Manatee County to host sustainable conference

July 24, 2012 

MANATEE -- Manatee County will host a conference that will explore ways that can help post-recession Florida continue to attract investors, innovative newcomers and visitors.

A conference on Sustainable & Authentic Florida will look at how places that resist grow-at-all-cost strategies can attract investors, entrepreneurs and visitors, the Manatee Chamber announced Monday.

The conference will take place Oct. 17-19 at the Anna Maria Island Players Theater. It will be presented by the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust in association with the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Florida Journeys Communications. Area businesses are providing in-kind services.

"The conference will take place in coastal Manatee County because residents here largely resist grow-at-all-cost policy in favor of themselves determining how their places develop," says Associate Conference Director Caroline McKeon of Sarasota. "Cortez insists on its fishing ways; Anna Maria Island welcomes visitors for its informality; north Longboat Key keeps its historical character, and Bradenton is re-positioning its waterfront for further renewal of downtown."

Four Florida places will indicate how: Wakulla and mainland Franklin counties in the near Panhandle, DeLand and northwest Volusia County an hour northeast of Orlando, Miami Beach and coastal Manatee County.

The conference will provide a look at sustainability "not governed by science and technology; instead, by civics and values," organizers say.

Speakers include Peggy Bulger, retired director of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center; Duane De Freese, educator/scientist on coastal adaptation to climate change; Clay Henderson, iconic environmental leader; Bob McNulty, president of Partners for Livable Communities, Washington, DC; Gary Mormino, co-director of Florida Studies Program USF and social historian; Bruce Stephenson, director of Rollins College masters program in Urban Studies; and Florida photojournalist-interpreter John Moran.

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