The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition outlined its accomplishments from 2009 and looked ahead to 2010 at its annual meeting Friday.

More than 50 people, including representatives from businesses, school administrators and Oregon State University students, attended the meeting at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

The coalition's mission is to "promote an ecologically, economically and socially healthy city and state." In August 2009, the coalition separated from its parent network, the Oregon Natural Step Network. It applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, which is pending.

"I would like to say thank you to all of you for recognizing the importance of building a sustainable community," said Annette Mills, coalition facilitator. "We are starting to see the limits of what the Earth can provide. The signs are all around us. We can choose to ignore these signs and wait until we are forced to react. Or we can seize this opportunity to work together to create a sustainable community and a sustainable world."

During the 90-minute meeting, volunteers outlined their activities in 2009.

Last year, the organization created action teams for 11 topic areas. The Water Action Team selected the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op's south store for a sustainable water demonstration project.

"We will demonstrate how a viable business can cut their water usage and discharge in half," said Dave Eckert, who had presented the team's proposal to the Corvallis City Council's Urban Services Committee.

The coalition applied for $30,000 in city funds to support the project, which the co-op will support with matching funds and marketing and educational outreach. Oregon State University engineering students will also participate.

Corvallis is the first city in the state to have "green waste" recycling, said Jeanette Hardison, a volunteer with the Waste Reduction Action Team. Residents can add their food scraps to their yard compost bins.

Her team also created an outreach program through faith communities and offered waste audits to local churches.

The Food Action Team set a "lofty goal": by 2020, 60 percent of food consumed in Corvallis will be locally grown, said Barbara Grant. The current rate is estimated at 2 percent, she said.

Twelve local restaurants signed up for the Corvallis Local 6 Connection. Owners agreed to feature one item on the daily menu made with substantially local ingredients. "We're connecting farmers, restaurants, retailers and the community," said Emily Stimac, marketing coordinator at First Alternative.


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