The 2016 SCOCO Leadership Awards Gala: Contra Costa Celebrates Sustainability Through Partnership

Claudia Pingatore, Energy Analyst

Claudia-HeadShot03CropEvery time I go to the Sustainable Contra Costa (SCOCO) Leadership In Sustainability & Green Building Awards Gala, I am filled with inspiration. I get to see old friends and meet new people, all coming together to celebrate the concept of sustainability: that is, bettering our quality of life through not only caring for our environment, but strengthening the interpersonal connections of all its inhabitants for the greater good.

This was the 8th year for the event that included not only the awards presentation, but plenty of networking with nosh and libations provided by local establishments like Captain Vineyards of Moraga and Corners Tavern of Walnut Creek. The gala theme this year was “Inspired by Nature” in honor of the U.S. National Park Service’s Centennial. Contra Costa County supervisors presented leadership awards in these categories: Sustainable Communities, Food System Innovation, Resource Management, Green Building, Rising Star, and Lifetime Achievement. I’ll cover some of the winners that are of special relation to the Food Service Technology Center.

2016 SCOCO Gala

Guests enjoy a wide array of food and drink at the SCOCO Leadership In Sustainability Awards Gala on September 21st, 2016. Source: sustainablecoco.org/awards_gala

Larry Sly was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award for his 40 years of work providing hungry people in the community with meals through the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano. Larry’s years of work have demonstrated the connection between sustainable food practices and taking care of your neighbors. The FSTC is proud to have partnered with the Food Bank of Contra Costa as our primary test food donation source over the past five years.

Larry Sly

Larry Sly of the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano accepts the SCOCO Lifetime Achievement Award. Source: sustainablecoco.org/node/232

Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD), who won the Food System Innovation award for their integrated Farm-to-School Program, expressed gratitude toward the team of dedicated people that were crucial in its implementation. The FSTC has collaborated with several schools within the MDUSD in recent years including bolstering our laboratory summer internship program and hosting educational events with Mt. Diablo High School. The video below explores MDUSD’s Farm-to-School Program in more depth:

I also connected with Contra Costa native Blaine Landberg of Calicraft Brewing when I casually mentioned my favorite beer style (IPA!) and he told me all about Calicraft’s sustainable brewing processes—as well as the sustainable design that went into their new taproom in Walnut Creek. The FSTC is working on future collaborations with the brewing industry to help engender sustainable brewing practices through energy and water efficiency. Stay tuned!

All SCOCO gala winners stressed the importance of collaboration and partnership. The FSTC continues to nurture its relationships with these Contra Costa sustainability leaders. Whether working with restaurant operators or school districts, we seek to educate, assist, and ultimately empower people to make sustainably conscious business choices.