Face-to-face Interview with Jason Robinson, Founder and CEO of Sustainability Television, March, 24 2010. – By Carolina Issa
1. What inspired you to create Sustainability Television (STV)?
Sustainability Television was inspired by a collection of my life experiences and involvement in community. The wealth of experiences I’ve had, have helped to shape my view of the world and was influenced by a meaningful family connection to the land.
From hearing the stories from my grandfather who was a milkman in Richmond with a horse and buggy, to running around his 9 acre hobby farm with all the farm animals picking fruit off the trees, or hiking all the local mountains, I learned to appreciate and developed a closeness to nature and the land.
My experiences with connecting to community are important as well in weaving together just how interconnected all of life is…. From acting and modeling, working as a financial advisor, training as a firefighter/medic, or volunteering... I really wanted to do something meaningful and have it be related to caring for others and fostering a deeper sense of community.
And so, began what is now an 11 year journey to create Sustainability TV.
2. What are the goals of Sustainability TV?
The goal of STV is to inspire, empower, and also to help educate and engage people in how we all have the ability to create the kind of world that we want to live in.
The goal is also to be a company that maintains the social ideals of a non-profit while integrating business philosophy and ethic into what we call a “Sustainable Enterprise Business.”
3. How does Sustainability TV work?
Everything we do is focused on empowering local communities. We create a stronger awareness of volunteerism, community engagement - instead of abrogation of democratic rights, and the empowerment of “Ma and Pa’ businesses - the heart of our community.
It is in small business that we find real people in our own communities that deserve our choosing to support them by voting with our purchases. Like agriculture; support of small businesses and the connection between people, businesses and the environment promotes a stronger, more vibrant and diverse community, a healthier planet, and biosphere.
(the undesirable alternative is a monoculture)
4. How did you get connected to UBC farm?
I got connected with the UBC farm through one of my employees. She introduced me to the farm and I felt an immediate connection to the land. From the moment I stood in the middle of the field and breathed in the fresh clean air, I felt compelled to do anything I can to support the UBC Farm as it currently exists.
5. How do you think your work with Sustainability TV influences food security?
I think Food Security starts with awareness. If people don’t know where their food comes from, then how are they even going to know what choices they should make? Or even what a “good choice” is with respects to healthy eating.
Food Security awareness starts close to home. I live in Richmond - a community that is a perfect example of a community that has historically chosen the wrong path when it comes to farming and is really a microcosm of what is happening worldwide. Richmond has some of the best farmland in the world, and we have chosen to pave it over. We (all of us) need to start choosing differently. We need to start choosing farmland over pavement, and need to start re-examining the root causes and solutions to our predicament. (population, density, technology)
Through public education we help people make better choices - this is why STV exists… to try and influence good decision making and the support and expansion of local farms.
6. In what aspects do you think the partnership between UBC farm and STV contributes to the community?
This partnership is a mutually beneficial win-win-win situation! The farm wins from the public exposure, STV wins as we have content for our public awareness programs, Students, The Community, and The Planet win because we will all have a more accurate view of the farm, and food knowledge created through the educational videos.
Our collaboration contributes to the welfare of the Farm, and the growth, and benefit of each leg of the table involved – it’s a perfect example of “Sustainable Community Oriented Thinking”
I have met people that said that they decided to visit the farm after watching videos on STV and they have eventually joined volunteer activities and started their own garden at home using the knowledge that they have acquired through the STV videos.
7. Do you feel you are bringing positive changes to the community in respect to sustainability and how?
Yes absolutely – we are bringing positive changes just for the simple fact that we have influenced people to start visiting and getting involved with the farm. Looking forward there are numerous opportunities to engage the new condo community that surrounds the farm – if properly educated they may become they best allies the farm has… people in the Community !!!