PITTSBORO — “This event is really great,” said Bobby Leeper, of Siler City, as he took another bite of pizza. “There’s also good music and exhibits.”
Leeper and his wife, Penny Ferry-Leeper, were sharing a pizza slice baked in the outdoor wood oven at Central Carolina Community College’s student farm at its Chatham County Campus. The oven was made by CCCC green building students with master stonemason Joe Kenlan. The pizza was created of fresh vegetables and herbs grown at the student farm and sprinkled with locally produced goat’s cheese.
The culinary delight was a taste of the Celebrate Green Central Trade Show and Home Tour at the college Oct. 16-17. The event showcased the college’s green, earth-friendly programs in renewable energy, green building, biofuels and agriculture. It also featured area vendors who supply green, environmentally friendly products and services, from home energy efficiency audits to construction and photovoltaic, solar thermal and geothermal energy systems.
On Oct. 17, in addition to the on-campus activities, the college and N.C. Sustainable Energy Association sponsored self-guided home tours for visitors to seven Chatham County homes. These are either under construction or already built using environmentally sustainable materials and methods, such as aerated autoclaved concrete (ACC) and solar thermal heating.
“Green is a logical step for survival,” said Tracy Lynn, whose Habitat for Humanity-built home was on the tour. “Green is becoming a way of living because we don’t have the resources to sustain how we’re doing things now.”
Lynn is also a student at the college and hopes to become the first recipient of a Green Building Certificate when she completes the program in the spring.
The public came to look, learn, and enjoy— and they accomplished all three.
At the sustainable agriculture student farm, a steady supply of pizzas were being made, baked and consumed as visitors toured the lab. Angelina Koulizakis, of Angelina’s Kitchen in Pittsboro, and Joe Kenlan, of Kenlan Stoneworks, sponsored the pizza-baking event.
The student farm runs a community supported agriculture program that provides fresh vegetables for about 30 people each week during the spring, summer and fall. The lab also operates a small chicken farm for eggs.
“It’s exciting to see how things are developing,” said Denise Shaver, of Chapel Hill, as she and her husband, Gary Shaver, toured the lab. “ We’ve already put a photovoltaic system on a storage building on land we own. We’re moving to sustainable farming in a few years and its great to see the techniques for it.”
In the college’s exhibition hall, about 20 area architects, green builders, green water and home heating contractors, and green building materials suppliers offered their expertise and information to the trade show visitors.
Paul Sacca, co-owner of Cooperative Energy Solutions, one of the exhibitors, noted that the college provides top-quality green training with expert instructors at affordable cost. Graduates of those programs can set up their own businesses, adding products and services to the area economy.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Green is expanding at CCCC-Chatham, with culinary arts and ecotourism programs recently added.
Those who missed the Celebrate Green Central event this year can look forward to next October, when it returns as an ongoing annual celebration of all things green.
“The success of Celebrate Green Central shows that the public is interested in learning about the products and methods used to conserve our natural resources and leave a smaller carbon footprint on the Earth,” said Laura Lauffer, the college’s green building coordinator. “The college will continue to grow its programs to train not only future entrepreneurs, green building and renewable energy experts for the green economy but also provide the expertise for homeowners who want to live more green.”