Daemen Presents 2013 WNY Environmental Summit September 28

Safe and Green: Sustainability is Top Issue for Local Food Manufacturers


September 18, 2013



Contact:  Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations

                Daemen College

                (716) 839-8472



           Sustainable food manufacturing minimizes the impact on the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, and energy requirements. In addition, companies are finding that reducing environmental impact and operational costs are also among the key benefits of sustainable manufacturing.


           Sustainable food is the central theme of the 2013 WNY Environmental Summit, “Food for Thought: Safe and Green for Our Future." The Summit is coming to the Daemen College Wick Center 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, September 28, 2013. 


           The Summit will also offer Electronic Recycling Drop-Off. Boxes will be on the back porch of Wick Center beginning Friday afternoon, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 29. This is a great opportunity to recycle all of those old electronics.


            “Our commitment to the environment and sustainability is a key part of the Daemen College Mission. We want to lead by example,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.


            “The sustainability of our food sources is critical. Not depleting our available resources, as well as securing their environmental integrity and safety are issues that are important to all of us.”


           A highlight of the Summit will be a panel discussion, “How Local Food Manufacturers are Addressing Sustainability.” Perry’s Ice Cream Director of Sustainability Gayle Perry Denning, Rich Products Corporation Director of Sustainability Deb Gondek, and McCullagh Coffee Sales and Product Manager Jeff Oliver will be participating.  


           “A lot of what we’ve been working on is sustainability education within our internal community,” said Denning. 


           “This includes creating awareness and building a base knowledge at all levels, because our sustainability team can’t be everywhere and do everything.  We’re a relatively large company now and we’re trying to educate across the organization and help everyone realize that they have a role in sustainability. Perry’s is proud to be part of the 9th annual Environmental Summit.”  


           Summit attendees will also learn about helpful ideas they can pursue, such as growing  food locally, to bring sustainability into backyards by composting.  Exposure to chemicals present in cleaning products, personal care products, and plastic containers used for food and water will also be discussed, focusing on the chemicals’ human impact. Interference with the human endocrine system – the organs that control our bodies’ processes – is one example.


            Sponsors of the 2013 Environmental Summit include Cornell Worker Institute; Daemen College; Erie County Environmental Education Institute; Knoer Group; McCullagh Coffee and CIR Electrical Construction. More than 30 organizations and businesses will be exhibiting. In addition to food safety and bisphenol-A in food packaging, speakers will discuss urban farming and promoting access to fresh foods. This event is free to the public.


9th Annual WNY Environmental Summit Agenda:


8:30-9 a.m.  Registration and Exhibit Tables, with free Continental Breakfast


9:00-10 a.m. Welcome, Updates on Local Environmental Initiatives




Nellie Brown, Cornell University ILR School, Worker Institute: "Endocrine Disrupters in our Environment”


Michael Lee, Director-Green Entrepreneurial Center: "Local Growing"


10:00-10:30 a.m.  Exhibits and Networking


Panel Discussion:


10:30-11:15 a.m.  “How Local Food Manufacturers are Addressing Sustainability”


Gayle Perry Denning – Director of Sustainability, Perry's Ice Cream Company


Deb Gondek – Director of Sustainability, Rich Products Corporation


Jeff Oliver – Sales and Product Manager, McCullagh Coffee




11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  


Mike Lee, Director-Green Entrepreneurial Center and Judy Einach, Director of the NY Sustainable Agriculture Working Group:


"Adapting Urban/Suburban Green Space for Food System Reform”


This workshop will be a discussion among workshop participants and food system experts whose daily work is food system reform. We will talk about food production on urban/suburban green spaces and subsequent benefits including pollinator conservation, lowering the cost of healthy food, improving and maintaining soil quality (composting and pesticide-free), and overall strengthened commitment to environmental stewardship. Additionally we will discuss how we feed our children and how we can use very locally grown agricultural products to improve the quality of school meals while lowering that cost, and at the same time, educating children and young people about what quality food really is.


Lowering costs, making healthy food available to all people by utilizing natural processes, such as composting, and creating an environment to attract bees and other pollinators to the garden will be part of this workshop. Along with a focus on our food system, how it works, and discovering ways to help to lower the cost of healthy food, the workshop will look at ways to educate children about the importance of these issues.


Nellie Brown: "Endocrine Disrupters Explained"


The new kids on the block, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, are in our cleaning products, personal care products, plastic containers for food and water, pharmaceuticals, and many other materials. Their use means they can contaminate our food and eventually reach soil, wastewater and drinking water. These are emerging chemicals of concern that interfere with our bodies’ endocrine system ­ organs that control our bodies’ processes. This workshop will explore “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, their routes of exposure, and how protection and

prevention could be done.




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Daemen College has been named to the 2008 Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction – recognized as a national leader for its service learning programs.

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