A sustainable community refers to a community that is planned, built or modified to promote sustainable living. These communities tend to focus on environmental and economic sustainability, urban infrastructure, social equity and municipal government.
A sustainable community’s success depends upon its members’ commitment and involvement. The first key commitment is an active, organized and informed citizenship. Next, we must have inspiring, effective and responsive leadership. Finally, we need responsible, caring and healthy community institutions, services and businesses. It is up to each of us to make Manatee County the premier place to live, work and play, now and for generations to come.
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Greenways and Trails
Manatee County’s greenways and trails network runs through the preserves, parks, and urban areas of the county. Several segments are in the planning and design stages but upon completion our network will connect with those of Hillsborough and Sarasota counties. Recreation opportunities vary between each preserve: hiking is permitted at all preserves, but some offer biking, fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, dog walking, or all of the above! All trails are closed to motorized vehicles with the exception of those at Duette. Check out the Sarasota-Manatee MPO Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Master Plan to see what’s in store.
The blueways portion of the network comprises 75 miles of paddling trails in marine and fresh waters. Maps and info on the blueways network can be found in Paddle Manatee: A guide to Area Canoe and Kayak Trails.
Community gardens are collaborative projects on shared open spaces where community members share in the maintenance and products of the garden. They promote healthy lifestyles and increase a sense of community by providing a space for improved nutrition, physical activity, community engagement, safety and economic vitality for a neighborhood and its residents.
Some specific benefits associated with community gardening include:
- Bringing people together across diverse backgrounds
- Reduce crime by creating a focal point for community organizing to deal with other social concerns and by strengthening social connections
- Improve health by providing access to fresh, traditional produce and nutritionally rich foods in low-income neighborhoods where nutritious food is much less available
- Increase property values in the immediate vicinity where they are located
- Revitalize communities in industrial areas and beautify vacant lots
- Offer educational opportunities and vocational skills to youth and adults alike
Manatee County currently operates Geraldson Community Farm, a local organic farm in Northwest Bradenton. It is operated as a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, where growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of local food production. Members purchase a share at the beginning of the season and get an equal portion of the produce weekly or bi-weekly throughout the season.
One of the keys to a sustainable community is an informed citizenship. You can learn an array of topics that will help you to embrace sustainability in your home, your work and your community.
The UF IFAS Extension offers classes in gardening, landscape, rain barrel harvesting and more. Visit the Manatee County Extension calendar for info and registration.
Geraldson Farms offers workshops in many areas, ranging from how to grow succulents to preserving food through canning. Check out their event calendar for a list of current classes.
The Resource Management Division is responsible for habitat and wildlife management and public access on nearly 30,000 acres of conserved public land. The division goal is to "conserve and protect" the natural resources in Manatee County utilizing adaptive management and minimal impact public access and utilization.
Manatee County Speaker's Bureau
Manatee County wants to actively engage the community in sustainability initiatives by providing speakers knowledgeable in the areas of energy, recycling, water conservation and waste reduction.
The following guidelines apply to organizations/agencies requesting speakers:
- All requests must be received at least 2 weeks in advance of a scheduled meeting, conference or event to ensure appropriate time for scheduling.
- A representative from the requesting organization should be in attendance for the presentation duration.
- Please contact the speaker a week prior to the presentation date for final confirmation of time, date, audio-visual needs, audience numbers, etc.
- No request will be considered as confirmed without the submission of a completed Speaker Request Form and confirmation provided by Speakers Bureau staff.
- Commercial and Industrial Waste Reduction
- Residential Waste Reduction
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping
- Conserving Energy in the Workplace
- Conserving Energy at Home
- Recycling 101
- Where does our trash go?
- Sustainability 101
- About Manatee County Extension