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Just Local event to teach community sustainability

April 20, 2012

UW-River Falls is looking to educate the community about River Falls’ economy with their Just Local event. The event will be taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 20 in the Falcon’s Nest at the University Center. This event centers on bringing the community together and supporting the local economy.

“The University is an integral part of the River Falls community that carries a very large amount of buying power in our local economy,” said student and coordinator for the event, Jabez Meulemans. “Especially among the student population, which is upwards of 6,500, spending dollars locally is a critical part of our overall effort towards a more sustainable community.”

Some of the businesses that will be attending the event are local business and organizations such as River Falls Municipal Utilities, River Falls Farmer’s Market, the Falls Theatre, Karma Gifts, Whole Earth Grocery and a few others as well.

Each business will be setting up a booth in the fair and they will be advertising what kind of products and services they offer and what part they play in fulfilling the community. Educational information will be on display at each booth detailing the positive carbon footprint impact of dealing locally for a specific item available from each business/organization.

“Investing money locally instead of exporting that money elsewhere (out of the city, county, state, or country) has a profound economic effect on our community, as well as has a host of ecological benefits, namely the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping and transportation,” Meulemans said.

People who participate in the Just Local event on campus can sample local foods, do crafts and learn how local businesses and organizations meet everyday needs. Participants can also learn how to reduce their carbon footprint through eating local, buying local and utilizing alternative modes of transportation.

Following the fair, the University will be partnering with We Bike River Falls, a local non-profit bicycle advocacy organization, to host a community bike ride beginning and ending in Veteran’s Park in downtown River Falls.

Following the ride will be live music by local musician Chris Silver and food available in the park from local vendors. This is a free event. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. and the ride starts at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the community bike ride is to provide a fun, family-oriented event where people can learn about and celebrate the many benefits of bicycle transportation over automobile transportation.

“I think there is a serious lack of educated and engaged consumers across all demographics, not just students,” Meulemans said. “We hope that through this event students will gain an awareness of the myriad of goods and services available from local River Falls entities, as well as the importance of sourcing those products locally rather than externally.”

All of these events are free and open to the public. For more information about this event contact Karyn Wells, event coordinator for the Office of Student Life, at karyn.wells@uwrf.edu. Information about the bike ride can be found at www.webikeriverfalls.org.