Good company, good food, and a little sunshine on a brisk October afternoon all contributed to a terrific day at the Change by Us 2013 Fall Gathering & Potluck this past Saturday.
The 64th Street Community Garden hosted fellow 2013 CBU grantees, who came together to share success stories and celebrate their contributions to a healthier, greener City. Attendees also had a chance to check out 64th Street’s brand new greenhouse, built with funds from their 2013 CBU mini-grant.
Stop by our Tumblr to check out photos from the gathering. And congratulations to all of our grantees for their hard work over the past few months helping to make New York City an even greater place to live!
How’d you spend your summer vacation? Thanks in part to a Change by Us mini-grant, some green-minded young Girl Scouts in the Harlem community will be able to say that they learned about growing their own food and healthy eating while spending their summer with the Transforming Our Health by Eating Healthy Community Garden Project.
Using gardening plots donated by the Frederick E. Samuel Apartments’ Skyward Community Garden on West 142nd Street, Girl Scouts, Fred Samuel residents, and other volunteers from the community planted and nurtured crops like cucumbers, sweet basil, and bell peppers. Transforming Our Health has also hosted nutrition workshops and healthy shared meals for participating families.
Change by Us visited the garden on the day of its end-of-summer awards ceremony, where volunteers were presented with awards and citations from local elected officials before attendees treated themselves to garden-grown vegetables and other healthy snacks. Check out our photos here.
Have a neighborhood project idea but need funds to make it happen? Change by Us wants to help you find the resources to get it done. Here are some of the latest grant opportunities that may benefit your community initiative:
Award Amounts: $25,000-40,000
Deadline: September 15, 2013 (Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis)
The Aetna Foundation is providing grants to community and school wellness initiatives that aim to help low-income, underserved or minority populations by improving access to healthy food, nutrition education, and opportunities for physical activity.
Organization: Captain Planet Foundation
Award Amounts: Up to $2,500
Deadline: September 30, 2013 (spring/summer projects) and January 31, 2014 (fall/winter projects)
The Captain Planet Foundation awards grants to school and community projects that promote engaging, hands-on environmental education and service opportunities for children.
Organization: Do Something and the Dunkin’ Brands Community Foundation
Award Amounts: $500
Each week, Do Something and the Dunkin’ Brands Community Foundation will award $500 grants for projects aimed at disaster relief and recovery, disaster preparedness, emergency response, or supporting American troops.
Organization: Green Education Foundation and Gardener’s Supply Company
Award Amount: $1,000
Deadline: September 30, 2013
The winner of the Green Thumb Challenge will receive a $1,000 prize to support a youth garden program that has demonstrated success in impacting the lives of children in the community.
Organization: Grow to Learn NYC
Award Amounts: $500- $2,000
Deadline: November 1, 2013
Register your New York City public or charter school garden with Grow to Learn to be eligible for this mini-grant, which helps recipients construct new gardens, support start-up garden programs, or expand established ones.
Since Change by Us launched two years ago, residents have used the platform to help organize projects from community gardens to nutrition classes that are increasing the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Just how many projects? Visit our Tumblr to take a look at our project map of the city.
Neighborhoods like Bedford Stuyvesant and Jackson Heights show impressive activity, and people across the five boroughs have started hundreds of grassroots projects that contribute to our city’s efforts to build a healthier, greener future for all. Stop by our homepage to join one of these fantastic projects, or start your own!
Broken cell phones, old television sets, outdated VCRs – what do we do with these common electronic items once they’ve outlived their usefulness?
Although NYC residents may legally dispose of electronics in the trash, doing so can put our environment at risk. Computers, televisions, cell phones, and television accessories such as DVD players and video game consoles contain materials that can potentially harm the environment. In order to keep these items from secreting these dangerous substances as they sit in landfills, New York City is encouraging residents to recycle them. In fact, starting in 2015, common electronic items will be banned from trash disposal in NYC and will be required to be recycled.
In order to get your e-cycling routine started and help our city be greener now, here are three simple tips for recycling electronics:
1. Bring your old electronic equipment to a Take Back or Trade-In program. State law requires manufacturers of electronics such as computer equipment, televisions and accessories, and portable electronic devices to collect and recycle their products from customers. You may drop off e-materials at a local Goodwill, Salvation Army, Best Buy, Staples or other locations at no cost.
2. If you live in an apartment building, spread the word about e-cycleNYC! This new program offers buildings and complexes a pick-up and recycling service for unwanted electronics.
Our City has 29,000 acres of parkland and green space that contribute to New Yorkers’ quality of life, and after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, everyone from volunteer groups to an historic cooperative management partnership between the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has pitched in to help restore beautiful natural areas like Jamaica Bay.
Now, as part of the City’s comprehensive climate change resiliency plan “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” Mayor Bloomberg has announced the creation of a new Science and Resilience Institute to help urban ecosystems like Jamaica Bay and adjacent communities stay strong in the face of climate change. A consortium of world-class research institutions led by the City University of New York will manage the institute and its intensive research program, which will focus on the restoration of Jamaica Bay and results of programs like a planned beach grass nursery at Floyd Bennett Field.
Click here for more information on the Science and Resilience Institute and progress on the restoration of Jamaica Bay.
In 1991, a group of Bedford-Stuyvesant residents came together to turn a vacant lot on Marcy Avenue into a beautiful community garden, which they named after a local neighborhood leader who was passionate about the environment and her community. Today, the Hattie Carthan Community Garden is a vibrant space where residents enjoy each others’ company as they grow flowers and vegetables, celebrate holidays, and more.
We recently visited the garden, which won a Change by Us 2013 mini-grant, on one of its market days in late July. Using two plots of land in Brooklyn, Hattie Carthan offers members a plot where they can plant anything from tomatoes to tulips. The space even has a small chicken farm where fresh eggs are laid, and an apothecary who makes products from honey to flavorful spices. You can learn more about the garden and its history by visiting its webpage.
Speaking to local residents at Hattie Carthan, we found that many were excited about the access the garden helps provide to healthy, organic food in their community. And according to the garden’s vice president Yonnette Fleming, Hattie Carthan is especially committed to engaging youth in the neighborhood, encouraging them to participate in the welcoming garden community and to adopt healthier eating habits.
We’ve posted some photos from our day at the market on our Tumblr. Non-members can support the garden by stopping by its weekend farmers market events, which include the larger Main Market on Saturdays and a smaller Herbal Market on Sundays. And of course, be sure to check out Hattie Carthan’s bike-powered juice station when you go!
Greening NYC’s buildings and infrastructure isn’t just a job for the professionals—you can join our city’s efforts by signing up to volunteer with NYC °CoolRoofs!
A collaboration between NYC Service and the New York City Department of Buildings, NYC °CoolRoofs promotes and facilitates the cooling of NYC rooftops. Applying a reflective surface to a roof helps reduce cooling costs, cut energy usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions (the City has already reduced its emissions by 16 percent since launching PlaNYC six years ago). To date, the program has coated almost four million square feet of roof space. Check out photos of volunteers in action on our Tumblr.
The next volunteer opportunity is tomorrow morning, August 4. Stop by the NYC °CoolRoofs Change by Us project page to learn about upcoming events and to RSVP on their Facebook page. Join other green-minded New Yorkers as we make a greener, greater NYC!
On Saturday, July 20th, Change by Us joined Brooklyn families for a day of fun at the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden Mid-Summer Bug Festival. Kids and their parents learned about the importance of bugs in the garden and in ecological food cycles. Our day included a bug costume contest, the release of ladybugs and praying mantises—both of which help control unwanted pests—into different parts of the garden, a butterfly exploration activity, arts and crafts, and a concert by local band The Dad Beats. You can check out our photos from the event on the Change by Us Tumblr.
With help from a 2013 Change by Us mini-grant, the South Brooklyn Children’s Garden will provide even more opportunities for learning through an educational outreach program. For updates on future events, including their Harvest Festival on October 12th, stop by their website or Change by Us project page.
New York City has two new initiatives that are giving even more New Yorkers the opportunity to incorporate healthier foods into their lives, and that are providing greater access to fresh, local farmers market produce.
Under the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, doctors and nutritionists at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan are assessing the health and nutritional habits of patients and families at risk for obesity and providing “prescriptions” to consume more fruits and vegetables. Patients will receive Health Bucks vouchers that can be redeemed for fruits and vegetables at NYC farmers markets. This year, Health Bucks is on target to make more than $560,000 worth of fruits and vegetables available to low-income New Yorkers.
The second program, “Come See What’s Cookin’, Kids,” builds on the Health Department’s Stellar Farmers Markets program to bring food-based nutrition education to kids at four City farmers markets. Children under 6 and their caregivers will have the chance to participate in free, fun activities and will also receive Health Bucks for participating in the classes.
To learn more about these new initiatives, you can read the full press release here.