It was great meeting each and every one of you, discussing and doing, working side by side, attending meetings, planning and brainstorming, planting and pruning, recycling and composting and laughing and keeping the environment and its people visible and valued. Although things were imperfect at times, BEAN showed up and that’s important. As a brand new all volunteer group we practiced the first Permaculture principle a lot, ‘Observe and Interact’ and we’re bringing what we learned into 2014 to task with a new Mayor, a new City Councilmember and a new fierceness toward the importance of taking the care of our planet seriously and making that work accessible to our daily demanding NYC lives. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to connect with your inner garden or the urban ecology, share or explore new skills and practice them locally among neighbors, or take steps toward becoming an eco leader in your life and community, chances are BEAN will be there working alongside you in 2014 to realize the collective world we want to see and deserve as a human right for all, without greenwashing, beautifying or displacement. We wish all of our friends and neighbors health and wellness, happiness, bounty, resilience and love. Hands in the earth, head in the sky, and with boundless hearts let’s make this happen Bushwick, in whatever form the collective may take. So for the near and the far, may this serve as a virtual toast to what will be! To friends both old and new, see you in the new year!
I woke up with thermostats set to 67 & 68 and started the day from there. When I returned from my day in the city the thermostats were untouched, amazing! So today was indeed full of Eco Actions, let me share with you a few. I left the house for my meetings in the city Action #1 with reuseable bag & stainless steel to-go cup, Action #4 I took the subway. All my usual routine. Between meetings I passed a second hand clothing shop I had never seen before, had a little time so I went in. Action #3, I thought… so I went ahead and got some much needed items, all used and cheap. This gave me another chance to tell the person who worked there about the challenge, which by the way he thought was really great. More positivity, nice. I snapped a picture and went on my way.
Here’s the tricky part…
I did a search to get their link to put in the post… uh, I found out it’s a chain (breaking Action #3 Go Local). What’s up with all these under the radar chain second hand stores sprouting up in NYC from across the country? It must be quite lucrative to be thrifty to be able to afford NYC rent. Not so sure how I feel about the Mom and Pop stores being replaced by even these sorts of chains. Being Green is so easy yet so complex these days.
Ok, I know I broke Action # 2 – this Indian food is not organic or local. And earlier today I broke Action # 4 when I needed to move my car for alternate side of the street parking regulations. But I rocked Action # 1. I walked around the corner to the restaurant, I brought my camping containers and my bag with me and after a well enjoyed meal I scraped my leftovers into my tins as the waiter joyfully stated “People don’t do it, you’re doing it!” So I said, “You mean more people should be like me?” and he laughed and said “Yes, yes!” So whatever that meant it was nice, not to be seen as an inconvenience or to be forced to conform to the standards around to- go protocol. He went with it and that was cool. And the food was perfect after a long day, the cupboards were bare at home. Wednesday is my Bushwick Food Coop shopping day so more on that tomorrow!
BEAN has set six community conscious Bushwick Eco Actions for December 2013 that benefit our local economy, practice sustainability, and reduce waste, energy consumption, and dependency on fossil fuels. The goal? To see if we can all commit to 6 Actions for the full month of December, document the process, and share collective results/experiences. Initiation of challenge begins Dec 1 at midnight to Dec 31st at midnight. We aim to create an educated, aware, and active community whereby these actions can become part of our daily practice. In the meantime we welcome any suggestions and input, we invite you to participate in our challenge and follow along on our facebook page.
Are you up for the challenge?
#BushwickEcoActionNetwork #BEAN #ConsciousCommunityChallenge
Hey Eco-lovers– BEAN wants to hang with you all weekend, so check out these events! We’ll be there and hope to see you too!!
BUSHWICK, we love you. Where else in Brooklyn is there a Harvest Festival happening every weekend in October?! From picking pumpkins, to carving them, to composting them, there has been an annual event to celebrate each of the Autumnal phases of the pumpkin, and BEAN has been busy chasing those pumpkins every step of the way.
The week following the Onderdonk’s Harvest Fest, BEAN headed a bit East to Maria Hernandez Park for EcoStation’s ¡CalabazaFest!. CalabazaFest is named after the word calabaza, which is Spanish for squash or, in this case, pumpkin. It aims to celebrate the fall harvest, play with pumpkins, and also honor the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. There was a pumpkin give away and face painting hosted by Arts in Bushwick (the organization who organizes Bushwick Open Studios), cooking demonstrations done by members of the Bushwick Farmer’s Market, Mariachi music, a costume contest, Thriller dance performance, and, a variation of a Dia De Los Muertos altar to which people attached their own written sentiments.
By the time BEAN added to the mix there was only one fall themed thing missing: FOLIAGE, so, inspired by our ongoing tree care work, we opened up shop for nature crown making. All you need to make one is a base: paper, wire, or whatever will sit in a circle around your head, adhesive, and nature treasures such as leaves, seeds and twigs. We collected a variety of leaves from the park, some discarded flowers from a local shop, and all of the crafty things we had around the house, and asked people to make crowns out of the shared bounty. The outcome was amazing! It was also really fun to identify different trees using the shapes of the leaves and this chart from the NYC Parks Dept website. It’s surprising how many different types of trees we are able to enjoy at Maria Hernandez Park. We counted over 17 types. How many kinds are there in your local park? Do you know their names? If not, use the chart!
NEXT came BEAN and PS 123k’s first annual Pumpkin Smash. People from as far as Glendale came to smash their pumpkins the weekend after Halloween to prepare the organic matter for composting instead of tossing them in the trash. Some businesses such as Green Streets Salads even donated their aging jack-o-lanterns ripe for smashing– all together we counted 49 pumpkins that our efforts saved from the landfill! We smashed ‘em, mixed them with park leaves for high-carbon, and added some coffee grounds ((thanks to Wyckoff Starr, Owl Cafe, and Swallow Cafe for collecting your grounds!)) for nitrogen to make a perfect mix that plants love. All that was left to do was to ride it away to community composters via the BKRot bike, and allow microbes and organisms some time to break it all down into soil. So come Spring the composted Fall jack-o-lanterns will provide the necessary nutrients for small local farms and gardens in Bushwick such as the Suydam and Willoughby Gardens at PS 123. Our community’s pumpkins will live on as other pumpkins next fall, and the cycle will continue as it has for thousands of years.
A BIG around of applause to all of the friends and neighbors who participated in these events, especially those from PS123k and BKRot. Special thanks to the NYC Parks Department, Partnerships for Parks and the caretakers of Maria Hernandez Park. Together we have celebrated and sustained the life cycle of a pumpkin! See you all soon!
Bushwick Eco Action Network (BEAN) is hosting a neighborhood PUMPKIN SMASH this Saturday, November 2, in Maria Hernandez Park from 11am-3pm in partnership with Suydam & Willoughby Gardens @PS 123 and BKRot. This annual event brings awareness to BEAN’s community composting initiative and the value of organic waste as a local soil building resource as well as an all ages Bushwick community building event.
Bring your carved Jack-O-Lanterns to be publicly smashed and mixed with park leaves and then whisked away via bike transport to BKROT‘s community compost bins transforming local waste into a local resource. This event serves to support local youth employment as well as our urban ecology by returning our pumpkins to the earth!