Friday, April 30, 2010

Volunteer With Us!

As part of NYC Wild Flower Week pitch in with us and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Green Team

Time: Tuesday, May 4, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Location: Meet at the entrance to the park at the corner of Main and Plymouth Streets in Dumbo, Brooklyn (across from 1 Main Street)
Contact: Kara Gilmour, Education and Stewardship Director (, 718.802.0603 x 18)

Get your hands dirty by cleaning and preparing garden beds and planting a variety of native wildflowers. Also get a guided tour with Sara Stopek, who will be talking about the native wildflowers and plants in the park.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recycling Awareness Benefit

This is a great event if you care about recycling. BUY TICKETS! nonprofit, govt. and student rate

May 11
South Street Seaport Water Taxi Beach
live music. good food. drinks. fun. all while supporting recycling education and outreach across the five boroughs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dispatches from Urban Gardening

Longstanding Brooklyn Green Team challenger Justin V. shares with us the following:

"Rooftop Strawberries are going bonkers! 25 plants purchased from a nursery last year, have doubled into 50+ flowering plants this year. Berries are already growing. It is soooo easy to do............a little bit of nice topsoil gardening mix to plant in, a few planting containers, plenty of light, and the berries are absolutely loving it."

"Next up, Raspberries! 5 Raspberry 'canes' purchased from a nursery last year for about $16. Potted and well watered on the roof, they all produced the tastiest raspberries that you can imagine that summer. Left these babies out over the winter, they are a very hardy bush, and this spring? The 5 canes have multiplied into 50+ new canes for this year. Within 2 years, not only could you begin selling raspberry plants for people to grow themselves, you can get to the point where you would never have to buy a plastic clamshell filled with week-old raspberries ever again! Picking a perfectly ripe berry from the roof is completely transformative on the consciousness in such a profound way."

Thanks Justin for the inspiration!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Edible's New Book

We so rarely do product reviews so sorry for two in a row, but...

We have looked through a copy of the beautiful Book Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods. You probably have seen Edible Brooklyn in stores and picked up a copy. You might know that Edible focuses on the joys of eating locally - whether shopping at your local farmers market or joining a CSA or a local pickler winemaker or bread baker (that's starting to sound like a song, isn't it?).

Their book delves deeper into stories of farms or what they dub "local heroes" across the country. Locally, you'll learn about Red Jacket Orchards and their quest to bring heirloom apples into the mainstream. There's a huge recipe section in the back which will make your mouth water. The images starting right on the cover are amazing and bring to life the farms, farmers and recipes.

If you're a food lover, it's a great addition to your coffee table.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Better Than Rocks

Celeb gardener William Moss was using Better Than Rocks last week. It's great for container gardens (large pots). It's a netty plastic roll that is made from 100% recycled plastic. You cut Better Than Rocks to fit in the bottom of container (one layer for indoor houseplants; two or more for outdoor planters)

Then put the soil on top, the plants, and water thoroughly.

After growing season you can rinse, store and reuse!

Makes your planters much lighter and roots can grow through them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Are you participating in our Urban Garden Challenge? we hope so. you've got until May to plant a garden. your tree pit, your windowsill, your window box, your backyard, wherever you can.

Two simple points

An annual will only last one season.
dianthus, pansies, nasturtiums are nice ones.

A perennial comes back each year.
lavender, phlox, ivy, and forget-me-nots are good choices.

if you plan to stay at your place for a while we suggest the latter. they grow stronger every year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go Green Greenpoint Earthday Fest

Sunday, April 25th from 11-4 (rain date May 2nd) at McCarren Park.

highlights: NYS Assemblyman Joe Lentol will kick off the festivities at 11 am with his inimitable rendition of a song of his choice!

Over 70 schools, community groups, companies, and government agencies will offer exhibits and merchandise, designed to enhance our understanding and appreciation of ourselves, our environment and the Earth that we all share.

Children’s Center. Activities for kids and kids at heart including soccer tips by FC Select Soccer, tumbling games by the Gym Park, chess challenges by the IS 318 Champions, an obstacle course by Ms J, interactive art projects by NY Creative Arts Therapists, judo activities by Sylvester Gawel Judo Club, earth-friendly arts & crafts by Spacecraft, and Box City.

Greencycle Swap. With the view that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” we urge you to drop off your cleaned and gently used clothes, shoes, bedding, toys, and books. Taking in bicycles & electronics (in working order please!) and computers (both working and non-working). All remaining items will be donated to Goodwill.

Live Music & Performances featuring Alex Smith and Mike Mizwinski, Baby Soda, Jonathan Samson, the Gym Park Gymnasts, Pat Hull, the Polish American Folk Dancers, and Sylvester Gawel Judo Club.

Learn more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BBG Announces Important Plant Biodiversity Findings

New York Metropolitan Flora Project (NYMF) data, gathered over the course of the last 20 years, provides the first hard evidence on how native species are faring, and how non-native species are spreading, in counties within a 50-mile radius of New York City, including all of Long Island, southeastern New York State, northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

While much of the botanical community concentrates on researching and tracking the threats to biodiversity in the tropics, scientists at BBG have chosen to undertake an unprecedented study of its own region.

At least 50 varieties of native plants are locally extinct or nearing elimination. Nuttall’s mudflower (Micranthemum micranthemoides), last collected from the region in 1918, is likely extinct throughout its range. Scarlet Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea), pennywort (Obolaria virginica), sidebells wintergreen (Orthilia secunda), and sundial lupine (Lupinis perennis) are among the wildflower species to have seriously declined in the region. Black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) is locally extinct, without a trace of a population remaining today in the metropolitan area.

At the same time, “A number of invasive species introduced from distant areas, with climates similar to ours—such as parts of Asia, Europe, and the southeastern United States—are newly thriving in the New York area,” says Dr. Gerry Moore, director of science at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and coordinator of the New York Metropolitan Flora Project. “Camphor weed, native to the southern United States, is common in Brooklyn now; however, at the time of the Garden’s founding a century ago, it was considered to be quite rare.”

Although agencies and municipalities may wish to restore native species to particular habitats, the NYMF findings suggest that some native species can no longer survive in their native region. “How do you restore the flora original to, say, a coastline, when you know that the sea level is rising each year?” asks Dr. Moore.

Some native plants, like Britton’s violet (Viola britoniana), are rare in native habitats but thrive when brought into cultivation in the metropolitan area. Some non-native cultivated plants, such as Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), can escape from cultivated landscape and dominate natural areas. Efforts are now underway to better recognize and manage for these invasive plant species, which thrive and spread aggressively outside their natural range and can be particularly invasive when introduced to a new habitat, due to the absence of insects, diseases, and animals that naturally keep its population in check in its native region.

Learn More.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Planet's First Low-Carbon Restaurant?

A trip to the grocery store or the farmers market can be daunting because you've just got so many choices. organic. local. biodynamic. is it better to eat local cared for meat or far away tofu?

Turns out the carbon footprint of even heavily packaged tofu from the other side of the world has a smaller carbon footprint than local beef (not that we are endorsing one or the other).

That's what new chain restaurant Otarian is trying to make easy for us. At their opening (attended by Vanessa Williams and one of those Olsen Twins), the founder of Otarian talked about how they spent a couple of years researching every ingredient (and worked with 18 chefs around the globe to choose the menu) to determine the carbon footprint - from growing practices to travel miles. The interior of the Bleecker Street Restaurant was decked out in recycled materials and they promise that a "whopping 98% of our restaurant waste, including packaging and food waste, is recovered as compost, recycled or re-used." Must say the food - ranging from spinach tarts to apple cobbler - was excellent.

Of course we have mixed feelings, is a fast food restaurant actually saving the planet or saving carbon? However, we at Brooklyn Green Team are also grounded in reality. People aren't going to stop going out for lunch. And so, they may as well eat vegetarian from a place that's thinking about these things and more importantly, educating the customer.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Greenmarket Plant Sales This Weekend!

Free Play

The Anthropologists are thrilled to partner with the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center and Mayor Bloomberg's Immigrant Heritage Week for a limited-engagement run of "Give Us Bread," about the food riots in NYC. 2 free performances are tomorrow Saturday April 17th at 8pm and Sunday April 18th at 2pm.

The Milagro Theater/CSV
107 Suffolk Street (between Rivington & Delancey).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1oo Years of Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

60 Brooklyn school-children from Mosdoth Daycare, PS 503, and St. Frances de Sales School for the Deaf planted a tree in celebration of BBG's 100th Anniversary. Go to the garden this weekend! Become a member and go free all year! (photo: Joseph Holmes)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Damn, NYU!

NYU put together a great Earth Week April 2010 Line-Up. We picked some highlights...

Walk for Water - Over the Brooklyn Bridge 9:30 am-12:00 pm, The Aveda Walk for Water is a 6 kilometer walk held in cities around the world to raise awareness and funding for clean water organizations. Join NYC in walking 6 kilometers – the average distance women in developing nations have to walk every day for clean water. Walks Begins/Ends at 1 Centre St (4, 5, 6 Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Subway Station). For more information please see

Earth Day Street Fair 10:00-2:00 pm On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, come rock the block with us! In true street fair/block party fashion, there will be local artists, musicians including Total Slacker, green organizations, interactive booths, and food. Bring your whites for free tie dying, and grab some free dosas from the famous NY Dosas cart! (Washington Place between Greene and Washington Square East)

Friday, April 23, 2010 7:00-9:00 pm Green Student Showcase, Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 400 Series (405/406). The Green Student Showcase is a panel of undergraduate students, presenting environmental projects they have worked on over the past year. Come get informed, come get inspired, come support your fellow students in their environmental endeavors!

Saturday, April 24, 2010 3:30-8:00 pm Off the Grid 2010: A Sustainable Music Festival @ Solar One, 23rd Street and the East River, NYC. Off the Grid 2010 is outdoor music festival run "off-the-grid" on a solar-powered, recycled stage on the East River. Come join us for a day of fun and environmental education! Student clubs, nonprofit organizations, and partners will be on hand providing educational exhibitions and giveaways. There will also be an art exhibit featuring local, environmentally minded artists. Music lineup: MCing by Andrew WK, Cold Cave and featuring a Special Guest. Co-Sponsored by the NYU Program Board.

Sunday, April 25, 2010 1:00-7:00 pm Swap-A-Palooza Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 8th Floor; COST: one bag of clothing. Swap-a-Palooza is a clothing swap focused on reducing your environmental impact through exchanging gently used clothes and accessories instead of buying new things. Bring a bag of clothes to swap and leave with something new! The Swap will also feature do-it-yourself design stations to make your new wardrobe one-of-a-kind.

Learn more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Gowanus Canal Wants You!


The Gowanus Canal Conservancy Clean and Green Program is a Volunteer based program that meets on Saturdays or Sundays from April to October from 11am to 2pm to clean and green the banks of the Gowanus Canal. The dates for 2010 are:
— Saturday April 24
— Sunday May 23
— Saturday June 26
— Sunday 25
— Saturday August 28
— Sunday September 26
— Saturday October 23

All volunteer efforts will help the NYC Parks Department’s GreenStreets areas and street ends thrive, while improving both the health and beauty of the Gowanus Canal. Volunteer tasks will include planting, weeding and picking up trash and debris. Locations TBD. Interested parties should email to sign up for location details.

The 2010 Clean and Green program will strengthen community gardening interests, improve the streetscape aesthetic, encourage social interaction, and celebrate the canal as a destination. The scale of the need was known last year at a Clean and Green event done in concert with the American Littoral Society, when in one five-hour period the volunteers collected 22 car parts, 84 bottles, 13 car batteries, and assorted other junk. The next month we also found evidence of organized illegal dumping, including a pile of air conditioners and a mound of 30 jugs of used cooking oil.

Pitch in, won't you?

Contact:Brett Wallace @ 646.289.2759 or @

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Could It Be True??

yeah, yeah there's a million "green" or "organic" dry cleaners out there (do your research)...but this is different.

Now open in Park Slope, Clean n Green is Brooklyn’s first eco-friendly Laundromat. While organic dry cleaners are gaining in popularity, Clean n Green is the city’s first laundromat that aims to lessen the environmental impact of washing our clothes by using highly energy and water efficient machines, monitoring water and energy use daily, and using eco-friendly, phosphate and hydrocarbon free soaps. Plus they do green dry-cleaning with a soluation made from silica (or sand?)

In addition to lessening the impact on the environment, Clean n Green is making it easier to do laundry with some great amenities:
card-operated laundromat so no quarters required
Free eco-friendly soap
Washes are $2 bucks each, and on site staff will change over laundry from wash to dry free of charge.

504 5th Avenue, between 12th & 13th streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn.
open 8am - 11pm
check them out at: Fill out this page to win a free wash on them.

As Matthew McConaughey says in Dazed and Confused, "all right, all right, all right"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Speaking of Urban Gardens...

Order a Window Box Kit from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (by Friday, April 23rd): The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is offering block associations and neighborhood organizations the opportunity to order window box kits-with a choice of either flowers, herbs or salad greens-to help make our blocks greener and more colorful. You can order your kit through this website through April 23rd.

How perfectly timed with our challenge!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Plastic Bags Drop Off in DC

The Most Effective Tax Ever? Washington DC's 5 cent tax on plastic bags, instated just this past January, has already proven to have a phenomenal impact: the number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets and other establishments dropped from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million in January. While significantly reducing plastic waste, the tax simultaneously generated $150,000 in revenue, which will be used to clean up the Anacostia River.

Learn More at Treehugger.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"I'm not sure... about automobiles.... With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization..."

Who Killed the Electric Car is a documentary by Chris Paine, and if you want a little background info on the inception, manufacture and subsequent recall and destruction of the battery-powered automobile, this is a good place to get an overview.

Why did we pull the plug on the electric car, especially when it seemed like a step forward for us as a car-dependent society?

The documentary mostly deals with the EV 1, made by GM and the first electric car in over a century. Despite the many benefits of owning an electric car, not the least of which is that they are better environmentally and would also drastically reduce our oil dependency, the EV 1 was taken out of production and all current owners and lessees were forced to return their cars, which where destroyed.

So, who did kill the electric car? Lack of consumer interest? The oil companies? The car companies? The government? The advent of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle?

Watch the documentary and find out. There are many interesting interviews with politicians, EV1 owners, scientists and activists.