Thursday, September 30, 2010

Electronics Recycling Event at Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday

Brooklyn Bridge Park will team up with the Lower East Side Ecology Center to host an E-Waste Recycling Event this Saturday, Oct. 2nd. The event will take place at Pier 1 on Furman Street, between Old Fulton and Doughty Streets.

Residents and small businesses (50 employees or smaller) are invited to stop by and bring their unwanted electronics such as working and non-working computers (laptops, desktops, servers, etc.), monitors, printers, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, audio-visual electronic devices, and cell phones.

In case you can't make it out to the park for the event, here are some other options for electronics recycling:

The 4th Bin: This New York City organization takes e-waste from residences and businesses. They accept computers, monitors, printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers, network devices, peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.), components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.) TVs, VCRs, DVD Players, Audio-visual equipment, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, telecommunication (phones, answering machines), digital cameras, MP3 players, toner, and UPS batteries. They refurbish and resell as much equipment as possible, and whatever cannot be refurbished is transported to one of their partners for processing. You can fill out a form on The 4th Bin's web site to let them know what you have to collect and schedule a pick-up date.

The Mac Support Store: As a member of NYC's Retailer Take-Back Program, the Mac Support Store is a collection center for any unwanted computer equipment, Mac or PC. Simply drop off your stuff at its location at 168 7th Street, 2nd Floor, in Gowanus during its open hours, which are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The e-waste is then picked up by a C7 NY State registered/NJDEP registered recycler.

Goodwill: Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey has partnered with Dell to launch Reconnect, allowing people in New York and New Jersey to recycle any brand of computer or computer equipment for free at any of the 38 participating Goodwill donation centers and retail stores. Here you'll find a list of what Reconnect accepts and be able to search for a Goodwill location to drop off items.

GrowNYC: A non-profit working to improve the city's quality of life through environmental programs, one of GrowNYC's key programs is its recycling program. Through its Office of Outreach and Education (OROE), it works to improve the city's recycling rate by educating residents about recycling and waste prevention, and working with landlords to make sure building recycling programs are adequate. There is a section on GrowNYC's web site for upcoming recycling events (though many are held by the Lower East Side Ecology Center), but you can also contact the organization with any recycling-related questions at any time, just fill in the contact form on the site. Also, here are some of GrowNYC's recycling resources.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 5: Adjusting Expectations

I happily loaded my two empty Ronnybrook milk bottles into my tote bags this past Saturday for my usual jaunt to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. I was looking forward to not only the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy stand, where I would return said bottles for a new one (this being for the milk-drinker in my household) and also purchase a quart of yogurt, but I was also hoping for more sausage from Flying Pigs Farm. I could almost taste the pork. Yum.

Upon getting there, I found a much smaller market than in previous weeks. Ronnybrook and Flying Pigs were nowhere to be found! Shopping with admittedly less excitement than usual, I stopped at Evolutionary Organics (Ulster County, NY), where I found broccoli rabe and my excitement was restored. I love broccoli rabe. I also bought a red pepper. I then got a "party pack" of blackberries and raspberries and a bunch of arugula from Phillips Farms (Hunterdon County, NJ), and — my favorite food item of the day — grapes from Buzzard Crest Vineyards (Yates County, NY).

Then, I just couldn't resist the lure of the Lebak Farm (Burlington County, NJ) flower stand. I bought a bunch of sunflowers. Be aware about these though, if you're carrying sunflowers, you might be followed for a block or two by a bee (or two). Totally worth it though.

The grapes are fabulous — they taste like little balls of grape juice that pop open in your mouth. I didn't realize how bland store-bought grapes were until I had these. The fresh broccoli rabe tasted much less bitter than store-bought broccoli rabe. I blanched it and sauteed it with some fresh garlic (from a couple of weeks ago) and oil. I definitely didn't buy enough though, it cooked way down (duh).

We're going to a wedding on Long Island this Saturday, so no market again for a week! Oh well.

The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round. The city's Greenmarkets are a program of GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs. This particular Greenmarket, founded in 1989, is GrowNYC's flagship Brooklyn market and is its second largest market behind Union Square.

Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 4: Change of Plans
Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 3: On the Road
Fabulous Fresh Finds: Week 2
New Blog Feature: Fabulous Fresh Finds

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coming Up: New Green City Fair

Following the success of last year's "Green Brooklyn...Green City" fair at Borough Hall, GrowNYC will hold "New Green City" at Union Square Park's South Plaza on September 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The free, day-long event will feature a one-day textile collection, interactive exhibits, DIY tutorials, multi-media art exhibits and the Union Square Greenmarket.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint!

Click here to go to a carbon footprint calculator on the Nature Conservancy's website. You fill in information about whether or not you use Energy Star appliances, what your most frequent mode of transportation is and whether or not you recycle, among other things. The number that's generated is your estimated greenhouse gas emissions in tons of carbon dioxide.

It's pretty cool, and you can see areas where you can decrease your number. Thanks to Hanna for the tip!

Green Block Party Coming Up in Carroll Gardens

On Oct. 2, local non-profit GreenHomeNYC will hold a free block party — "The NEW New York GreenHomeNYC's DIY Green Street Festival" — focusing on teaching New Yorkers how to green the built environment. It will take place on Third Street between Hoyt and Bond streets in Carroll Gardens, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During the day, attendees will have opportunities to learn how to install and plant a green roof, learn about worm bin composting, complete an energy audit and learn how to capture and reuse rain water to water plants.

Various exhibitors will be on hand to showcase environmental programs, such as Brooklyn-based Vokashi with its compost system and kits and Foro Marble presenting eco-friendly counter tops. Also have the opportunity to see the Jerko, a motor-less houseboat with a built-in wetland, rainwater harvesting, solar thermal, solar photo voltaics, and a composting toilet.

Kid-friendly activities will include solar car building and racing with SolarOne, and jewelry making from bike parts with Recycle-A-Bicycle.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center will be on hand for electronics recycling, Wearable Collections will be on hand collecting clothing and textiles, and Recycle-A-Bicycle will be collecting bicycles.

There will be boating on the Gowanus Canal in conjunction with talks about environmental remediation. The Jerko, the Gowanus Water Vacuum, an off the grid houseboat will take its maiden voyage, surrounded by a built-in wetland. Hudson, developer of J Condo and the Village at Atlantic Center, will give tours of Third + Bond which is expected to be LEED-Gold and EnergyStar certified.

This event will compost its food waste, minimize the use of paper, utilize bio-fuel, and offset its carbon footprint.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 4: Change of Plans

This past Saturday, I was forced to wait at home all day for the DirecTV tech. Alas, I couldn't make it to the GAP Greenmarket. Not wanting to go another week without farm fresh produce (gasp), I made a quick trip yesterday to the Borough Hall Greenmarket, which is close to my office.

Facing limited options at this particular market on this particular day, I came away with tomatoes and onions from Phillips Farms (Hunterdon County, NJ), peaches from Wilklow Orchards (Ulster County, NY), plums and — most excitingly — juice from Red Jacket Orchards (Ontario County, NY).

The juice was raspberry apple. Having never seen this combination before, I decided to try it. It was refreshing. I will absolutely go back for a bigger bottle (I bought the individual size). We plan on using the tomatoes for a caprese salad and will snack on the fruit this week.

The Borough Hall Greenmarket is held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays year round, and on Thursdays from April 1 through December 30. The city's Greenmarkets are a program of GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs. This particular Greenmarket celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. 


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Festival's Green Panel Wrestles With Consumer Decisions

In a panel entitled, “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” at the Brooklyn Book Festival this past Sunday — moderated by Ted Hamm, founding editor of the political journal Brooklyn Rail — environmentalists Colin Beaven (No Impact Man), Heather Rogers (Green Gone Wrong) and Anna Lappé (Diet For a Hot Planet) gathered to speak about the green movement.

Before starting the discussion, I was happy to notice that Beaven removed three of the Poland Spring water bottles from the table (the panelists had their own reusable water containers, Ted Hamm did not). It always frustrates me that these water bottles are supplied at so-called "green" events, sometimes even the same events at which stopping the use of said water bottles is discussed.

Anyway, the overall theme of the discussion was how corporations and consumers have misapplied the label of sustainability. As a case in point, Lappé, who has been working to change the country’s food system, spoke about how McDonald’s claims to be a sustainable company — a "community-building sustainability organization," in fact — in part because its Happy Meals have come with stuffed animal versions of endangered species.

"We cannot just let food be at the mercy of our market sources," she continued. "We have to change the food system from the ground up."

Rogers pointed out that "getting to environmental sustainability isn’t a product we’re going to buy. It's a process." She travels around the world looking at how other cultures tackle environmental solutions. "I don't know if we can solve the problems of mass consumption through more consumption," she said, mentioning an example of an organic sugar company that grew its sugar cane in the place of a forest that it had destroyed.

"Shopping isn't voting, it's shopping," she noted. "There are so many technologies we already have. And yet in the United States we're constantly focused on the technology that's just around the corner."

Beaven spent a year of his life living in New York City producing no environmental impact. That year produced a blog, a book and a documentary film shown at the Sundance Film Festival. He explained that if people start by making lifestyle changes, they can then get involved in the political process.

"We don't need to know much more that we already do. The question is whether we believe we can do anything about it," he said, "Our capacity to do more good is infinite. The question is: What do we use our resources for?"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wylie Dufresne at the Farm City Fair in Cobble Hill

Pictured here, celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne — executive chef of Manhattan eatery wd~50 — prepares a poached egg during the Farm City Fair inside the Invisible Dog Art Center in Cobble Hill. Though I'm not a fan of eggs that aren't cooked through (yes, I know, I should have sucked it up and ate an egg that Wylie Dufresne made), I was told it "tasted like runny yolk but it wasn't runny," and was delicious.

A take on the traditional county fair, Farm City took place yesterday inside the center and along part of Bergen Street. Brooklynites sampled produce from bk farmyards, Added Value, and several small-batch artisanal food purveyors. Children watched a clown make balloon animals and danced to music from Asphalt Orchestra.

Various workshops throughout the day included one on foraging with Leda Meredith and one on rooftop farming with sub-irrigated planter systems. There was also a Brooklyn Food Experiments cook-off on the third floor of the Invisible Dog.

Farm City Fair was part of Crossing the Line, the fall festival of the French Institute Alliance Française, and kicked off a three-weekend celebration of urban agriculture called Where Are You Growing?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Panel at this Weekend's Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival returns to Borough Hall for the fifth year this Sunday, Sept. 12. Among the many events will be a panel entitled "It Ain't Easy Being Green," in which experts will discuss whether sustainable environmental practices are really helping save the planet. With Colin Beavan (No Impact Man), Heather Rogers (Green Gone Wrong), Anna Lappé (Diet for a Hot Planet) and Miyun Park (Gristle).

The panel will be at 3 p.m. at St. Francis Mcardle Hall, on the first floor of St. Francis College.

Fabulous Fresh Finds, Week 3: On the Road

On my trip to Chicago for Labor Day weekend, I wasn't missing the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket for long: my Chicago friends took me to the Green City Market at the south end of Lincoln Park, right near the Lincoln Park Zoo. Though we didn't buy anything since we were going to be out all day, I thought I'd share some photos of the market.

(The salsa pictured above was delicious.)
The Chicago Green City Market is the city's only year-round farmers market. Its outdoor season runs through October 30 every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the south end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Drive (approximately 1790 N. Clark). The indoor season will run from November 2010 through April 2011.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Coming Up: Farm City Fair

On Sunday, September 12, the Invisible Dog Art Center and Crossing the Line will present Farm City Fair curated by Derek Denckla. The fair is a celebration of art and food grown in Brooklyn and will be held at the Invisible Dog at 51 Bergen Street and along Bergen Street.

Some activities throughout the day: 

• Brooklyn farms such as Added Value, Rooftop Farms, and bk farmyards will sell their produce and explain its provenance.

• GreenThumb will host a premium "Blue Ribbon Contest" for gardeners to show off their produce and reveal the range of possibilities for home growing in the city.

• Brooklyn Food Coalition will present a day-long series of workshops on how to make or grow food at home, from canning to under-counter compost.

• Greenpoint Food Market will curate the best of Brooklyn’s small-batch vendors, including Anarchy in a Jar preserves and Brooklyn Kombucha.

• The Food Experiments, created by Theodore Peck and Nick Suarez, will select competitive chefs to respond to their Brooklyn roots, using one or more ingredients grown or made in Brooklyn in a cook-off.

• A bar of Brooklyn brews, wines, and cocktails, from Brooklyn Brewery, Six Points Brewery, Red Hook Wines, Brooklyn Oenology, Kings County Distillery and others.

• Chefs from The Meat Hook, Marlowe & Sons, Ted & Honey, Egg and others will serve up eats made in Brooklyn in collaboration with urban farms.


• Asphalt Orchestra, a Brooklyn-based 12-piece next-generation avant-garde marching band, will open the event and perform between 11a.m. and noon.

• Andrew Casner, compost painter, will demonstrate his acclaimed, agrarian work — the community process of developing a viable compost with an acid-etched canvas underneath created as a natural by-product.

• Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy, a Brooklyn-based artist, will present Ça pousse! (It’s growing!), human form sculptures made from material such as wheatgrass that change as they grow.

• Miwa Koizumi, Brooklyn-based ice cream maker of “NY Flavors,” will create a geographically inspired new ice cream flavor based on Bergen Street and the festival.

• Tattfoo Tan, the urban farming visionary artist, will launch his new bike-based S.O.S mobile Classroom, as the next installment in his two-year long public art project entitled S.O.S–Sustainable Organic Stewardship.

• Wylie Dufresne, renowned chef of wd-50, will create a new downloadable recipe based on re-imagining local ingredients, to be sampled at the Fair.

• Christina Kelly, Brooklyn-based artist meditates on loss and possibility growing blue corn in monumental street planters in a public art project called, Maize Field, located where Lenape Indians planted in the 1600s.

GreenBeat Links

Green Brooklyn updates from blogs and news sources around the web

The Birds on That Brooklyn Rooftop? Chickens [The Atlantic

Two Farms That Supply Local Greenmarkets Reap Inspection Violations [NY 1]

And from the Eagle:

"Green" Cannonball Project Fires Up Third Ave. Festival

Upcoming Chamber’s RED Nite To Be Held At First LEED Platinum Building in Brooklyn

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fabulous Fresh Finds: Week 2

This past Saturday the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket was packed. It was a beautiful day and we left laden with food, since this time I came more prepared (read: I brought along my favorite helper).

As for produce, we bought a red pepper, some potatoes and some cherry tomatoes from Cedar Hill Farm/Kernan Farms, who are in Cumberland County, NJ. We also got fennel and garlic from Bradley Farms, which are out of Ulster County, NY, and mushrooms from Madura Farms, out of Orange County NY.

More excitingly, we visited the Ronnybrook Farm Dairy stand (Columbia County, NY) and purchased a quart of vanilla yogurt — yum, especially with granola and a bit of jelly — and a quart of two percent milk, which I hear is delicious. Being a lactard (lactosally challenged, lactose intolerant, whatever you want to call it), I can't partake. We also got sweet Italian sausage from Flying Pigs Farm (Shushan, NY). More on that later.

One of my favorite items we brought home was a non-food item: lavender from Lavender By the Bay (Suffolk County, NY). I couldn't resist buying a small bunch after walking by the stand and smelling it. It lasts several years, though, so money well spent.

So what did we make? Well. We feasted. On Saturday night we sauteed the mushrooms up with an onion and ate those with some steak and the remaining carrots, green beans and zucchini from my first trip to the greenmarket. These we roasted in the oven. 

On Sunday we had an almost completely local meal. We sauteed (I use the term "we" loosely. I mostly cut and washed) the sausage and pepper with another onion (should have bought one at the market — an oversight), roasted the potatoes, and assembled a fennel and grape tomato salad. It was a fantastic meal, but the highlight was the pork sausage. Easily the best I've ever had. 

Since we'll be going away this weekend, our next greenmarket trip will have to wait a week. I will miss it.

The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round. The city's Greenmarkets are a program of GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs. This particular Greenmarket, founded in 1989, is GrowNYC's flagship Brooklyn market and is its second largest market behind Union Square.

Related: New Blog Feature: Fabulous Fresh Finds