The Ethics & Economics of Sustainable Agriculture – A Conversation With Dr. John Ikerd

Today we speak with Dr. John Ikerd, a professor emeritus of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, on issues surrounding industrial agriculture and how we must live as a society to live within the bounds of nature.

Your Garbage Made A Bench

Your Garbage Made A Bench

It is nearly the two-year anniversary of the TerraCycle Fairfield project. Over the last two years, Fairfield residents have collected and recycled nearly 8,000 traditionally non-recyclable products, as well as thousands of pounds of e-waste, batteries, lightbulbs, and plastic bags. By recycling everything from old razors and toothbrushes to printers and cellphones, local residents have helped make Fairfield the world’s first-ever TerraCycle Town, a community centered around zero-waste principles.

TerraCycle Inc. is a multinational corporation that has developed recycling solutions for every sort of waste. Yes, you read that correctly—the company claims that every product can and should be recycled at the end of its useful life, a practice they call “zero-waste” living. The TerraCycle Fairfield initiative is a local effort to provide access to these recycling methods and to offer education on green principles, making sustainable lifestyle choices easy and accessible.

Since its inception, the TerraCycle Fairfield project has been working closely with directors from TerraCycle Inc. to help Fairfield make strides toward a more sustainable economy. To commemorate Fairfield’s success, TerraCycle Inc. has donated a park bench made entirely of recycled material.

“We are proud to acknowledge Fairfield as the world’s first TerraCycle town,” said TerraCycle founder and CEO Tom Szaky. “Their passion for recycling and their desire to reduce their environmental footprint is impressive. We hope other towns follow in their footsteps.”

The bench was unveiled at a celebration and fundraiser on Saturday, May 1, at 10 a.m. in Howard Park. All were invited to hear Fairfield Mayor Connie Boyer speak, meet with Rotary’s Interact volunteers and TerraCycle Fairfield coordinators, and celebrate Fairfield’s accomplishments with food and beverages.

The bench serves an educational purpose as well. Made from recycled materials, it provides a glimpse into what the future of waste looks like: one where every item is recycled at the end of its life into materials for reuse in new products. This is often referred to as a circular economic model: one in which all of the waste products from production are captured and fed back into the economy for new products.

This is a high bar, but Fairfield is the perfect testing ground to refine and pave the way for the “green transition” to unfold. If you are passionate about building a life-supporting and ecologically friendly community, or have an interest in sustainability in general, we encourage you to reach out to us at TerraCycleTown@gmail.com. We’re always looking for more community partners. You can also meet with us in person at the bench unveiling and ask questions about the project, share your ideas for Fairfield’s future, or participate in any way you wish.

Our Waste Problem


Nature does not produce a landfill, so why do we? In this interview we hear from Sustainable Living Coalition board member and impact investor Stuart Valentine on the origins of plastics, failures in our domestic recycling infrastructure, and some innovative solutions to our growing landfills.

Photographer, Explorer and Climate Activist, David Thoreson at the SLC Eco Barn

In this video SLC Executive Director, Bob Ferguson,  interviews celebrated photographer, sailor and explorer, David Thoreson. David has sailed 77,000 miles to document what is happening to our oceans and the arctic ecology as climate change and human activity alters our planet. He held a crowd of 350 spellbound at the Sondheim Theater here in Fairfield. We are proud that the SLC was one of the co-sponsors of the event. Bob caught up with David at the SLC Eco Barn and had this heartfelt conversation.

Leland Searles – On Developing an Ecological Farming Ethic

SLC Executive Director, Bob Ferguson, interviews professor emeritus, Iowa State University, on developing an ecological farming ethic to address the pressing issues of soil quality, soil erosion, and water quality that Iowa and the Midwest are facing.

Russ Conser, CEO of Grassfed Exchange on Iowa Policy

For fifteen years Russ was the head of Shell Oil’s GameChanger program whose mission was to deliver innovative options that have the potential to drastically impact the energy future. He is now Founder and CEO of www.standardsoil.com and CEO of the Grassfed Exchange.

Dr. Ray Meylor on Restorative Farming at the Eco Barn

Second Annual Earth Day at the Eco Barn

On Saturday, April 20 we celebrated Earth Day at the Eco Barn with more than 100 guests who attended our day of education and fun.

Main Street Project Poultry-Based Regenerative Agriculture Comes to Iowa

We at the Sustainable Living Coalition are very happy to be working with Regi Haslett Marroquin on bringing the Main Street Project poultry-based regenerative agriculture to Iowa in a very big way. Here’s a beautiful video from Regi’s visit to Fairfield earlier this year.
https://youtu.be/yywlf2yx88k

Introducing the Sustainable Living Coalition Board of Directors

The Sustainable Living Coalition is blessed with a board of directors who are filled with passion for our mission and energy to actualize our vision. Each person brings their unique gifts and talents, so together, as a harmonious but truth-telling group, we can have fun together and make a big difference for our community and our world. We welcome anyone visiting this web site to consider joining us in our quest for bringing the knowledge and practical application of sustainability principles to Fairfield, Jefferson County, and beyond.