitorial programs.

Ei embraces Electrochemical Activation (ECA) as the commercial-cleaning system of choice in the  Ei CCI. ECA systems combine salted water with an electrical charge. By varying the mineral catalysts, the ECA system produces three distinct products: sanitizer | disinfectant | deodorizer, glass & general purpose cleaner, and heavy-duty cleaner | degreaser.

ECA-cleaning products are generated on-site. Thus, transportation-carbon footprints and cleaning-supply packaging associated with mainstream janitorial systems are reduced. Supply inventory is drastically reduced and chemical-related injuries are eliminated.

After a two-year evaluation, Georgia Institute of Technology (Ga Tech) transitioned cleaning and disinfecting | sanitizing solutions to an ECA-based system. Ga Tech Building Services Director Tommy Little and his team performed extensive, detailed testing of the ECA system effectiveness, at visual and microbial levels. The results were impressive!

Over nine years, Ga Tech reduced their on-campus cleaning chemicals by 90.7%! 

Tommy Little & Wendy Welker
at their Green Seal Certified sign
On March 6, 2018 the Ga Tech Building Services team hosted the Ei CCI Demo & Tour. Facility and housekeeping managers from Atlanta's venues and businesses attended the impressive demo and tour. The event participants were committed to pioneering the movement from sustainable to regenerative best operating practices.

Through the summer of 2018, the Ei CCI Team hosted ECA demos for industry pioneers, including the GWCCA, Affairs to Remember, Ted's Montana Grill, LowCountry Catering, and CB Richard Ellis. The Ei FB album, Ei Conscious Cleaning Initiative, gives a pictorial recount of the Ga Tech as well as other Ei CCI demos.

By fall 2018, shifts in the ECA manufacturer ownership resulted in the loss of Ei CCI support. Thus, the Ei CCI remains in a holding pattern until another ECA manufacturer steps forward to support the initiative.

Three-Step Straw Initiative
Straw integrity addresses usage, content and disposal

Mission: An “easy-win” first step in eradicating single-use plastic food & beverage packaging

As plastic-straw usage reduction gained high-profile media attention, Ei partnered with Ei Strategic Ally One More Generation (OMG) | One Less Straw (OLS) for the Three-Step Straw Initiative (TSSI). Beyond plastic-straw usage reduction, the TSSI addresses the straw content and end-of-life destination; the TSSI aligns with the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms.

TSSI meeting at the
Carter Center 
The TSSI includes the following steps:
  • Step 1 -  REDUCE straw usage
  • Step 2 – SHIFT to paper straws
  • Step 3 – COMPOST used straws
OMG will encourage OLS participants to further decrease their straw-usage impact by joining the TSSI and shifting from plastic to paper straws. If there is food-waste collection for compost available, OLS participants are encouraged to engage in food-waste collection. Thus, the paper straws contribute to local, quality compost versus another material filling up the landfills or worse the waterways.

Ei-recruited participants are required to take the OLS pledge as their first TSSI step.

With perfect timing, Green Planet Straws (GPS) joined the Ei Partner program in March 2019 to support the TSSI Step #2: SHIFT from plastic to paper straws.

OLS participants proved that serving straws only upon request reduces overall straw consumption by 70 – 75%. Thus, the shift to paper straws is essentially cost-neutral as the usage reduction compensates for the higher paper-straw cost.

The TSSI is a perfect avenue for former ZWZ participants to take their sustainability commitment to the next level. For ZWZ participants, Step 3 – COMPOST is already in place. Thus, cost-neutral Steps 1 & 2 are an easy-to-implement endeavor.

The OCCC TSSI meeting
ended with smiles & new friends
The RiA Magazine article, Three Steps to Straw Integrity, substantiates the microplastic-pollution crisis and introduces the TSSI; the Straw integrity addresses usage, content, and disposition article further introduces the TSSI.

As stated in the standard TSSI intro email: Ei took first “easy win” steps to addressing micro and nanoplastics in our waterways, oceans, soils, and the human-food chain with the TSSI announcement. TSSI Partner GPS is the financial catalyst for Ei’s important work.

Throughout 2019 TSSI enthusiasm was always strong in intro meetings with ZWZ participants and long-time hospitality-industry friends. Working closely with Levy Restaurants, Ei met extensively with national distributor Imperial Dade to secure GPS distribution. The first GPS order was placed in October 2019 and the second before year end.

With the coronavirus pandemic's devastating impact on the global-hospitality community, the TSSI is in a holding pattern for an unspecified time period.

Ei Explorations
Ei Explorations bring industry leaders and experts together to strategize on solutions for challenges facing humanity and life on our planet.

Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger
A group capture upon arrival
at Mushroom Mountain
On October 16, 2018, Ei hosted the first Ei Exploration: an exploration of fungi, soil health, and world hunger in the SC Upstate. The empowering day was in partnership with Ei Strategic Ally Feed & Seed.

A group of diverse, passionate industry leaders traveled from California, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to share, learn, and explore synergies for future projects and pilots.

The day began at Mushroom Mountain where owner and renowned mycologist Tradd Cotter amazed the group with fungi's magical potential for solving challenges within medicinal, pest-control and protein arenas.

A lovely lunch with local-organic produce and protein was enjoyed at the historic 1826 Bistro in Pendleton.

New friends say farewell
Dr. Stephen Kresovich of Clemson University hosted the group at the Clemson University Student Organic Farm where the farm managers educated on their impressive operations. Steve followed with an overview of his prestigious background along with current work within Clemson's College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

As included on the agenda, the day ended with "soft closure" as new and old friends basked in the power of the day.

The RiA Magazine article, An Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, & World Hunger, chronicles the empowering event; the Ei FB album, An Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger, gives a pictorial recap.

Micro and Nanoplastics in the Soils
In less than seventy years, humans managed to infiltrate the Earth in literally every nook and cranny with microplastics and nanoplastics from discarded single-use and durable products. Recent research documented microplastics and nanoplastics in sites ranging from the arctic-snow caps to the depths of the oceans and everywhere in between.

Plastic remnants from holiday
decor strewn onto the bush
With research validating microplastics in our waterways, oceans, drinking water, and atmosphere, it is reasonable to assume microplastics, and most likely nanoplastics, are prevalent in the Earth's soils. Yet to date there is minimal discussion let alone research on the impact of plastics on the soil ecosystem along with plant roots and fiber.

In 2019 Holly met with soil-research scientists at several prominent university departments of agriculture. At the meetings Holly garnered interest in exploring research projects on the impact of micro and nanoplastics in the soil ecosystem. Holly suggested two potential areas of research:
  1. Nanoplastic impact on the soil ecosystem including the various microbial communities, the plethora of soil life, and the potential segue into plant fiber.
  2. Potential use of fungi that feeds off of plastic to "clean-up" the plastic pollution in the soils. 
Concern: plastics often contain additives; when plastic is consumed (broken down into its elements) by the fungus, additives are in a "freed" state and may prove poisonous to soil life. Note a fully synthetic polymer contains no molecules found in nature. Thus, there is concern that plastics broken down to their elemental state may actually be more harmful due to additives.

Plastic from far away washes
up on Cozumel beaches 
Seeds for research related to plastic in the soils were planted during the Ei Exploration.

Ei maintains a close relationship with Tradd of Mushroom Mountain and intends to bring him into the research loop at the appropriate time.

The October 2019 RiA article, Plastics: a double-edged sword, articulates plastics-history |development. Prominent research documenting how every nook & cranny of the Earth is infiltrated with micro and nanoplastics is included in the article.

College-Student Mentoring 
In March 2016 Holly embarked on Era of Regeneration-style college-student mentoring at the Georgia Tech Engineers for a Sustainable World student group meeting. In her pre-meeting chat with group organizer Nicole Kennard, Holly asked if the group preferred a technical talk on Ei successes | zero-waste scenarios or one grounded in motivation | mentorship. Nicole was clear a motivational talk was the preference.

Holly speaking at Ga Tech on
Sustainability of the Spirit
Photo courtesy of Scott Seydel
Thus, Holly spoke on a topic dear to her heart: Sustainability of the Spirit!

Within the Era of Regeneration. universities and organizations request Holly to share her recycling-refinement and beyond expertise with student groups.

Via an introduction by Ei Environmental Advisor Laura Turner Seydel, Elise Kirby with Shepherd Center educated Holly on the current status of the recycling and sustainability practices.

The second step was meeting with group of Ga Tech students whose class project was formulating an action plan to improve Shepherd's environmental footprint. As the semester closed, the students prepared an impressive PPT presentation for Shepherd management detailing their research along with solid recommendations.

Clemson clock tower
Professor Christophe Darnault, Ph, D. at Clemson University requested Holly's support for two student Biosystems-Engineering Capstone-Design Projects. The project topics aligned with Holly's expertise and connections:
  • Site and Operations Redesign of the City of Columbia's Composting Facility  
  • Utilization of Biosludge: Soil Fertilization & Energy Production
HONOR: at Christophe's invitation, Holly traveled to Clemson in early December 2019 to judge the Biosystems-Engineering Capstone-Design Projects Final Presentations.

Spelman Director of Facilities Art Frazier orchestrated a meeting with his intern and an environmental student group to discuss and strategize on campus-zero-waste initiatives. One of the meeting-action points is a 2020 visit to KSU Dining Services.

Global Impact
During the Era of Regeneration, Ei segued from national to global impact.

Urban Biocycles
Urban Biocycles
scoping paper cover
On March 28, 2017 the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) issued the Urban Biocycles scoping paper to a global audience. During the preliminary research phase, Holly educated EMF Project Manager Doug Walker on the U.S. organics-recycling landscape and facilitated a series of introductions. 

Ei Strategic Ally Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) co-director, was an introduction and most helpful with regards to community-garden composting and soil-rebuilding initiatives featured in the paper. Brenda and Holly, along with their respective organizations, were listed as Expert Input and Case Study Contributors in the paper. 

The RiA Magazine article, A Circular Economy Approach for Urban Nutrient Cycles, announces the EMF scoping paper.

2018 WorldChefs Congress & Expo
On day three of the 2018 WorldChefs Congress, the educational plenary program was dedicated to Feed the Planet. A World Chefs' initiative, Feed the Planet is designed to inspire sustainable food consumption among communities and professionals.

Holly presenting during the
World Chefs Feed the Planet session
Presentations focused on the current global food-waste scenario along with empowering programs committed to evolving the seemingly broken food system. After the “big picture” presentations, the focus narrowed down to local, effective initiatives and case studies on food-waste reduction in culinary operations.

Holly presented on The Profitability of Waste: the business case for food-waste reduction to the global audience of prominent chefs. Ei Supporters Ted’s Montana Grill, Affairs to Remember, and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority | Levy Restaurants were featured in the case studies.

For additional details on Ei's strong relationship with WorldChefs, refer to the RiA Magazine article, A Decade of Impact: Era of Recycling Refinement. In 2018, Ei was recognized as a Feed the Planet Collaborative Partner and Feed the Planet joined the Ei Strategic Ally program.

WorldChefs Feed the Planet
Plenary Session Panelists
The RiA Magazine article, Feed the Planet: an empowering WorldChefs initiative, gives an overview of the important session; The Profitability of Food Waste: the business case for food waste reduction article showcases Holly’s presentation by the same name and features the Ei Supporters' case studies.

Within the Holly Elmore Images FB album, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 2018 Visit, there is a section on the 2018 WorldChefs Congress & Expo along with sections on Holly's guided and self-guided KL tours.

The comprehensive Feed the Planet PPT presentation, as well as Holly’s solo presentation, are available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

From a Circular Economy to a Circular Society
A POCACITO - Post‐Carbon Cities of Tomorrow - delegation from Croatia and Munich, Germany visited Atlanta September 17 and 18, 2018 for two whirlwind days of meetings, tours, and vibrant dialogue.

POCACITO delegates
Funded by the European Union, Ecologic Institute US (EIUS) orchestrates delegations of European industry leaders on visits to select U.S. cities. Delegates represent a diverse cross-section of government stewards, activists, entrepreneurs, and non-profit executives from the European Union. For a POCACITO visit, the EIUS organizes a series of meetings, tours, workshops, lectures, and town hall meetings designed for interactive sharing of in-place circular-economy practices.

Holly worked closely with EIUS President Max Gruenig on Atlanta introductions and other visit logistics. The final POCACITO Atlanta event was the From Circular Economy to Circular Society Town Hall Meeting held at the Southface event space. Ei was honored to co-host the town hall meeting.

The RiA Blog article, From a Circular Economy to a Circular Society, gives an overview of the powerful Atlanta POCACITO visit. A section in the Ei FB album, Ei Connects, includes a pictorial recap of the visit.

POCACITO Town Hall Meeting presentations are available for download on Ei Connects page.

The Savory Institute Global Network Reunion
The first annual Savory Institute (SI) Global Network Reunion held on November 10 & 11, 2018 at White Oak Pastures (WOP) was a global gathering with attendees traveling from around the world: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, France, Scotland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Canada, and across the U.S residents attended the event.

Holly attended the reunion as a SI guest. On Saturday, Holly represented Ei while on Sunday she wore a dual Ei | media hat.

Soil-testing demo in a WOP field
Dating back to 2005, Holly has a long-term relationship with WOP. In 2008 Holly orchestrated the first chefs tour of WOP's recently opened beef slaughterhouse. The tour was in partnership with the American Culinary Federation, Atlanta Chapter. The November 2011 The IMPACT Magazine article, White Oak Pastures - Dignity & Respect @ Its Core, chronicles the early years of the WOP metamorphosis from a conventional cattle-ranch operation to an icon in regenerative agriculture.

A comprehensive introduction to WOP, SI, regenerative agriculture as well as an overview of the Global Network Reunion is provided in the RiA Magazine article, Regenerating a Bright Future for Planet Earth. The Ei FB album, Savory Institute 2018 Global Network Reunion, gives a pictorial recount of the powerful weekend from Holly's camera-lens perspective.

Speaking Engagements
Within the Era of Regeneration, Holly continues to accept speaking engagement invitations, whether to share recycling-refinement expertise or to educate on regenerative practices. Beginning in spring 2016, Holly's speaking engagement topics evolved to include subject matters embraced within the Era of Regeneration.

Georgia Tech Engineers for a Sustainable World
As previously mentioned, Holly spoke to the Georgia Tech Engineers for a Sustainable World student group on Sustainability of the Spirit in March 2016. The IMPACT Blog article, Sustainability of the Spirit, gives an overview of Holly’s informal talk.

Planet, People, Profits: A Conference on Business and the Environment
At the April 2016 Emory University Planet, People, Profits: A Conference on Business and the Environment on the Innovative Practices in Corporate Environmental Sustainability Holly joined the prominent discussion panel. 

Holly’s topic focused on the four cornerstones to sustainability success: 1> Culture, 2> WE Consciousness, 3> Evolution of the Supply Chain to the Value Chain and 4> Power-of-Consumer Demand to an attentive audience. The conference was supported by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

U.S. Green Building Council Atlanta Visit
In July 2017 The Epsten Group hosted U.S. Green Building Council Global Zero-Waste Director Stephanie Barger for a two-hour education session beginning with general zero-waste information and finishing with a Zero-Waste Certification overview.

Stephanie with The Epsten Group team
Intertwined within Stephanie’s presentation, Holly educated on Recycling Refinement, moving beyond landfill diversion, using the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Pilots as prominent examples. It was empowering to showcase Atlanta’s pioneers and leadership status.

The ZWA Blog article, Building a Zero-Waste Economy, one step, one city at a time, is an overview of the powerful Atlanta USGBC meeting series. Holly’s PPT is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

GaTech Facilities Sustainability Forum
On October 24, 2017, Ga Tech hosted the first annual Facilities Sustainability Forum to an enthusiastic audience from the university and beyond.

At the invitation of Ga Tech Associate Director, Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling Cindy Jackson, Holly was the forum's featured speaker. Within her opening remarks, Holly shared the long-term, powerful Ga Tech | Ei relationship dating back to the ZWZ's 2009 launch.

The ZWA Blog article, Collaboration + Culture = Sustainability Success, is a forum overview featuring the impressive Building Services, Office of Solid Waste & Recycling, and Landscape Services presentations. A comprehensive forum PPT presentation is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

Ei-Hosted Panel
At the January 2018 U.S. Composting Council (USCC) Conference in Atlanta, Holly moderated the popular Ei-hosted panel, Compost's Empowering Role in Sustainable Soils, to a near room-capacity audience. Per the program, the following is the panel description:
The panel attracted strong attendance
Soil is the foundation of life. Healthy, vibrant soil eco-systems are the building blocks for healthy communities with effective stormwater management programs, solid erosion-control systems, and nutritious urban-food production. … and compost feeds the soil eco-systems!
Industry experts shared about compost’s empowering role in carbon sequestration | climate change, soil management systems grounded in solid economics, and green-urban infrastructure.

The Ei-hosted panel was the conference's most popular break-out session.

The ZWA Blog article, GAME WON: 2018 compost conference a record-breaking success, features the Ei-hosted panel. PPT presentations are available for download on the Ei-Hosted Conference Panels page.

2018 WorldChefs Congress
The preceding Global Impact section includes a subsection on Holly's empowering The Profitability of Waste: the business case for food-waste reduction plenary presentation at the 2018 WorldChefs Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A Recycling Icon Retires
On October 31, 2019 Zero-Waste Icon Cindy Jackson retired from Ga Tech as the Director of Waste & Recycling. Under Cindy's 22-year leadership, Ga Tech never succumbed to single-stream and the award-wining recycling program operated as a profit center.

From inception through her retirement, Ei worked closely with Cindy on various projects related to zero-waste practices and beyond. When Ei requested a tour of Ga Tech's award-winning recycling program, Cindy always answered "YES, of course!"

Cindy attended Annual Ei Partner Meetings and participated in other Atlanta-based activities, such as the 2015 Atlanta Ei Partner Tours.

Cindy listens to Chuck during his
commentary of her decades at Ga Tech
In industry circles, Cindy is known as "The AMAZING Cindy Jackson" after Holly coined the term when Cindy arrived late to her first Ei Partner Meeting. Accurate, the name became the way to address Cindy!

In addition to Ga Tech VP Facilities Maintenance Chuck Rhode, Holly presented at Cindy's Retirement Celebration on October 25, 2019. Holly's presentation showcased why Cindy is indeed "The AMAZING Cindy Jackson!" and is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

The RiA Magazine article, The Legacy of the AMAZING Cindy Jackson, gives an overview of Cindy’s literally amazing professional accomplishments and ends with the October 25 retirement celebration. The Ei FB album, Cindy Jackson Retires, gives a pictorial recap of GA Tech | Ei interactions as well as images from the retirement celebration.

ZWZ Ten-Year Anniversary
February 10, 2019 marked the ten-year anniversary of the ZWZ launch at the acclaimed press conference hosted at the GWCCA. The ZWZ propelled Atlanta into the global spotlight as THE forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost.

ZWZ Chair speaking at the
Two-Year Anniversary Press Conference
The national media loved the ZWZ! Within months of the launch press conference the ZWZ were featured in a CNN Story, City Aims for Zero Waste. The story was featured on CNN's home page and aired during prime-time viewing in national and global markets. In the fall, the New York Times published the Nudging Recycling from Less Waste to None front-page article featuring the ZWZ.

At the 2009 GRACE - GRA Crystal of Excellence - Awards, Holly received the Innovator of the Year Award for the ZWZ formation and successes.

In February 2010, Ei was formed as the new home for the ZWZ. The Ei Speaking Engagement page details the plethora of conferences and other speaking engagements featuring the ZWZ along with accompanying PPT presentations.

At the ZWZ Two-Year Anniversary Press Conference, the NRA announced a national collaboration between the Ei | ZWZ and the NRA Conserve Program. In late September 2012, the NRA acquired the ZWZ program with intentions to expand the program nationally within the state-restaurant-association network. It was exciting news as the program could evolve and increase its impact within the depth of the NRA's educational, training and policy resources.

The RiA Magazine article, ZWZ Ten-Year Anniversary, chronicles the ZWZ launch, successes, and sale to the NRA.

Journalism
In 2016 Ei segued from a valuable media and industry resource into respected environmental journalism. A few years earlier press-interview inquiries validated Ei as recognized industry media. ... and then the prominent invitation arrived in early November:
The U.S. State Department invited Ei to join the invitation-only COP22 preview press conference call. Journalists from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were among the respected, mainstream media on the call.
In June 2016 Holly, author of the Ei magazines, launched HollyElmore.com as home to the Fingertip Press. When she publishes a magazine article, Holly writes a Facebook post beginning with “PREVIEW: Hot off the Fingertip Press an article …” Thus, the Fingertip Press evolved into Holly’s nomenclature for her published articles, documents and other written communication.

The Ei Magazines continue to garner impressive global readership! In 2019 The IMPACT Magazine surpassed 170,000 views and the RiA Magazine is closing in on the coveted 450,000-views milestone. Below is a quick magazine-stats overview:

The Impact
  • 173,900 views 
  • 136 published articles
  • Average 1,280 views per article
  • Most popular article: Ei New Mission Statement (12/12) 3,000 views
Regeneration in ACTION
Photojournalism
Beginning in 2017, Holly expanded her communication repertoire beyond publishing articles in the Ei Magazines and trade journals and crafting industry papers; Holly embraced photojournalism with articles in nationally distributed Southern Farm & Garden (SF&G). Rather than document Ei's important work, the SF&G articles complemented and intertwined Ei Pioneers, Strategic Allies, and initiatives within the copy.

Ei Digital Books
Launched in August 2018, the Ei Digital Books are in partnership with Holly Elmore Enterprises and comprised of Fingertip Press publications supported by Holly Elmore Images photos. Created and published by Ei Partner Veracity Media, the digital books augment Ei’s profound work within the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms.

Regenerative Agriculture Revives Soils & Local Ecosystems
Holly provided the copy and photographs for a seven-page, multiple-article feature in the 2017 SF&G fall issue. The An Icon in Sustainability and Hickory Grove Farm: Regenerative Agriculture Revives Soils & Local Ecosystems articles give an overview of  KSU's stellar sustainability commitment at the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability & Hospitality, The Commons (KSU’s Gold LEED certified dining hall), and HGF.

The previously mentioned Ei-hosted HGF tour for the GWCCA team, including Tim, GWCCA Grounds Maintenance Manager Steve Ware, and Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Matt Roach, is featured in an article side note along with a photo of Tim.

Restoring Pollinator Populations
In the SF&G spring 2018 issue, a six-page feature article, Restoring Pollinator Populations, gives an overview of challenges facing pollinator populations along with tips for pollinator-friendly gardens. Announcing the SF&G article, the RiA Magazine article, Redefining WASTE: impact of common landscape & grounds maintenance practices on urban wildlife, introduces the paradox of how neat, clean yards and landscapes are wasteful to the local ecosystem.

Ei Strategic Ally Park Pride's Pollinators in Parks program was featured in the RiA Magazine and SF&G articles. Park Pride Visioning Coordinator Teri Nye educated Holly on the empowering role of pollinator gardens and proofed the articles for accuracy.

Bee Swarms: Nature’s Way to Grow Strong Bee Populations
Honey-bee swarming is integral to colony propagation and overall bee population stabilization and growth.

In the SF&G summer 2018 issue, a two-page photo essay, Bee Swarms: Nature’s Way to Grow Strong Bee Populations, educates on the important role bee swarms play in propagating bee populations, both from the size of and the number of colonies. The photos were taken in Boulder, Colorado when Holly stumbled upon a beekeeper retrieving a bee swarm from one of his hives.

Stock-Photo Portfolio
To augment her photojournalism, Holly embarked on crafting a powerful stock-photo portfolio to support articles and other communication mediums. The stock photos are showcased on the HollyElmoreImages.com website as well as in the Holly Elmore Images (HEI) FB albums.

Community Gardens
Community gardens provide a myriad of benefits for urban dwellers, especially for those without access to land for personal gardens. Beyond building a local, seasonal food base, community gardens grow fellowship among often otherwise disconnected citizens.

Kathy with a Dunwoody
Community Garden volunteer.
The gathered food is destined for
a local shelter & food bank
Pollinator gardens often accompany and intertwine within community gardens.

As a complement to Holly's substantial agriculture and farm images, in 2018 Holly embarked on a quest to create a profound collection of community-garden images. After the Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, and World Hunger previously featured, Ei Supporter Kathy Kellogg Johnson of Kellogg Garden Products stayed in Atlanta for formal photo shoot at the Dunwoody Community Gardens.

The HEI FB album, Community Gardens, features images from the Grove Park, Lost Preserve, Dunwoody, and Blue Heron Nature Preserve Community Gardens

Travel Stock Photos
Travel is integral to Ei's work. When traveling for conferences, speaking engagements, or meetings, Holly takes a few days on the front or back end of the trip to capture the city's essence through her camera lens. Often the captured images support an Ei Magazine article.

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, includes a section for each of the featured travel destinations.

Greenville, SC
Liberty Bridge in Greenville, SC
While researching the Upstate SC healthy-food school programs in 2019, Holly spent significant time in Greenville, SC with many spontaneous photo shoots. The RiA Magazine article, Greenville, #yeahthatgreenville, is a southern treasure, showcases the southern city's economic resurgence. In the 1970's, the demise of the textile industry in the Upstate devastated the once prosperous region.

Florida Keys & Everglades
TSSI meetings to secure distribution of GPS paper straws took Holly to Miami for several visits in 2019. After her Miami meetings Holly spent time in the Florida Keys and the Florida Everglades photographing the profound scenery.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Before and after her July 2018 WorldChefs speaking engagement, Holly meandered around the Malaysian city with her camera where local markets were bountiful with colorful photo opportunities. In addition, the city boasts magnificent office and retail towers.

Land Economics Weekends
Sunset over the Mississippi River
in Memphis, TN
In her capacity as Lambda Alpha International Assistant Scribe, Holly attends the semi-annual executive committee meetings followed by a Land Economics Weekend (LEW) hosted by the local chapter. Holly generally adds a couple of personal days in the LEW-host city to document the local flavor and nuances. The Lambda Alpha International section gives an overview of the organization along with Holly's global responsibilities.

Below is a list of the LEW host cities featured in the Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, along with the supporting Ei Magazine article:


Ei Connects
Ei plays a valuable industry role by introducing organizations and individuals who share synergies for powerful relationships and action. During the Ei Era of Regeneration, the below prominent Ei Connections were valuable contributions to ongoing industry events and working relationships.

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, includes a section for most of the Ei Connections listed.

U.S. Green Building Council Atlanta Visit
Stephanie with Tim Trefzer (GWWCA)
and Shelby Buso (USGBC GA)
As mentioned in the Speaking Engagements section, Ei hosted USGBC Global Zero Waste Director Stephanie Barger on a whirlwind Atlanta zero-waste-focused visit. For three days, Stephanie met with Atlanta's sustainability leadership to educate on the USGBC Zero Waste Certification and their commitment to building a Zero-Waste Economy.

The ZWA Blog article, Building a Zero-Waste Economy, one city, one step at a time, gives the history of the strong relationship dating back to the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council time frame along with details on the whirlwind visit.

Laura Turner Seydel | Kathy Kellogg Johnson
In early summer 2017, Holly introduced Ei Environmental Advisor Laura Turner Seydel, Captain Planet Foundation Chair and environmental activist, to Ei Supporter Kathy Kellogg Johnson, KGP Chair and soil-heath icon. A beautiful friendship immediately blossomed between the two powerhouse women.

Kathy & Laura embrace
at the 2018 USCC Conference
When Kathy visited Atlanta a few months later, Laura hosted a Sustainable Soils Luncheon on August 22 at the EcoManor, her LEED Certified home. An impressive cross section of industry professionals including associates representing the USDA Forest Service, The Conservation Fund, U.S. Composting Council, Turner Foundation, Captain Planet Foundation, Park Pride, Emory University, Ei, Growing a GreenerWorld, and Kellogg Garden Organics attended the prominent luncheon.

At the previously mentioned 2018 USCC Conference hosted in Atlanta, the closing plenary session featured a conversation with Kathy and Laura. Additionally, Kathy and Laura joined the Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger in October 2018.

Scott Jenkins | LAI | Kathy Kellogg Johnson
At Holly's invitation, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) General Manager Scott Jenkins gave an empowering Sustainability: an economic driver presentation at the February 15, 2017 LAI Atlanta Chapter luncheon meeting.

Ei entourage at the LAI meeting
In his opening slide, Scott states: MBS will be the Heart of Atlanta and home to the biggest championships in the United States. Scott provided a list of secured championships including, but not limited to, the 2019 Super Bowl and the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Additionally, the list of sustainability accomplishments was staggering.

As Scott is a close Ei friend, a strong Ei entourage attended the LAI meeting to show their support: Ei Advisory Council member Wayne King (USCC | ERTHProducts), Boyd Leake (City of Atlanta, Office of Sustainability), Ei Supporter Jim Harrell (Renaissance Technology) and Ei Pioneer Tim Trefzer (GWCCA).

The IMPACT Blog article, Sustainability: an economic driver, gives an overview of Scott’s empowering presentation. Scott’s PPT presentation is available for download on the Ei Connects page.

After the 2018 USCC Conference, Holly facilitated an introduction meeting for Kathy and Scott. On a subsequent stadium visit, Holly discovered MBS uses KPG organic potting soil for their raised-bed gardens.

Kiss the Ground Atlanta Introductions
Ei Strategic Ally Kiss The Ground Co-Founder Finian Makepeace arrived a day early for the 2018 USCC Conference hosted in Atlanta for an empowering series of Ei-hosted introductory meetings focused on regenerative-agriculture | landscaping practices.

Nancy & Finian at their intro meeting
The industrious day began at Georgia Tech with Hyacinth Ide, Landscaping Services Manager, where water retention was established as the day’s theme. Next on the agenda was a meeting with Ei Regeneration in ACTION Chair Tim Trefzer and GWCCA Grounds-Maintenance Manager Steve Ware. SF&G Publisher Nancy Suttles traveled to the GWCCA for a meeting with Finian.

Ei Advisor Boyd Leake of Community Environmental Management and Tim joined the Sustainable Food Court Initiative – Atlanta Airport meeting to learn about work-under-development related to the Flint River headwaters that flow underneath the airport runways.

The RiA Magazine article, Regeneration in ACTION, gives an overview of the powerful day of meetings and introductions.

King of Crops | Hickory Grove Farm Tours
CompostNow Co-Founder
David Paull with Scott at
King of Crops' compost operations
As previously mentioned, Ei hosted numerous introductory tours at King of Crops and Hickory Grove Farms. Ga Tech sustainability staff, GWCCA grounds maintenance, culinary, and sustainability associates, Affairs to Remember staff, The Conservation Fund Assistant Regional Council, and Founding Ei Chair Scott Seydel joined Holly on various farm tours since 2017.

In June 2019, Ei orchestrated introductions for long-time comrades in sustainability at Georgia Tech to KSU Hickory Grove Farm and KSU Dining Services. Synergies abounded during the tour and meeting between Georgia Tech and KSU.

While Ga Tech excels in its waste & recycling program as well as grounds-maintenance practices, KSU is an industry hero in sustainable dining. The RiA Magazine article, Success is not static: evolution is required to create and sustain regeneration, gives an overview of the empowering tour and meeting.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance | Piedmont Park Conservancy | EPA R4
In mid-April 2018, Ei Strategic Ally ILSR associates traveled to Atlanta to develop best management practices for community composting via an EPA Region 4 grant.

Ei orchestrated two meetings with Piedmont Park Conservancy (PPC). On April 23, PPC Board Member Ken Haldin hosted Brenda Platt & Linda Bilsens with the ILSR for a park tour along with an education on park history including recent enhancements and future plans. The following day park staff educated on past and current composting practices at the community garden.

Sustainable Pattie | MBS | GWCCA
Pattie & Tim at the
GWCCA's apiary
On May 9, 2019 Ei orchestrated sustainability tours of the MBS and GWCCA for Pattie Baker, alias “Sustainable Pattie.” The tours were research for Pattie’s recently announced Sustainability-in-Action bicycle tours in partnership with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta.

Ei was honored to introduce Patti to long-term partners and colleagues. It was fun to witness synergies during the tour, especially when Patti learned Scott Jenkins rides his bike to work at the stadium!

... and the original Ei tagline Sustainability in ACTION garners a new life while traveling at the speed of bike.

The RiA Magazine article, Sustainability in ACTION garners a new life, at the speed of bike, gives an overview of the tours.

Lambda Alpha International
Lambda Alpha International (LAI) is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Operating through a network of thirty plus global chapters, LAI provides a variety of programs and forums for its members to share information critical to understanding important land-use issues. The IMPACT Blog article, Lambda Alpha International Atlanta Chapter: growing membership, influence and impact, introduces LAI along with its designated purposes.

Land Economics Weekends
Twice per year chapters sponsor "Weekend Experiences" giving members an opportunity to meet and learn about land-economic issues in cities throughout the world. Open to LAI members and their guests, the Land Economic Weekends (LEW) address wider international, national and regional issues and include project tours within the host city.

The Travel-Stock Photos section lists the LEWs Holly attended since her December 2013 LAI induction along with published articles supporting the photo albums.

International Executive Committee
EC meeting prior to the
Toronto LEW
The day prior to LEW activities, the International Executive Committee (EC) meets for a series of business meetings. In addition to EC members, LAI Chapter Presidents travel from across the globe for the business meetings as well as the subsequent LEW.

In 2019 Holly joined the EC in her capacity of Assistant Scribe and participates in meetings and calls throughout the year. Additionally, Holly serves on the International Communication | Public Relations and Publication Committees.

Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative
Under Holly's oversight and vision, the LAI Global Regenerative Land Economics Initiative (GRLEI) is in the formation process as of this article's publication. The following is an excerpt from the GRLEI Formation Document draft:

Vision: to engage the global LAI membership and explore challenges related to stated focus areas from a holistic approach where the community, environment and local economies benefit from commentary, discussions, and proposed projects.

The GRLEI seeks to be a thought leader in supporting complete and equitable communities.

Focus Areas:
  • Infrastructure – explores the built environment including a city’s water & sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities, as well as corporate, government, and educational districts | campuses. Additionally, focus is on the availability of and access to affordable housing within a community.
  • Environmental Resources – explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities on energy sources, soil health, local greenways, open spaces, waterways, and resident access.
  • Social Equity – explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.

Commitment: the GRLEI is committed to action, whether in the form of drafting educational documentation (articles, white papers, website copy), global webinars, and/or projects designed for community impact. GRLEI members must actively participate.

The GRLEI aligns with Ei's important work in the Era of Regeneration and many of the Ei Advisors, Supporters, and Friends serve as GRLEI Industry Experts.

Gifts from the Heart
Contents of a deluxe HJ Treat Bag
As years unfold into the holiday season, Holly keeps a decades-long tradition of gifting sweet and savory treats prepared from the heart. The Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bag (HJ Treats) tradition dates back to 1985 when Holly resided in the corporate world.

While cooking and baking, Holly infuses the HJ Treats with sacred-heart love. The energy infused within the 2019 HJ Treat Bags mirrored the below closing paragraphs in the previously mentioned Plastics: a double-edged sword article:
"Plastics gifted humanity with an evolution of manufacturing, farming and information technology. Life on planet Earth is much more comfortable and abundant from the benefit of these innovations.
Yet plastic pollution and its devastating ramifications threaten humanity's ability to continue as the Earth's dominant species. The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth. Negligent human action is responsible for a majority of the plastic pollution choking the Earth's life force.
It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart."
Long after the gifting is complete, the Divine inspiration to "live and take action from the heart" has eternal life.

The IMPACT Magazine article, Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bags: Inspiration to live from the Heart, gives the HJ Treats history along with contents for the 2019 bags.

Mission-in-Process
In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished; thus, Ei embarked upon the Era of Regeneration. Though Ei accomplished many milestones since entering the Era of Regeneration, the overall mission remains in-process.

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, gives a pictorial recount of the activities documented in this article. Unless otherwise noted, article images are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.