Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hey Brooklyn!

Our borough now faces critical cuts in service that will negatively affect the commutes of thousands of Brooklynites each day. Please click here to sign our petition and oppose these cuts!

Also, please attend the MTA’s public hearing in Brooklyn next month and let your voice be heard. Details are below:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
6 p.m.
Brooklyn Museum
Cantor Auditorium
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

Among the proposed cuts to your borough are:

Elimination of Student MetroCards
$40 million in cuts to Access-a-Ride
Buses to be eliminated: B23, B37, B39, B51, B71, B75, B77, X29, X37 and the X38
Weekend elimination of the B2, B24, B69, X27 and X28
The following trains face reduced service, which will result in longer waits and more crowded subway cars: D, F, G, A, L and M trains. The M will be replaced by the V train.

Take Action!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Help us collect signatures for our petition, which we plan to deliver to each of the MTA’s public hearings. You can find our petition online by clicking here.

Sign up to volunteer! If you would like to volunteer, please contact Nick Rolf at

Urge the MTA to find alternative ways to prevent these terrible cuts. To contact the MTA by phone, dial (212) 878-7483. To contact them by e-mail, click here.

The New York City Council and the Straphangers Campaign have proposed an alternate budget solution that will allow us to avoid these painful service cuts. To read more about our plan click here.

With your help we can stop these drastic cuts and ensure greater input from Brooklyn residents in the MTA’s budget process.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Farm City

I'm currently reading Farm City, The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and I have to say it's making me want a pig. And also grow a lot of food without having to leave Brooklyn. I really appreciate the helpful hints Novella gives, in case I ever do get a pig, and I also love how funny and unpretentious she is. There is tons of great info in the book, but what I find particularly pertinent info to share is that cities can really change themselves to being self-sustaining. Did you know that in Shanghai they grow 85% of their own produce? Wow! In Polish cities, over 25% of families raise their own food and in Dar es Salaam, a city in Tanzania, the government encourages the cultivation of every piece of open land. Other cities active in urban agriculture are Cuba, Caracas, Tokyo, and of course many US cities. So it's not just idealist hippies growing food or the latest trend, but whole cities, hungry for food independence and accessibility.

What we need to get urban farming really taking off in NYC is a little leadership and support
(cheaper land could help too). One leader who has made urban farming a key issue for him is Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Check out his vision of a sustainable and bountiful NYC. FoodNYC: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Food System

Here are some inspiring photos of urban farms all over the world. Many of the photos are from a cool blog called

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We're So Excited!

Because we met Martha Stewart! OK, so it was just for 30 seconds, but still she is sort of the Queen of it All, so it was thrilling none the less. We were on set helping our friends at Woolly Pocket set up a green wall on the stage. It looked great! Here are some pictures of the process and a peak inside Martha's world. Check it out on March 5th when it will be screened.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

People's Garden

The Who Farm is at it again, now in NYC campaigning for an organic vegetable farm in front of our own City Hall.
This campaign has yet to enlist the double-decker-upside-down-farm school bus that it crossed the country in to raise awareness of local food, but I'm sure it will find another way to build up the excitement for a City Hall farm. Check out the People's Garden website and sign their petition if this is something you'd like to see.

And while you're getting involved with city politics, do attend this:

DEP is holding meetings in each borough to discuss "water rates, new services, and what the future holds for DEP’s customers.” Will water rates factor for stormwater management in our future?

I know this meeting could sound a bit dry (no pun intended) but this is a crucial part of reducing water pollution in our city. To find out about the meeting in your borough and more about the subject matter visit: DEP and / or SWIM

If you're already well aware of the stormwater problem NYC has and you have an idea on how to reduce it, draw a sketch of what you have in mind and submit it to

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Lands, Your Wildlife

The Your Lands, Your Wildlife Campaign is working to protect the nearly 3,000 wildlife species and 10,000 plant species that inhabit the 449 million acres managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shake that Snow

Happy President's Day. You have today off, right? Well if you do, I have a little garden activity for you-if you have a garden. Although the white blanket looks pristine and it's cold out, you really should put on boots and wade through the snow. Why? Because if you're like me, and have small trees and shrubs in your backyard, some of those trees and shrubs may be damaged by the snow. As I walked through my garden today I saw some of my favorite Kalmia's branches burdened by snow to the point of almost breaking.

If you don't shake off the snow on these tender branches, then they could break, become bent, or just cause strain to the plant. I brushed away the snow surrounding my young River Birch, Inkberry, Rhododendrons, Kalmias, and Dwarf Conifers and saw their branches enthusiastically spring up from the weight of the snow. Great! Good deed done. But I hear it might snow 3"-4" tonight, so prepare to repeat!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

take action

This year, hundreds more wolves in Idaho and Montana could be killed -- unless we win back their federal protection. So please take an important wolf-saving action by sending a message to Interior Secretary Salazar while there is still time to stop the next hunt.

Tell the Interior Secretary to "Call off the Guns! Put Wolves Back on the Endangered Species List." Please take a second to sign this quick petition.

new flickr photos!

We've added lots of new photos on our flickr page, check them out and add them to your favorites, leave a comment, and tag a favorite flower. We'd love to hear your feedback.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New York City-Rebooted

NYC Green Codes Task Force (who knew we had one?) announced 111 recommendations that they suggest be introduced into NYC's building codes. On the USGBC website the full proposal can be downloaded, I highly recommend it. The NY Times did a story on it on Feb. 1

I read the Executive Summary, and it offers NYC ways to reduce toxicity levels indoors and outdoors, improve out health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency, build more durable buildings, conserve water and improve it's quality, reduce Combined Sewage Overflow, and increase the amount of biodiversity and open green space. They propose the necessary environmental improvements in our construction and renovation become integrated into the Department of Buildings codes as opposed to remaining outside concerns. They also propose several retrofits for existing buildings to make them more energy efficient and to fast track building permits for green building construction. They have several points about native plants and reducing the use of invasives, monocultures, and turf.
Here are just a few excerpts from it:

"....75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 85 percent of water use in New York are attributed to buildings."

"...indoor air quality has a greater [negative] impact on the health of New Yorkers than does outdoor air."

"The New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force [ another task force I had no idea existed ] predicts that by 2030 sea level rise in New York will reach 7-12 inches, average daily temperature will be 3-5 F degrees hotter, precipitation will be 10% greater and there will be more frequent extreme weather events."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nursery trip

It is freezing out!! Our trip last week to Angel Plants was a welcome break from the cold- a momentary glimpse into summertime warm, plant loving weather, and I want to go back this second. Too many pictures were taken, but here are my favorites.