A Day in the Life: Recycling Champions Coordinator Julia Goldstein

GrowNYC's School Recycling Champions program works with schools in all five boroughs to help them achieve and exceed the NYC recycling standards. They work to inform and empower the key participants in a school by providing hands-on education through materials, workshops, assemblies, and on-site demonstrations.

Recycling Champions has five outreach coordinators, each of whom works in a particular borough. Below, Manhattan Outreach Coordinator Julia Goldstein takes us through a typical day in her life as a Recycling Champion.

What I love about being a Recycling Champions coordinator is how much creativity and dedication the principals, teachers, custodians, kitchen staff, recycling coordinators, parents, and above all the students, all over the city bring to making their school environment more sustainable.

Let me give you some examples from a typical day:

The first stop of the day is my office, where I pick up materials for workshops I’m doing on the new Organics Food Scraps Collection program at Chelsea Prep (281 9th Avenue in Chelsea). I make sure to grab a coffee from Laughing Man on the way to the C train.

In the 2013-2014 school year, over 300 schools in Staten Island, Manhattan, and Brooklyn are participating in the Organics Collection Program, a joint initiative between the NYC Departments of Education and Sanitation. The goal is to collect the organic material from school cafeterias and kitchens to reduce the waste NYC sends to landfills. Organic Food Scraps Collection includes: meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruit, grains, baked goods and all soiled food service paper products.

I chat with the school’s Fireman, Ed Pierre, who has been working hard to get the new Organics signs up in the cafeteria

On Saturday I’ll go to another workshop at Chelsea Prep that includes parents, and we’ll use this, a trivia game created by RCP’s Thaddeus Copeland. The Trivia Game is one of several tools we use to engage the students in participatory learning. A student spins the wheel and depending on which icon they land on, they are asked a recycling-related trivia question

I hop back on the C to 110th Street to my second stop: Wadleigh Secondary School for the Visual & Performing Arts (215 W 114th Street in Morningside Heights).

I touch base with Al Spechar, the Custodial Engineer, who shows me a new system he is trying for separating the curbside recycling – he has painted green lines around where the paper recycling goes, and hung a mixed paper and cardboard recycling decal. Great idea! It makes it easier for the Sanitation workers if it’s always in the same place, and it makes it easy to check to make sure each type of recycling has been put out.

I jump back on the C train to 86th Street and go on to my next stop: Louis D. Brandeis High School (145 W 84 Street in the Upper West Side).  I check in with Helena Fisher, the SchoolFood Manager , to see how the Food Scraps Toter bins are working for them. We talk about how frequently they need new bags – the students are catching on to the Food Scraps Organics program faster than we had hoped!

I board the cross town bus and grab a seat and work on email. I spend so much time on public transportation it feels like my second office.

My next stop: Robert F. Wagner Middle School (220 E 76th Street in the Upper East Side). I meet with the 6th grade cafeteria recycling monitors, who make the fantastic recycling station work every day. They bring both knowledge and tact to the job of reminding their peers of the recycling rules.

I take the 4/5 back downtown to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall for my final stop of the day: Murry Bergtraum High School (411 Pearl Street in the Financial District). The sustainability coordinator, Bob Menning, walks with me through the school. Bob takes his role seriously and his energetic and talented Green Team students, like Elena Tsoy, bring creative flair to the task -- they’ve hung signs throughout the cafeteria and school reminding classmates and faculty/staff of best recycling practices.

That’s my last visit and all that’s left is to convince my fellow rush-hour passengers on the 4/5 train to make room for me and my Santa-sized bag. To their credit, being New Yorkers, they hardly give it a second glance.

Big Apple Crunch Takes New York!

The Big Apple Crunch is an attempt to set the world record for the "Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event." This event will take place on FOOD DAY - October 24, 2013. New Yorkers can participate by finding a crunch near you: at any of GrowNYC's Greenmarket Farmers' Markets or another location near you or by hosting a crunch yourself! We want it to be the crunch heard 'round the world!

Please pledge to take a bite with us at 12pm or at any time during the day that works for you. RecordSetter.com - a New York City based organization tracking new world records - will be tracking our progress towards having the "Most Participants in an Apple-Crunching Event!"

Register your team at bigapplecrunch.com

GrowNYC Supports City Efforts to "RECYCLE EVERYTHING"

GrowNYC is proud to support Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in expanding recycling in NYC with the launch of "Recycle Everything."

In 2006, the City created GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education to assist their ambitious goals to divert more waste from disposal. Whether promoting textile, e-waste, and increased plastics recycling or working with the Department of Sanitation to establish organics recycling programs like those happening at Morningside Gardens (where this week’s press conference took place), GrowNYC is thrilled to be a component of the City’s efforts. The "Recycle Everything" ad campaign launched and the expansion of the City’s organic food waste recycling program shows how far New York has come in managing the 11,000 tons of waste generated every day. Together, these initiatives will help double our recycling rate by 2017 and reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills.

GrowNYC was proud to help establish the Morningside Heights organics collection and will promote the City’s Recycle Everything campaign in its education outreach across the five boroughs.

New York News

Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools


GrowNYC formed a partnership with Wagner Middle School in Manhattan called Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools, funded by NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin. Under one roof, we are providing support from five GrowNYC programs: Learn It Grow It Eat It, Grow to Learn School Gardens, Greenmarket Youth Education, Recycling Champions and Environmental Education. For an entire year, GrowNYC staff is educating young people about how to lead lives that improve their personal health and that of the environment around them; so that eating, growing, learning and going green become second nature.

On the recycling front, we recently helped Wagner launch a school-wide cafeteria recycling program – 1,200 students in grades 6-8 sorted everything from trays to milk cartons, placing them in their proper containers with help from dozens of student volunteers and Green Team members. 1,200 students recycling milk cartons for one year will save 31 trees!

To keep it fun, grades are competing to see who can reduce their overall waste – on a weekly basis, the amount of waste will be calculated and the winning grade announced on Fridays. At the end of every month, the grade that has reduced waste and recycled the most will receive special “Out-Lunch” privileges. Wagner has averaged a daily reduction of 9 bags of garbage or 17%, while generating an extra bag of recyclables.

The contest, designed by the Green Team, was the culmination of an outreach campaign they undertook to educate their classmates. Working with their advisor, teacher and sustainability coordinator Jessica Gordon, students created posters, morning announcements, and a PowerPoint. The success of the program could not have been possible without the support and help of Wagner’s administration and staff.

Come see GrowNYC at the 2013 Farm to City Expo

2013 Farm to City Expo
Monday, March 4, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 W. 34th St

Attend panels on local purchasing and food infrastructure, followed by networking opportunities, and learn about Greenmarket Co. from GrowNYC executive director Marcel Van Ooyen, on a panel devoted to exploring regional wholesale infrastructure (12:20-1:10 p.m.). Enjoy all day access to over 40 New York farms and food companies at the Pride of New York MarketPlace.

Register by February 28 using this link: http://bit.ly/WP1rgI

View the flyer:

Grains Come into Focus at Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Winter Conference

It was a “Wheat and Greet” that set the tone for the weekend as attendees arrived on a Friday night late last month for NOFA-NY’s annual Winter Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. Local breads, pastas, beer, and spirits flowed freely as tasters chatted with the growers and processors who created them. Standout products included Flour City’s emmer fusilli and Kelso Brewery’s Rauchbier made with a smoked triticale malt, both of which consistently surprised people with outstanding flavors not normally associated with beer and pasta. To the question most heard throughout the night — “Where can I buy this?” — suppliers could happily point people to the many stores now stocking their products. Not bad for a region that just a few years ago did not have much in the way of food-quality grain.

On Saturday, Greenmarket and the Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network, hosted a workshop on grain processing where presenters shared their products and experiences with a crowd of current or aspiring entrepreneurs hoping to launch their own thriving business in the delicious world of grains – be it growing, malting, milling, baking, or distilling, to name just a few. Greenmarket and OGRIN debuted their recently completed technical assistance video: A local Grain Renaissance in the Northeast.

Each year, the conference features a “grains track” with workshops covering topics like how to set up a malting facility to work with the many new regional distilleries; how to grow and mill food-grade grains, and new research on crop yields and disease resistance among the many grain varieties in the region.

While there is still much to be done, the NOFA-NY conference showed that the links in the supply chain are strengthening, new infrastructure is being built, and the wonderful symbiosis from farmer, to grain processor, to consumer continues to grow.

If you missed the conference, fear not! Greenmarket and the Organic Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network host a Shortcourse on Grain Processing in the Northeast on March 2 at Glynwood in Cold Spring, NY. Contact Elizabeth Dyck at OGRIN (edyck@ogrin.org) to register.

 

GrowNYC presents Stormwater Management workshops at NYC Botanical Gardens

In the coming months, GrowNYC's Open Space Greening Assistant Director Lenny Librizzi will be presenting a series of Stormwater Management workshops at NYC botanical gardens.

These two-hour workshops will cover stormwater management best practices for community gardeners and homeowners. Learn how to conserve water and help prevent pollution from stormwater by discussing topics such as rainwater harvesting, swales, rain gardens, enhanced tree pits, permeable paving, and more.

Information about sources for start-up materials and how-to tips will be discussed.

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx) Wednesday, February 6, 6pm to 8pm
Watson Education Building
Registration required; e-mail bronxgreenup@nybg.org or call 718.817.8026. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 
Wednesday, February 27, 6pm to 8pm
Registration required; Enroll here

Queens Botanical Garden
Saturday, April 6, 11am to 1pm
Fee: Free with Garden Admission (pre-registration required)
Registration required; e-mail schoolprograms@queensbotanical.org or call 718-886-3800 x.230.

Food Scrap Collection Passes the ONE MILLION POUND Mark

On Sunday, city officials, community partners, and compost enthusiasts gathered at the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket to celebrate a benchmark for GrowNYC’s food scrap collection program: ONE MILLION POUNDS!

Since the pilot program launched in March 2011, one million pounds of food scraps have been dropped off at Greenmarket’s collection sites, diverting that much food from the waste stream.

Emily Rubenstein, Assistant Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling and Sustainability at DSNY, City Council Member Brad Lander, Birdie NYC and GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen applauded the efforts of all those who have made this achievement possible.

“We’re thrilled that Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council helped launch the compost program last year and that DSNY stepped in this year to bring the successful pilot to the next level.  We’re demonstrating that the City of New York is not lagging far behind California and other places where compost has taken root. New Yorkers across the City are eager to participate and reduce waste while creating a valuable resource that will benefit local gardens and farms,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.

Look up your nearest food scrap drop-off site here, and find out what can be contributed here. Once it’s dropped off, the material is transported to compost sites and urban agriculture projects within the five boroughs. We’re also signing people up for our winter incentive program—the Winter Compost Warrior. Visitors can sign in at our info tent when they visit the market, noting their weekly attendance and compost contribution. There’s a compost-related prize in it for those Winter Compost Warriors who check in ten or more times in the coming twelve weeks.

At the beginning of the New Year, this monumental benchmark lets us set a new goal for the year ahead. How much compost can we make in 2013?

Greenmarket New Year's Resolutions

Looking for a New Year's resolution you can stick with? One that makes you feel good, look good, and doesn't require a monthly membership fee? Look no further, here are 11 simple ways to make 2013 a happy and healthy year.

1) PASS ON PLASTIC. We know you have tons of reusable bags in your apartment; carry a few with you while shopping at Greenmarkets and give up plastic bags for good.

2) FALL IN LOVE WITH RUTABAGA. Boil them, steam them, roast them, or put in tarts, soups, or salads - turnips, beets, rutabagas and the rest of the root vegetable family are versatile and delicious.

3) DROP OFF YOUR FOOD SCRAPS. Start small – keep a bag of all of your carrot tops and coffee grounds in your freezer and drop it off at a market once a week. Your trash will start to have no odor - honest! Plus, think of all that rich compost being made instead of helping our landfills grow. Locations and times.

4) CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS. Do your spring cleaning early and drop off all of your old textiles at one of 16 markets that collect year round. Locations and times.

5) JOIN A DINNER CLUB OR RECIPE EXCHANGE (or start your own!). Baby, it's cold outside. Warm up with friends and share dishes and recipes.

6) BECOME A WINTER WARRIOR. Stay devoted to Greenmarkets. The farmers that are there want to see you and most year round Greenmarkets (there are 22 of them!) have a frequent shopper program beginning in January where you can check in each week and get a fun market-y prize at the end of winter.

7) TRY A NEW INGREDIENT EVERY WEEK. Fresh horseradish, kohlrabi, celery root, creamed honey, purple potatoes - even in the winter, chances are pretty good that there are some ingredients at Greenmarkets that you've never tried. Take a closer peek and see what's there.

8) EAT AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT. For those nights you just don't feel like cooking (never, right?), there are many restaurants around NYC that purchase from Greenmarket and Greenmarket Co. all year long.

9) VISIT A MARKET YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE. Explore New York City's greatest asset - its communities! With 22 Greenmarkets open year round, you have many opportunities to visit markets in Inwood, Jackson Heights, Cortelyou/Ditmas Park, and many more neighborhoods. Greenmarket map and schedule.

10) BECOME A GREENMARKET VOLUNTEER. Greenmarket hosts volunteer orientations and provides opportunities (indoor and outdoor) year round.

11) CREATE A MEAL USING LOCAL GRAINS. Can you think of anything better than homemade bread made with local grains slathered in some fresh farm butter? We can't either.

Move over Quinoa...

Another ancient grain is roaring back to life in the city’s Greenmarkets and restaurants -- and this one is grown by farmers right here in our very own state. Emmer, the sweet, robust grain that adds dreamy texture to any soup or salad, grinds into a fine flour used in pasta and bread, and makes an incredible pilaf or hot cereal all on its own, is taking its well-deserved place in the spotlight. In just the latest example, Gramercy Tavern Executive Chef Michael Anthony is featuring emmer grown by Cayuga Pure Organics, a farm located in the Finger Lakes region, in the soup he created for Hale and Hearty and being served in its restaurants this week (12/10/12-12/16/12).

Emmer, called farro in Italy, is among the oldest forms of wheat. Its cultivation dates back 10,000 years to ancient Egypt and Israel, where it was used to make matzoh as well as leavened bread, pasta and beer. It gradually fell out of favor because emmer seed has to go through an extra step after it’s threshed called dehulling, which removes the seed from its hull, or husk. It was replaced by wheats that broke free from their hulls in the threshing process, like modern bread wheat and durum wheat (commonly used for pasta). Thankfully farmers throughout Europe, Turkey, and Ethiopia still appreciate emmer’s special qualities and grow it aplenty.

The hardy crop hit American soil in the late 19th century, when German farmers migrating from Russia planted it in settlements across the northern plains of North Dakota and Montana. The USDA quickly spotted its merits: Not only was it extraordinarily high in protein and fiber content, but it proved remarkably tolerant to extreme weather, assuring a harvest even when the wheat crops failed.

Emmer found its way to this region in 2009, when organic farmers in North Dakota who were willing to share this potentially high-value crop relatively new to the U.S. -- which they alone possessed – sent a seed shipment to organic growers in New York and Pennsylvania. The momentous hand-over was part of a USDA-funded collaboration among farmers, crop scientists and sustainable agriculture advocates (Greenmarket) intent on introducing farmers and consumers to this new-old grain.

The group also hopes to clear the confusion people have between emmer, spelt and farro -- which has long frustrated farmers and researchers. In a rare show of annoyance, a 1911 USDA report cited the necessity “to protest strongly against the use of incorrect names for emmer.” Now that chefs in our region have their very own source of home-grown emmer -- no need to import farro from Italy anymore! -- they are only beginning to discover the subtle differences between this hardy grain from the plains, and the crop of the same species that took another path to the Mediterranean, acclimating to Italian conditions over the years.

Cayuga Pure Organics began selling emmer at Greenmarket, where it has been embraced by regional grain enthusiasts, including Chef Anthony. Chef Patti Jackson, late of I Trulli, made a memorable emmer pasta at a regional grains tasting in 2010 that folks are still raving about. With its rise in popularity, you can expect emmer to pop up more and more on menus around the city. You’ll surely see it in a range of forms, whether the whole grain, a bag of flour, a loaf of bread, fresh pasta or flatbreads. At some point in the not-too-distant future you might even be toasting an emmer beer or savoring an emmer whiskey cocktail.

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