Archive for the ‘community’ Category

real help for haiti – UPDATE

July 28, 2010

There are only 5 days left to reach the goal for Hands That Feed on Kickstarter (read more about the project below). The thing with Kickstarter is, if they don’t make their goal, they don’t get any of the money pledged. But here’s the good part, a generous donor has just offered to work outside Kickstarter and independently match the next $2,000 in donations that are made!

If you think it’s a worthy cause, all you have to pledge is $10. If you don’t have $10, maybe you could tell a few friends who do. Please watch the video and read on to learn more. Then give generously, if you can.

Big earthquakes – like the one that hit Haiti in January – often leave a wake of disaster. And the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was disastrous to an already compromised country, affecting approximately 3 million people, leaving people homeless and hurt, taking people’s lives. But out of the destruction, comes opportunity. An opportunity to heal the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

There are many methods for helping people in need, but which are most effective? Giving the power to the people to help themselves, in my mind, will have the longest lasting positive effects. Enter, Hands That Feed:

Hands That Feed is a documentary film exploring the agricultural collapse in Haiti, its role in the post-earthquake food crisis, and the emerging grassroots development models that seek to restore Haiti’s food supply and environment.

The Film

Hands That Feed will narrate the experiences of dynamic young adults in post-earthquake Haiti, representing a range of innovative grassroots recovery organizations, as they seek to build a sustainable future for the country. The film starts on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Following our characters through day-to-day life, the viewer learns how Haiti lost the ability to feed itself, turning a natural disaster into a crisis. The inspiring young people undergo personal transformation, mirroring the potential transformation of the nation, as they study sustainable agriculture techniques and trauma relief through yoga practices. They then tour the country as teachers, experiencing the hardships of post-earthquake Haiti. The viewer witnesses the challenges, frustration, and victories of teaching society to be self-sufficient in both agriculture and leadership.

Learn more about Hands That Feed and consider supporting them by giving to their Kickstarter campaign so they can complete this important project.

our future, our food

May 11, 2010

Curious about growing food in the city? Want to know more about the strong community focus of gardening in an urban setting?

Next Wednesday, May 19 from 6 to 7pm at the Manhattan location of the New York Botanical Garden…

Our Future, Our Food: The Role of Community Gardens in Urban Agriculture

Presented by urban farmer Karen Washington, the lecture inspires growers and consumers to use gardening as a tool to educate and enrich their local communities.

Karen Washington is a garden advocate and community activist who for 25 years has been helping people cultivate healthier foods and neighborhoods in the Bronx, in part through a City Farms market that she launched. She’s also a member of the New York Botanical Garden’s Board.

Register with the New York Botanical Gardens at their new site: nybg.org/AdultEd with class code 104GAR 805 Section B or call 800.322.NYBG (6924) for more information.

• 104GAR 805 Section B: Wednesday, May 19, 6–7 p.m., Manhattan (20 West 44th Street, Midtown)

queens gets its first food co-op

April 19, 2010

When you’re living near THE infamous food co-op in Brooklyn (you know the one) and around the corner from one of the best farmers markets in town, and new CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture outfits) are popping up all around, it’s easy to forget that some boroughs are less fortunate when it comes to having access to local farm-fresh food.

One such borough, Queens, is about to get their due. The Queens Harvest Co-op in Sunnyside is about to break through the great food for a great price barrier that (most of) Queens has been experiencing. Their plan is to open in the Fall of 2011 (I know, a long time to wait – but you know it’ll be worth it!), and if you want to learn more about their plans, check out the Queens Green Drinks event next Monday, April 26th. Details below:

Monday, April 26th
6:30 to 9pm

Claret
4602 Skillman Ave
Sunnyside, Queens

Queens Green Drinks
Hosted by Queens Harvest Food Co-op in Sunnyside!

The Queens Harvest Food Co-op is a new community driven venture into the world of fresh, high-quality food at affordable prices. They will be a member-owned and controlled market that puts community before profits. Anticipated opening in the Queens Plaza area in 2011. Please come and meet the members of the Queens Harvest Food Co-op on April 26th at Claret and/or go to www.queensharvestcoop.com for more information!

Learn more about this meetup on Facebook.

the turning point: a return to community

February 22, 2010

An industrialized world such as the one we live in has its advantages. Cool computer technology that allows us to communicate instantly with people around the globe; high-speed transport that has the ability to take us to a foreign land within hours, not days; medical advances that give sick or injured people better chances of surviving or thriving. But it seems in our fast progression to this industrialized society, some important aspects of life were left behind.

We’ve lost the skills that allow us to be self-reliant and at the same time we’ve lost our ability to depend on our neighbors. We’ve lost our sense of community.

Yet there’s a growing movement to re-establsh what we’ve lost while regaining a newfound abundance in the world around us. Entire towns are being transformed and villages established that meet the permaculture principles of “care for people, care for the earth, and share the abundance.” One such village, considered an “eco-village” since the 1980s, is Findhorn, Scotland.

The Turning Point: A Return to Community features Findhorn, its community, and the community’s dwindling dependence on fossil fuels. I was lucky to be part of one of its first North American screenings.

The Turning Point shows us that it’s possible to have a rich, fulfilling life during energy descent without sacrificing comfort and security. If a community is comprised of people with diverse skills and strengths, and has a strong ecological infrastructure, it can be a resilient and successful one. Some of the features the village of Findhorn boasts include:

Home made from recycled whisky barrels, Findhorn

The home above was made from recycled whisky barrels.

Like the Transition Town movement started in Ireland and the UK, Findhorn ecovillage demonstrates what life can be like in a post-peak-oil world. It isn’t a return to a rag-and-bone agrarian existence. It isn’t all doom and gloom. As long as we start the changes now, we can thrive in a world with little reliance on fossil fuels. The Turning Point film is a peek into a future we can all look forward to.

A living machine, like the one in Findhorn, at Oberlin College

If you’d like to see The Turning Point: A Return to Community, visit the film’s website.

For more information on Ecovillages and Transition Towns:

For more about Findhorn:

Images source: Wikipedia

why are costa ricans smiling?

January 29, 2010

From what I’ve read and heard from friends who’ve visited Costa Rica, it is the happiest nation on the planet. Why is this?

According to the New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica ranked #1 out of 143 countries across the globe. The NEF measured national happiness based on the ecological footprint and the health and happiness of a nation’s citizens. Perhaps not surprisingly, the US ranked #114.

Yes! Magazine reported on the happiness of Costa Rica last year, pointing out that the nation dissolved its military in 1948 to focus their spending on health and education.

The focus on education is not just about academic achievement. From the Yes! article:

Central to Costa Rica’s promotion of peace is the Rasur Foundation, which organized the summit and lobbied for the creation of the Ministry of Justice and Peace. Rasur is a teacher in a Costa Rican poem who tells a group of children, “Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts.” Through its Peace Academy, the Rasur Foundation works with the Costa Rican Ministry of Education to introduce techniques of conflict resolution and “being peace” in Costa Rican schools.

Read more…

Considering the emotional wealth of the country, it seems this major shift towards health, education, peace and environmental stewardship has paid off.

And I’m about to find out firsthand. This here blog is going to be quiet for the next week – I’m heading to Costa Rica!

Stay tuned for my observations and photos, and in the meantime, check out these videos about environmental education and stewardship in Costa Rica from explore.org:

will barter for skills

January 28, 2010

This post is also featured on Greenopolis.

Skillsharing is hot right now. Maybe it’s because most everyone is on a budget or perhaps there’s been a great awakening where people feel compelled to share resources, time, and abilities.

If you’ve never been to a skillshare, here’s the gist: A group of people with various skills come together in the spirit of sharing. The skilled people teach a group of eager learners who either pay a small fee (like $10) to learn new skills or barter with their own skills or services.

Back in October, I attended the Brooklyn Skillshare and learned some great skills which I’ve since applied at home: upcycling glass bottles into vases, drinking glasses (and more) and making butter and ricotta. (You can check out the results here.)

Learning how to cast silver jewelry at the Brooklyn Skillshare.

If you’re interested in trying out one of these skillshares and you live in NYC, you’re in for a treat. From now until February 28 at Grand Opening (139 Norfolk St), you can learn a new skill every night at Trade School – as long as you’re able to give (barter) in return. There are some really cool skills being offered up, including foraging and preserving foods, fabric-making, community engagement, and composting.

Once you’re bitten by the skillsharing bug, it’s hard to quit. In fact, last year, after learning how to make soap, I felt compelled to teach others at a soap-making party. You can read more about my case of soap fever on the Handmade Soap Coach blog.

//

//

upcoming events at 388 atlantic

January 25, 2010

There’s a budding new meeting space in Brooklyn. It’s at 388 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt & Bond) and there are some great events happening that I thought you should know about…

388 Atlantic Ave – Brooklyn – closest to A, C & G, but near the B, M, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, 5, and F

Andrew Faust Ecological Literacy vs. Environmental Education
Tuesday, January 26 (tomorrow!)
7-9 pm
Suggested donation: $10

We need to embrace our responsibility for the well-being of each other and the entire web of life. This new worldview requires a whole new philosophy of education.

homebiome.com

Beekeeping: Find out how to get ready for spring; making it legal
Saturday, January 30
1:30-3:30 pm
Suggested donation: $10

John Howe, founder of the Brooklyn Bee, lives in Fort Greene where he has three beehives on his roof. The bees make honey that John sells; he also makes soap, lip balm and candles from beeswax. Come learn how to keep bees. Plus, this is the week that the City Council holds hearings to legalize beekeeping in NYC (Wednesday, Feb 3). Just Food will speak briefly about the legislation and what we can do to make sure it passes.

thebrooklynbee.com

Staying Healthy through the Seasons: Thriving in Winter Workshop
Sunday, January 31
3-5pm *optional potluck after
“recommended exchange”: $10-15

Curious about staying healthy this winter? Come learn tips for how to live in balance during the cold winter days with food, yoga, and herbs!
In this workshop we will discuss natural cold and flu prevention and care, eating in balance with the seasons and with your Ayurvedic constitution. Learn cheap recipes and how to eat well, fresh and local during the dreary winter months. Abby will teach you some great yoga poses to keep your energy up and blood flowing and Liz will enliven your spirits with great herbal teas and foods.
Come join Abby Paloma and Liz Blake for an educational and fun gathering!
bring a mug for tea!

behivethrives.com

Also, mark your calendar for the New York premiere of an inspiring new film:

The Turning Point: a film about the importance of local networks and connections
Friday, February 19
7-9 pm (film is 45 minutes; discussion afterwards)
Suggested donation: $10

From Findhorn, Scotland, a positive and inspiring film about our transition to a low carbon future. Featuring visionary leaders and pioneers in the fields of Human Ecology and Global Transition, this film takes an inspiring look at our potential to create a life-sustaining society as we face the twin challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change. “The combination of serious, funny and beautiful was perfect!”

theturningpointfilm.co.uk

cupcakes & clothes for haiti

January 16, 2010

Just got this special message from Kaight, eco-conscious fashion shop that I wanted to share:

Dear Friends,

By now, we are all well aware of the tragedy that has struck Haiti. We know everyone is doing their best to help, and we would like to make donating as easy on you as possible. On Monday, Jan., 18, we encourage you to bring in any clothes that you would like to donate to the residents of Haiti. We will ensure that they get donated through “Fashion Delivers“. As a thank you for your participation, we will be serving cupcakes by Rabbit Mafia, and offering 10% OFF on any purchase that day. We will be operating at regular store hours and will open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you on Monday.

Thank you for your support!

Kaight is located at:
83 Orchard Street, NYC
(212) 680-5630

a gift of goat

December 3, 2009

If you’ve been following my blog over the past year and half you might know that I have a thing for goats. I don’t know what it is about them – the way they sound, their disposition, the way they can climb up to high places – I just think they’re great.Goat235X235

So I was psyched to get one for my birthday from my bf’s sister and brother-in-law. Yes, it’s another post about what I got for my birthday. I guess I’m feeling reflective and grateful.

Of course, I couldn’t have a goat in my Brooklyn apartment, and I don’t own a patch of land in the country to keep one. This four-legged friend will be going to a family who really needs her. Through Heifer International, anyone can purchase a goat (or other farm animal) that will be symbolic for one person and real for another.

According to Heifer:

Goats Are Great for Families

The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful way for you to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the world.

Goats can thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day – a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens.

Goats often have two or three kids a year making it easy for Heifer recipients to pass on the gift of a goat to another family in need. This great investment allows our partners to lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education.

Boy-Wearing-Traditional-Dell-Standing-Next-to-Baby-Goat-Mongolia-Photographic-Print-C12454834

Gifts from Heifer or similar organizations make great holiday presents – especially for the people in your life who don’t want or need any ‘things.’ Here are some other great orgs that offer symbolic gifts:

Oxfam Unwrapped

mosquito nets, books, baby chicks, soap

World Wildlife Fund

threatened & endangered species like polar bears, snow leopards, monarch butterflies

Conservation International

protect an acre of rainforest

Nature Conservancy

plant a tree, adopt an acre, adopt a jaguar

New York Restoration Project

buy an NYC tree

World Neighbors

provide seeds, help prevent AIDS, provide gender equity training

save coal river mountain

November 5, 2009

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the destructive practices of mountaintop removal coal mining are not just devastating the ecology of the Appalachian mountains, they’re destroying the health and livelihood of the Appalachian community. Please take action to end this filthy, immoral practice:

Today, organizations across the nation are joining forces with iLoveMountains.org to send a powerful message to the Obama Administration that blasting on America’s Most Endangered Mountain-Coal River Mountain- needs to stop now. This could be the largest day of action on mountaintop removal ever, and we need your help to make history.

Use the form to send your message now.

Coal River Mountain is the last remaining mountain untouched by mountaintop removal in the Coal River Valley of southern West Virginia- but Massey Energy wants to turn it into a 6,600-acre mountaintop removal wasteland. Local residents have a different vision for Coal River Mountain – a wind farm that could provide 70,000 households with clean energy, sustainable jobs and a symbol of hope for new industry in the Appalachian coalfields.

The fate of Coal River Mountain is still uncertain, but its implications for our energy future are clear. Will we continue down the path of destroying our nation’s oldest mountains for a few years worth of coal, or seize the opportunity to produce clean wind power and generate green jobs and a new energy economy?

Please send your message now.