Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Council on Environment of NYC Gets a Makeover

Upon hearing the name “Council on the Environment of New York City,” many people assume the organization is a city agency. Still others aren’t aware that this organization has been responsible for the city’s greenmarkets since the very first one opened in 1976.

Because of these problems, said spokesperson Amanda Gentile, the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) underwent an almost year-long re-branding process, working with its board, staff and pro-bono consultants, including the Harvards Business School Alumni Association. The end result: a new name, GrowNYC. 

The new logo, circular with the new name and a green apple in the middle, is surrounded by the words “Greenmarket,” “Garden,” “Teach” and “Recycle,” representing the organization’s programs. 

While the logo is new, GrowNYC’s mission will remain the same, which is to “give people the tools and the education and the resources to make New York City a more sustainable environment,” assistant director Julie Walsh told the Eagle in a previous interview. “It’s by the people, of the people, and for the people.”

GrowNYC has operated over 45 Greenmarkets city-wide — with 11 in Brooklyn — since the program began in 1976, with 11 in Brooklyn. The one at Borough Hall — one of the city’s oldest — celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. 

Executive director Marcel Van Ooyen said last year that this greenmarket “is an example of all that we’ve been able to accomplish,” and that it’s one of the most popular.

The Open Space Greening (OSG) program, founded in 1975, has helped neighborhoods build and sustain over 60 community gardens throughout the city, 26 in Brooklyn.

A relatively new program, the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE), started in 2006 sends representatives out into the boroughs to educate residents about the city’s curbside recycling program, encouraging them to take advantage of it.

“What we try to do is basically get people to understand the program,” said David Hurd, director of OROE, in December. “To debunk the classic myth [that recyclables don’t get recycled].”

GrowNYC has three different programs geared toward educating the city’s youth: Training Student Organizers (TSO), “Learn It, Grow It, Eat It” and Greenmarket Youth Education Project. Through TSO, students have built and demonstrated solar ovens, planted trees, removed invasive species and learned about New York City’s watershed.

In some cases, the presence of these youthmarkets has helped make neighborhoods safer. Walsh told about one particular youthmarket in a south Bronx neighborhood near a police surveillance tower. “Within two weeks of the market operating, [the police] were able to leave,” Walsh told the Eagle.

“We want people to engage in behaviors that will make a more sustainable city — behaviors that they will carry with them,” she continued. 

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