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VOL. 35 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 11, 2011

Pick Tennessee Products helps connect farmers with restaurants

By Hollie Deese

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Nashville may not be considered the most “green” city, but it isn’t for lack of trying. A growing number of forward-thinking entrepreneurs and business owners are putting more and more of their focus on sustainability, locally and beyond.

Those efforts continue April 21-22 when Lipscomb University’s Institute for Sustainability hosts its fourth annual Green Business Summit, at which leading voices in the world of sustainability will discuss business models, best practices and opportunities for people to succeed in an increasingly eco-minded environment.

“The summit is really designed to help Nashville accelerate its presence in this emerging reality,” says G. Dodd Galbreath, executive director of Lipscomb’s Institute for Sustainable Practice.

Attendees of the summit will be able to hear keynote speeches by L. Hunter Lovins of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Wal-Mart’s Don Moseley, and can attend workshops and breakout sessions aimed at specific business segments, including the “Nashville Sessions” series, focused on best practices and future opportunities in Middle Tennessee.

“Local sustainability leaders and pioneers will lead expert discussions about how to make this real in Nashville,” Galbreath says. “We will have leaders from HCA and Ingram and Waste Management and a variety of other businesses in town who are all doing cutting edge things. We’ll have local entrepreneurs and service providers who will be consultants.”

An Earth Day leadership breakfast will feature Mayor Karl Dean, who also is hosting the second annual Waste Management Green Business Leadership Awards.

“We’ll be soliciting the involvement of the companies who nominate their leaders and business personalities to be recognized for their leadership in green business practices,” Galbreath says.

A green consumer show will take place next door to the conference April 22-23, and on Saturday, Earth Day, attendees can be shuttled back and forth between the annual celebration at Centennial Park and the conference downtown.

“There are going to be multiple opportunities for the people of Nashville to learn where to go with their dollars on Earth Day this year,” Galbreath says.

Lipscomb has been ahead of the pack for years when it comes preparing students for the influx of eco-mindedness in business. The Institute for Sustainability Practices is one of six specialized institutes at the university and offers an undergraduate major and minor in sustainability with an emphasis in the natural sciences, business and environmental management. It also offers graduate studies and certificates in sustainability.

“The first graduate of our green MBA program has a green consulting practice that was just named a Future 50 company by the Nashville chamber,” Galbreath says. There are currently about 30 students enrolled in the graduate program.

“We see ourselves as capable of working with the mayor and governor to continue initiatives and to advance the services and practices in the state,” he adds.

“It is not as real in Nashville and Tennessee as it is in other parts of the country and internationally. But our institute is cutting edge, visionary and offers academic programs that are all defined to help our community and our economy be prepared for the 21st Century reality to be competitive.”

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