The City of Edinburg held its second annual outreach effort for a healthier community last weekend.

The city presented its Healthy Living Festival on Saturday, March 6, at Edinburg City Hall Plaza. Festival booths provided information on everything from healthy living, organic gardening, health services, and nutrition along with a series of special events including a 5K race/walk, the city’s first annual “Mutt Strutt” dog walk, and “Edinburg on Wheels” bike ride sponsored by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s all about health living and quality of life in Edinburg, and I get the impression from everyone here that people are really enjoying it and they are happy to be here,” said Mark Peña, chairman of the City’s Environmental Advisory Board and coordinator of Edinburg’s CoolCities climate change initiative.

The festival has stemmed from the City’s involvement in the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement signed in July 2008. As the first Rio Grande Valley City to sign onto agreement, Edinburg has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

“They are doing that in various ways, recycling, promoting renewable energy, looking at the way development is done, (and) we want to move more towards an urban environment, which means more walkable and livable,” Peña said. “The Health Living Festival has come about through the promotion of walking and bicycling … well, it has evolved to more than that over the year. Now it’s about healthy living and quality of life.”

Veronica Medina, a biology major at the University of Texas-Pan American who came from San Juan to attend the event said she was interested in the health information being distributed by the various organizations present and said she would like to see a city-wide recycling effort take shape. Edinburg announced its six month pilot curbside recycling program last month to about 350 homes in Tanglewood Terrace and Los Lagos subdivisions.

“It’s important because diabetes and obesity is on the rise, and it’s good that the city is actually interested in helping its citizens,” Medina said.