Sweet Springs Resort Park announces first annual Sustainable Development Forum and Craft Fair

The Sweet Springs Resort Park, in collaboration with Sweet Springs Institute and Omniverous Earth, will host its first annual Sustainable Development Forum and Craft Fair from Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 5 at one of America’s oldest thermal spas, The Sweet Springs Resort, located in Monroe County. The event is open to the public, and is free of charge.

The main building at the historic venue is the majestic hotel designed by Thomas Jefferson whose focus was the “dreams of the future,” which he liked better than the “history of the past,” and is being carried forward through time by the present proprietor, O. Ashby Berkley, who envisions the resort as an epicenter of sustainable development.

At the forum, presentations will be given on the following topics: What is Sustainability?, Solar Energy; Hemp Cultivation, health benefits and Marketing; Hempcrete Insulation: A way to grow hemp and bring it to nearby markets; Geo-thermal Projects and Case Studies; Water is Life, Eco-Tourism and Sustainable Corridor, Career Opportunities in Local and Organic Food Production, Bio-diversity, Food Security, Sustainable Forest Farming, and The Sustainable Self.

Among the distinguished guest speakers are: L. David Roper PhD, Physicist (Virginia Tech); Jeeva Abbate, Director of Sustainable Development, Yogaville; Ron Miller, Agriculture Liaison and Rural Project Coordinator;  Crescent Gallagher, MPA, Communications Director/Legislative Liaison, WV Department of Agriculture; Brian Wickline, Monroe County Extension Agent; Doug Koenig of Greenbrier Valley Grown, Food Hub; Fritz Boettner of Sprouting Farms; O. Ashby Berkley of the Sweet Springs Resort Park; Autumn Long, Program Director WV SUN; Doyle Tenney, DT Solar, WV; Don Smith II of WV Hemp Farmers Association; Andrew Must of Design Build in Lewisburg; Roseanna Sacco of the Sweet Springs Watershed (SSWA); Howdy Henritz of Indian Creek Watershed (ICWA);  Leslee McCarty of Greenbrier River Watershed Association (GRWA); Dennis White of Friends of The Second Creek (FOTC);  Allison Tomlinson, Monroe County Extension Agent for Tourism; Pete Heuys, Homesteader and Neal LaFerriere of Blackberry Botanicals.

Along with this inspiring panel of speakers, there will be a screening of the award winning documentary Catching the Sun, a visit to the nearby hemp field planted in early June, a guided tour of the new Tesla Model 3 electric car, a drinking springs water sampling, food and craft vendors, farm-to-table food options, music and dancing, primitive camping, a Sunday morning inter-faith prayer service followed by a yoga session, a petting zoo with farm animals, a piglet raffle, kids activities, various historical stations and more.

Farmers, growers, advocacy groups and food or craft vendors are welcome to come set up tables or displays to promote their business or to sell lunch and dinner food, produce, products and crafts under the arches on the ground floor of the Sweet Springs Hotel. To reserve your space, please contact Nadine Sonneville via email at

Proprietors of eco-tourism destination venues and retreats as well as musicians and performers or speakers interested in contributing to one of the topics listed above may call Roseanna Sacco at 304-536-1207 or send an email to:

Volunteers are most welcome to participate in setting up and managing the three-day event. Please contact Roseanna Sacco if you are interested.

Attendees are advised to reserve free seats at The Sustainable Development Forum and free camp sites in advance if you plan to stay overnight, by sending an email with the dates and sessions you plan to attend (indicate morning, afternoon, evening) to:

For more information on the Program Schedule, you may type the following link into your browser: or visit the Sweet Springs Resort Facebook page. Click on “Events,” next on “The Sustainable Development Forum and Craft Fair” and then “Click here for our Schedule of Events.”

Announcements for the Sustainable Development Forum will be posted at the Union Public Library, in town, and in various places around the county.

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