Month: October 2016

We Need to Talk…



We need to talk. About food systems. About food justice. About your favorite cultural food — the ones that touch your heart and define who you are.

You and your family (children are welcome) are invited to join us THIS Saturday, October 29th for the third and final Food in the Public Square event at the NCC Fowler Center on Bethlehem’s Southside.

We want to capture YOUR “food story.” In conversation. On video.

Sounds interesting, right? You may wonder, “Why bother? What’s to become of it?” More than you might think! Our Food in the Public Square scholars will listen to it (together with the other videos collected over the last six months) and identify themes. They will develop a summary document to share with the Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council — nineteen organizations working together to reduce food insecurity and grow the local food economy in the Lehigh Valley.

But that’s not all, this will be fun! Hear our informative panel explore how we can achieve food justice in the Lehigh Valley. Panelists include Sophia Feller, a long-time rain-maker for increasing food security through community gardens in Easton, Stephanie Dorenbosch, Staff Attorney with Friends of Farmworkers, and Alvaro Drake-Cortes, Project Manager on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with the Food Trust of Philadelphia.
The panel will be followed by small group table discussions in which you will be able to weigh in and share your wisdom and experiences.

Additionally, you will be able to view poetry from past poetry workshops and videos of people’s food stories from previous events. And, there will be a conga drum performance during lunch by Saide Saddiq.
This lunch represents the third of three during six month process of collecting “food stories” for the Food in the Public Square project led by Northampton Community College.

This could be the most satisfying lunch you have, because we’ll be not just breaking bread, but also digging in deep to food issues and food stories, digesting some ideas regarding food systems and how to make our communities a better, more fair place when it comes to food.

Come early in the day (at 10 a.m.) and there will be an opportunity to tell your “food story” at both small group table discussions and on video tape.

We’ll hear about some of the themes from the food stories already collected and see videos of food stories told by our Lehigh Valley neighbors and friends from past events.

This project, which is led by Northampton Community College in collaborations with Second Harvest Food Bank, the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley — and others, is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our hope is that the important scholarship from this project will inspire and inform the work being done on food systems in the region and have an impact in improving lives in the Lehigh Valley.

Since our community is wonderfully diverse, we will have native Spanish-speaking table hosts to help capture stories of food, family and culture among those who feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish.

The panel discussion will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a community conversation (using our small group table discussion format) and then lunch at noon, followed by Second Harvest Chef Cook-Off from 1-3 p.m.

If you want your story captured on video, please make sure to come from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This will ensure that the scholars will hear your story before they complete their final report.

It’s a fun event, but seating is limited.

Reserve your spot today at or send me an email at Also, please feel free to forward this invitation to others.

For more information, please go to
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Do you have opinions about urbanism, smart growth and public policy that supports sustainability and equity? We gather regularly to discuss relevant community issues at the Coffee House Without Limits in Allentown! Come make friends, drink coffee and explore ideas that will improve our communities such as: zoning, gentrification, air quality and more.

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Make friends, discuss civic activism, new urbanism, smart growth, making a difference, and anything on your mind about your neighborhood or regional growth. Come make your voice heard!

If you are reading a really interesting book and want to propose it for future discussions please contact us:

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Moving Ideas to Action

4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities
"Our Towns, Our Farms, Our Future"

Our 4th Annual Summit for Smart Growth was a huge success! We focused on social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. Check out the coverage of our event by The Morning Call here

SoCap and Ben Price of CELDF.

Last year on December 9th, 2016, almost 200 community leaders and concerned citizens gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown for RenewLV's fourth annual Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities to discuss social entrepreneurship and how to make sustainability legal. We also held table discussions that covered topics such as strategies for land preservation, community revitalization and municipal cooperation.

At last year's Summit, we asked the questions:

•How do you balance what appears to be competing interests: Doing good and making money?

•How does overbearing local, state or federal laws prevent us from preserving quality of life and/or supporting smart growth?

•How do we achieve local self-determination without giving up some of the laudable goals of regulations intended to provide quality of life and prosperity for all?

A big thank-you to all of the Summit for Smart Growth sponsors who contributed to last year's discussion! You made this event possible!

Mountain View

Report Highlights Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Renew Lehigh Valley has often noted the benefits of smart growth development for municipalities, including cost savings. A new report by Smart Growth America details the benefits for municipalities realized through smart growth development. Read the full report here.

Watch the Envision Lehigh Valley Virtual Meeting

RenewLV and our partners at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the City of Allentown, the City of Bethlehem, and the City of Easton held a one-of-a-kind virtual public meeting for Envision Lehigh Valley. 100 participants logged in through a live video feed, Facebook, Twitter, and live chat. Missed the meeting? View the full recording on YouTube here