DC Vegfest: Bigger, Better, and More Delicious Than Ever

DCVF_Sharegraphic9 (1)Are you vegan, vegetarian, or just curious about eating a more plant-based diet? Then this year’s DC VegFest on September 20th is not to be missed. Held at beautiful Yards Park on the DC waterfront, DC VegFest is a free day-long celebration that includes speakers, cooking demos, more than 100 exhibitors and vendors, a “Barking Lot” where four-legged furry friends can romp, music, and much more.

This year’s keynote speaker is Robin Quivers–also known as Howard Stern’s sidekick–and author of The Vegucation of RobinWashington Post writer and author Joe Yonan along with Doron Petersan of Sticky Fingers Eats and Treats are on tap to do cooking demos featuring easy-to-make vegan dishes the whole family will enjoy.

More than 25 restaurants will be showcasing their healthy eats at the festival, ranging from kombucha from Craft Kombucha and freshly pressed juice from South Block Juice Co. to vegan Chinese food from Vegetable Garden and vegan pizza from Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza. Those looking for refreshments a little harder than juice can even take advantage of the beer and wine garden, sponsored by Bread & Brew.

Other exhibitors not to be missed will include all-natural skin-care lines, yummy baked goods, organic dog treats, and even a local culinary arts school specializing in healthy, plant-based diets.

Nine authors and chefs, including event MC and The Cheesy Vegan author John Schlimm and 73-year-old ultra-marathon runner Dr. Betty Smith will speak throughout the daylong festival. Other speakers include:

  • Lesley Parker-Rollins — Vegan mom and host of Ask a Vegan Family
  • Bryant Terry – Eco-chef and author of The Inspired Vegan and Afro-Vegan
  • Dr. Neal Barnard – President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • Alexis Fox and Micah Risk of Lighter Nutrition Coaching and Community

DC VegFest highlights the many benefits and flavors of vegetarian eating and shows how easy and delicious it is to choose healthier, more sustainable, and kinder foods. Attendees will enjoy free food samples from So Delicious, Tofurky, Larabar, Way Better Snacks, and more as well as tasty vegan cuisine from nearly two dozen food vendors.

Attendees will also have the chance to peruse exhibitor booths from such animal-friendly organizations and companies as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, the Humane Society of the United States, Conscious Corner, A Well-Fed World, Animal Rescue Bar, Washington Humane Society and many more.

In addition to this event being free and open to everyone, the first 1,000 attendees will also get a free 2014 commemorative DC VegFest tote bag loaded with veg-friendly products, coupons and more!

The DC VegFest was originally founded by the Vegetarian Society of DC and has been organized by Compassion Over Killing since 2009.

DC Green Festival Celebrates 10th Year

*This entry was cross-posted from Grassfed Media.

GF_LOGO_HORZ-RGB

For anyone interested in living a more sustainable and healthier life, the DC Green Festival is not to be missed. Now in its 10th year at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Green Festival is America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event. We were a proud sponsor of this year’s launch party and can’t wait until the festival at the end of May.

The DC Green Festival will offer a little something for everyone–from food, fashion, and health to energy, construction, and design. Attendees will enjoy vegan and vegetarian cooking demos, educational activities for kids and families, panels featuring inspirational speakers, and live music and entertainment.

One of our favorite parts of the Green Festival is the unique marketplace of more than 300 eco-friendly businesses – everything from all-natural body care products and organic clothing to Fair Trade gifts, beautiful home renovations made from renewable resources, plus vegan and vegetarian offerings based on organic, non-GMO or local, artisanal foods. Our fabulous client, Karmalades, will be there too, showcasing all-natural, eco-luxe cleaning products–so stop by and say hello.

Green Festival is committed to:

  • Showcasing the best and latest green products and services in the market
  • Making ‘green’ practical, viable and accessible to everyone by promoting sustainability in everyday life choices and actions
  • Providing the ultimate marketplace for green brands and consumers who want to integrate sustainability into their lives
  • Striving to be a zero-waste marketplace where consumers can be assured that companies are committed to environmental sustainability
  • Representing a diverse, sustainable community that is socially and environmentally responsible
  • Encouraging companies to adopt green and fair trade principles through Green America’s certification process
  • Supporting vegan-vegetarian diet alternatives focused on organic, non- GMO and local artisanal foods as part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle
  • Serving as a launching pad for Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and consumer programs in sustainability
  • The festival runs from May 31 to June 1. Early bird tickets are available online at 50% off until April 15th with code GRASSFED14.

Beer & Sustainability Happy Hour at BlueJacket Brewery

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.13.13 AMOn March 26th, please join DC Net Impact for a Beer and Sustainability happy hour at Bluejacket Brewery. This event is a unique opportunity to network with fellow sustainability professionals and students, while enjoying delicious beer and food.

Tickets are $20 for Net Impact members and $30 for non-members, and include:

  • One draft beer & light fare (including classic & veggie sliders).
  • An exclusive tour of the Bluejacket brewery.
  • The chance to meet “Beer Activist” Chris O’Brien, an expert on environmentally sustainable brewing practices and American University’s Director of Sustainability.

Net Impact is is a global community of over 300 chapters and more than 40,000 student and professional leaders working within and beyond business to tackle the world’s toughest problems. The DC Net Impact (DCNI) professional chapter works to inspire, educate, and equip professionals to use the power of business to make the vision of a more socially and environmentally responsible world a reality.

Space is limited and this event will sell out, so get your ticket today!

The Green Festival Comes to DC

The Green Festival, Washington DC, Sept 21-22 2013

The Green Festival, the nation’s largest environmental consumer event, returns to Washington DC on September 21-22, 2013.

Featuring hundreds of eco-friendly businesses, the Green Festival marketplace is a great resource for seeking out new and innovative green products.

The Green Festival features influential speakers such as Amy Goodman, Award-winning investigative journalist; founder and host of Democracy Now!; Bernadine Prince, Co-founder and Co-Executive Director of FRESHFARM Markets; David Feldman,  Executive Director of Bethesda Green; Seth Goldman, President and TeaEO of Honest Tea;  Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch; Todd Larsen, Corporate Responsibility Director for Green America; and many others.

The weekend-long show also features:

  • An organic beer and wine pavilion.
  • Live cooking demos featuring delicious vegetarian cuisine.
  • A yoga pavilion.
  • A dedicated kids’ area for learning about easy and fun ways to incorporate green at a young age.

Rounding out the offerings are informative workshops that are designed to empower and educate the public on living an eco-friendly life.

In addition, attendees will be able to participate in the Community Green Grant sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Green Festivals. A grant of $5,000 will be awarded to the proposed project that receives the most votes.

Tickets are $10 for a one day pass and $20 for a full weekend pass when purchased online atwww.greenfestivals.org, or $15 and $25 at the door. Free admission for anyone who rides a bike to the event and parks with the Clif Bar Bike Valet, youth under 18, volunteers and Green America and Global Exchange members. (All tickets provide access to exhibit floor, all workshops/yoga classes, speakers and films.)

Want FREE tickets? Use this link: http://www.greenfestivals.org/dctickets13 and code DCGFHOST13 to redeem a free weekend pass.

One Bar, One Meal, One Child

Going Green DC chatted with Veneka Chagwedera from Nouri Bars to learn a little about what inspired this local startup, how Nouri bars are helping fight hunger around the world, and what kinds of environmentally friendly business practices Team Nouri employs at the office.

A Nouri Bar
1. Tell us a little about how you got started with Nouri Bars. What was the inspiration behind the company?

The inspiration for the bars straight from our kitchen. Jared and I were experimenting with raw food and healthy ways to make great tasting snacks to carry with us on hikes. We created the bars and found they were not only healthy but delicious and super satisfying. In fact, the Creamy Cashew bar we sell is still based on that original recipe!

It’s a common belief that the best tasting food isn’t healthy for us, and that healthy food doesn’t taste good. Nouri solves this problem by bringing you a delicious snack bar that is both nourishing and delicious – no added chemicals or preservatives. Just good, wholesome, farm-grown ingredients like nuts, dates, cinnamon, cacao and love.

The inspiration for the social mission comes from our own stories. I grew up in Zimbabwe and witnessed the poverty and education challenges of children in developing countries. As two recent college graduates, we felt that we could make a difference. Nouri’s social mission enables us to become changemakers — empowering children around the world to pursue education and escape the cycle of poverty.

2.      What kind of impact has your program had so far on helping to feed the hungry?

We work with Stepping Stones International (SSI) located in Gaborone, Botswana. We have helped to provide over 15,000 meals thus far. By the end of 2014, we plan to expand our school feeding program to reach children in Guatemala, Haiti, India and the US.

3.      Do you only work abroad or are you involved in helping to feed hungry children in the U.S?nouri2

Hunger and malnourishment is not just a foreign issue, and it happens all too often in our own backyard. We are working to expand our partnerships to schools here in the U.S.  We plan to roll out our domestic U.S. partnerships by early 2014, but in the meantime our team members have been having an impact in their local communities by serving in local food pantry’s and soup kitchens. Our bars aren’t the only thing about Nouri that’s helping feed the hungry; our team members are too. And that’s something we’re proud of.

4.      What flavors do you offer, which are your favorite and which are most popular?

We have three delicious flavors: Creamy Chocolate Cashew, Cinnamon Apple Spice and Peanut Butter and Cherry. My favorite is the creamy cashew. Jared’s favorite is the peanut butter and wild cherry, because it reminds him of his childhood favorite of PB&J, but with a twist. Our most popular bar is definitely the creamy cashew tied with the peanut butter and wild cherry.

5.      Can you tell me a little about what’s in the bars and their nutritional information? Are any ingredients sourced locally?

The bars are made from simple and wholesome ingredients such as  organic fruit, chocolate, nuts, and seeds, and all the ingredients are sourced from farmers in the U.S.

6.      Would you consider Nouri a sustainable business?

Absolutely! We firmly believe in the Kaizen philosophy which states that little changes and improvement over time lead to a much stronger and sustainable change which is what we are trying to do with Nouri. We are trying to fundamentally change the way that people interact with their food by changing their perceptions on what healthy food can taste like as well as how their food purchases may affect others. It is this philosophy which is ingrained into each bar such that it is driven by sales rather than an afterthought.

7.      What kinds of environmentally friendly business practices to do you employ?

We are big fans of recycling and run an almost paper-less office. We work with stores to send our invoices and materials electronically. We also work with suppliers who use environmentally friendly wrappers and packages for our products.

8.      How can schools get involved with your program?

Schools in the USA can get involved in three key ways:

  • Teaching children about the issue of hunger in developing countries is an excellent way to raise their global awareness and also helps them appreciate the everyday things they enjoy  – like food!
  • Get involved  in selling Nouri bars in school cafeterias and use the funds raised by the school to give to another school in a developing community.
  • Schools can let us know if they would like us to come and give a talk or spend a day with their students. We love working with children and are happy to make the trips to their area to help raise awareness about the importance of community service and giving back.

9.      How can individuals help or get involved in helping to feed the hungry?

Our short term goals are to bring delicious bars to communities around the U.S. We are always looking for new stores, coffee shops, offices, and yoga studios to carry our bars.  However, it is important to note that hunger is not just an international issue, but happens in our own country as well. It is important for individuals to work within their communities to help those who are less fortunate; volunteer at a homeless shelter, donate cans of food to a food bank or just spend a little bit of your time helping out at your local soup kitchen. Little improvements make a big difference.

10.   Is there anything else you would like to add? Please feel free to share additional information or details about the company and your mission.

Looking back after five years we hope to have provided meals in school, and by extension an education, to over 10 million of the poorest children worldwide. There is no telling how far these millions of kids will change through the power of overcoming hunger and gaining an education. Through Nouri, we hope to leave a legacy that will be a social movement among a generation and fundamentally transform how we interact with our food purchases as well as our concept of good tasting healthy food.

Adventures in Composting: Let The Fun Begin

Adventures in Composting is a regular series written by Jason Silverman, a composting newbie and blogging enthusiast.

I’ve been “composting” yard waste in plastic bags around the yard, putting off getting a composter. I didn’t know which one to get. They’re mostly ugly things. I figured it wouldn’t work anyway; I’d just wind up with rotting watermelon rinds in a rain barrel. Also, they’re kind of expensive.

But the other day I was feeling flush and confident, and also my wife was asking me why I was keeping all those plastic bags of grass and twigs scattered about the property.  And I got tired of shelling out money for bags of soil amendments that I’d need to shlep back from the garden center and forget about.

So I ordered a fine-looking composter with a snazzy Japanese name that surely means it’s well-designed and efficient. It also has a spigot for compost tea, which I hope tastes as good as it sounds. And it has a nice little trap door at the bottom for taking out what I hope is actually compost and not just plain month-old garbage.

Here’s a photo. I hope it composts as good as it looks.

Kyoto Composter

Gardens, Gleaning, and Feeding the Hungry

Guest blog post by Jason Silverman

A Plot Against Hunger gardenWalk past the corner of Barton and 10th Street in Arlington, VA and you’ll see an assortment of vegetables growing just outside the fence of a sprawling community garden. These vegetables are part of an area-wide program called Plot Against Hunger, which gathers fresh produce from area farmers, farmer’s markets, and private and community gardens to help feed the area’s hungry.

Inspiration for the idea came to Lisa Crye when she saw the approach a church in California took to feeding the hungry: sell produce from members’ gardens and donate the proceeds to a local food pantry.  At around the same time, the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) was looking for a way to offer more fresh vegetables to the approximately 1,400 needy families it serves in the County.  So in a brainstorming session in 2007, Crye and Puwen Lee, AFAC’s volunteer service coordinator, hatched a plan that would grow into AFAC’s Plot Against Hunger program.

Plot Against Hunger now provides AFAC with fresh produce from area farmers, farmer’s markets, and private and community gardens.  In its first year, it contributed 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to AFAC’s warehouses.  Since then, the number has grown dramatically, with Crye estimating that all the sources combined have yielded 200,000 pounds of produce each year.

The program’s largest source of produce comes from harvesting excess vegetables from commercial farms in the area, a practice called “gleaning.”  Plot Against Hunger coordinates gleaning events through the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network (MAGNET), which has relationships with area farms. The organization also gleans excess produce from the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland.

Its second-largest source is unsold produce donated by vendors after the weekly Crystal City, Courthouse, and Columbia Pike farmer’s markets that otherwise might go to waste.

Plot Against Hunger also receives donations of vegetables grown in gardens across Arlington. Many county community gardens, such as the one at Barton and North 10th St. have plots dedicated to AFAC, as do gardens at faith-based institutions, schools, and private residences.

Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability

But Plot Against Hunger does more than provide fresh produce to AFAC and, in turn, to the tables of its clients. It also educates Arlington residents on how they can grow their own vegetables.  The food-producing garden at Arlington Central Library, for example, employs techniques that can be used to grow food in a wide range of conditions, such as raised beds, square-foot gardening (using small, densely-planted plots), and roof gardening. The garden at Clarendon Presbyterian Church employs straw-bale gardening, and alone yielded 125 pounds of produce for AFAC last year.

Plot Against Hunger also has a school program.  Several area elementary schools have gardens that contribute to AFAC while also giving students a hands-on learning experience in gardening.  In Crye’s experience, kids who have been exposed to gardening and seen vegetables being grown are more likely to, well, eat their vegetables.  Crye reported an anecdote of a child with a long history of broccoli-hating being mesmerized by an actual broccoli plant.

AFAC and Plot Against Hunger don’t get to choose what vegetables are gleaned or donated. But AFAC operates on a “choice model” – its clients can select the food they wish to receive.  Foods grown through local gardens or commercial farms don’t always line up completely with the food preferences of AFAC’s clients, who hail from a wide variety of backgrounds.  So what to do when trying to place Swiss Chard, or blue hubbard squash – a massive, grayish relative of the pumpkin – with families who have no idea what to do with them? AFAC teaches its clients about these vegetables and how they can be prepared.  Twice a week, AFAC holds cooking demonstrations and offers samples to clients.

Want to get involved? AFAC and Plot Against Hunger are always looking for more volunteers, so whether you’re interested in gleaning, growing, cooking, or just donating produce, you can learn more here.

DC’s Independent Food Scene: A Work in Progress

Freshly baked artisan bread Mark Furstenberg caused quite a stir this week in his Washington Post article “What’s missing from D.C.’s food scene? A lot.” He writes: “I do not believe that we have the elements of a really wonderful food culture.” He paints DC as a hapless wannabe nipping at the heels of established foodie meccas like New Orleans and San Francisco. The results of an “unscientific survey of Washington Post readers” (whatever that means) support his assertion, with 64% saying that “no,” DC is not a great food city.

I agree with Furstenberg that we never really developed a food identity. We don’t have the vibrant food traditions of Chicago’s Greektown or LA’s Koreatown, nor do we have the long-standing local food movement of San Francisco, the BBQ of Kansas City, or the crab cakes of Baltimore.

But the problem with the piece is that it’s all about what we don’t have, rather than what we do. It’s a glass half empty critique of a city that is still finding its food identity. I’ve also been here many years–and I’m excited about where we are going.

Ten years ago, you couldn’t find a good slice of pizza in this town except maybe from Vace. Now there’s Pete’s Apizza, Two Amy’s, District of Pi and countless others.

Great bread? In the past, I’d have said forget about it. Now we have Leonora Bakery and Lyon Bakery.  Beer?  Three independent breweries have recently opened in DC alone, as has Port City in Alexandria.  Every day, I learn about another local food venture that is making the culinary landscape here more interesting. From Union Market to smaller restaurants like the Green Pig and the Red Hen, the movement here is taking shape.

Yes, the ubiquity of chains like Au Bon Pain and Chipotle is depressing, though hardly unique to D.C.  We need to do more as a city to support small markets and independent cafes and restaurants. But the way to do this isn’t by bashing DC, as so many have done in the past. We may never be able to compare to New York, LA, Chicago or San Francisco. We are a fraction of their size and will first and foremost be a government town.

But we can grow into a place with a proud local food community—one that supports independent purveyors like Smucker FarmsGordy’s Pickle Jar, MOM’s Organic Market, and Souper Girl. I do believe we have the elements of a wonderful food culture; we certainly have the appetite. Just take a stroll around Logan Circle, Clarendon, Del Ray, Columbia Heights or Silver Spring. The only question now is whether developers, landlords, and investors are willing to work together with independent businesses to make it flourish.

Editor’s Note: Shortly after writing this piece, we came across an article by City Paper’s Jessica Sidman, which is a terrific read in support of DC’s food scene

Green Theater Takes Shape

Guest blog post by Claire Mauro

CityDance Conservatory Dancer

“Brutal Beauty” Choreographed by Christopher K Morgan and Artists, Pictured: CityDance Conservatory Dancer, Photo by: Brianne Bland

Sustainable practices and dance are taking center stage at the CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore. The 125-seat, state-of-the-art eco-friendly black box theater uses the latest in sustainable technology including solar energy, LED lighting, and electronic retractable riser seating with sustainable textiles. All of these components help increase the theater’s environmental, economic and energy efficiency.

The goal for the solar design is to have all the theatrical elements “off the grid” – the solar energy produced by the panels will provide enough power to run the theater, as well as be able to provide solar offset for the energy used by the education wing.

In addition, the theater uses non-VOC paint, non-PBDEs soft-goods for the theater masking, and developed a policy for purchasing the most eco-friendly and sustainable consumables and materials, such as costumes, cleaners, and floor tape.

“CityDance is constantly thinking of ways to give back to the community by providing transformative experiences that are both artistically meaningful and educational for audiences,” said Alexe Nowakowski, CityDance executive director. “The green theater further fulfills this goal by prompting conversation and providing a new type of educational opportunity for patrons.”

CityDance is currently partnering with Power2Give to raise money for a new sound system for this “Green Theater.”

***
Founded in 1996, CityDance produces and presents professional dance at venues across the DC metropolitan area; trains young dancers for professional careers; and provides free dance education programs for thousands of students each year.

Union Station Hosts Earth Month

Cherry Blossoms in front of Union Station

Union Station Celebrates Earth Month

Union Station is hosting Earth Month 2013, scheduled for April 1 through April 30. Presented by Earth Day Network and the Premier Tourist and Landmark Association, the month-long event will feature interactive, eco-friendly experiences throughout Union Station designed to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage sustainability.

“Our commitment to the environment must extend far beyond one day,” said Kathleen Rogers, president  of Earth Day Network. “That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with Union Station to devote an entire month  to sustainability and green responsibility. Hosting the series of events over the entire month in one of the  most iconic venues in our nation’s capital allows us to engage more exhibitors and educate more people.”

Earth Month 2013 represents a significant expansion of prior Earth Day festivities held annually on Washington’s National Mall. In addition to the scheduled events, exhibitors from across the country will be on hand to highlight their own green initiatives, programs and events.  Most events are free and open to the public. Here’s the schedule:

April 1-14 – Cherry Blossom Festival Events
April 1 – Opening of the NASA Hyperwall and Image Gallery
April 6 – STEM Fair for DC Students, Grades 6 – 12, NASA Astronaut Visits
April 15–23 – Verizon Wireless Earth Fair – East Hall
April 17 – District Department Of Environment Fair – East Hall
April 17 – 18 – Earth Month Film Festival – Columbus Club (see film schedule below)
April 18 – District Department Of Environment Fashion Show – East Hall
April 22 – NASA Earth image gallery Exhibit and hands-on demos – Main Hall
April 19 and 22 – Farmers Market – West Carriage Porch
April 22 – Earth Day! Earth Day Network Events and Entertainment – Main Hall and East Hall
April 23 – Amtrak Sustainability Fair – East Hall

 

Washington Marriott Celebrates Award with Green Tea Time

Many hotels are trying to be more environmentally friendly, but The Washington Marriott at Metro Center has gone the extra mile. The hotel was recently honored for its efforts with the  Mayor’s 2010 Environmental Excellence Award for “Outstanding Achievement by a Hotel.”

The hotel is one of nine District businesses and non profit organizations recognized for their environmental stewardship, innovative best practices, pollution prevention, and resource conservation.

The hotel saved 745,685 kWh in electricity in 2009 from the previous  year with the implementation of energy efficient lighting with programmable and dimmable automation as well as utilization of the Energy Management System controlling the heating/cooling and lighting of its banquet space. It also will save an estimated 600,000 gallons of water a year by converting all restroom urinals to water-free. Other accomplishments include:

  • Recycled wood flooring and linen-less dining tables in the Fire & Sage restaurant.
  • Energy-efficient bulbs used for all lighting.
  • Low-flow showerheads and toilets in guest bathrooms.
  • A water/energy saving linen program that  includes both bedding and towels.
  • Guestroom keys made from 50% recycled materials.

To celebrate the award, Washington Marriott at Metro Center will host a complimentary “Green Tea Time,” complete with iced green tea and Executive Chef Aaron Tootill’s freshly baked organic cookies and snacks, in its lobby every afternoon throughout the month of August.

“Saving Seeds” Bridges the Gap Between Generations of Gardener

Guest post by Carolyn Szczepanski

The demand for fresh, local food has put a premium on community garden space in all corners of the District.

Young people are reconnecting with their food sources, urban planners are preaching the gospel of green space and families are eager to prepare dinner with organic produce they’ve nurtured from seed.

But it takes more than dirt and desire to make a garden grow.

Cultivating that perfect heirloom tomato or harvesting a bumper crop of crisp greens requires one key ingredient: knowledge. In 2008, the Neighborhood Farm Initiative sprouted to fill that void for DC growers.

“While there’s plenty of great gardening books and online resources, NFI was started as a hands-on, educational center to really walk total newbie gardeners step-by-step through their first growing season,” says Liz Whitehurst, NFI’s volunteer coordinator.

And NFI is wise beyond its years. The community garden movement isn’t a new phenomenon, Whitehurst points out. The current trend is just the latest page in a much longer history — one that started with Victory Gardens after World War II.

“While recent initiatives have brought more media attention to people growing their own food in Washington DC right now, several dozen community gardens have existed here since the mid-1970s,” Whitehurst says. “We work alongside several community gardeners who have been cultivating their plots since before we were born, and we recognize that people in our generation didn’t invent the idea of eating homegrown food.”

So it’s fitting that NFI’s fundraiser next week bridges the gap between generations.

On Thursday, NFI hosts Saving Seeds: A Night of Food, Film and Conversation on Urban Gardening Through the Generations. The $25 ticket price — which benefits the nonprofit — includes local, seasonal hors d’oeuvres, an open wine bar, and a cinematic double-header.

The first film screening, Corner Plot, is an intimate and heart-warming window into the life of 89-year-old Charlie Koiner, who’s been gardening his one-acre plot inside the Beltway for decades. The second movie short follows Teen Green, a summer program NFI launched in 2010 to educate local youth about urban farming, from seed to sale.

“When we first saw Corner Plot, we were struck by the difference between Charlie Koiner’s way of life and the lifestyles of the teens we work with every day,” Whitehurst says. “But as we thought more about it, we began to see some powerful connections, and we wanted to give others the opportunity to make their own.”

Those organic connections will be fleshed out after the films, during a Q&A including Corner Plot filmmaker Ian Cook, Koiner’s daughter and several teens from NFI’s summer program.

“Education is at the core of our mission,” Whitehurst says. “We want to teach people to grow vegetables in the city, and we want to connect people to serve as resources to each other.”

Happy Hour Encourages Women to Bike and Be Greener

photo courtesy Revolution Cycles

Guest post by Carolyn Szczepanski

Bicycling is a boys’ club.

There’s no women’s bracket of the Tour de France and it’s a rare sports fan that can name a single female racer.

Here in the U.S., men are twice as likely to ride a bike than their female counterparts and, in DC, barely a third of cycling commuters are ladies. So it’s not surprising that bicycle shops ooze testosterone.

That’s why Revolution Cycles, a local retailer, is using a laid-back happy hour to make biking more welcoming to women.

Katie Knight isn’t just the general manager at Revolution Cycles’ Georgetown location, she’s also an evangelist for its upcoming “Ladies Night” events. At her store, plenty of women work the floor and run the business, but Knight still feels the boys’ club stigma. “Women in particular tend to be a little intimidated,” she says of the bike shop.

That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in cycling. Riding a bike is one of the best ways to both reduce your carbon footprint (33 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 came from transportation) and shrink your waistline (more than 22 percent of DC residents are classified as obese). The reason many women don’t commute or recreate on two wheels is simple: They don’t feel comfortable on a bicycle.

Ladies Night aims to change that with a relaxed atmosphere, women-led discussion and, yes, a few glasses of wine. The female-focused event will be hosted at each of the retailers’ five locations, starting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Rockville and wrapping up August 12 at the Georgetown location.

At each Ladies Night, women get the basics about buying a bike that caters to female-specific anatomy and tips about what to wear, where to ride, and how to stay safe. But the evening isn’t meant to be a one-way street. Ladies Night is only successful, Knight says, when the lecture is simply a short prelude to mixing, mingling, and meeting other bicycle-curious women.

“The point is really informing women, and connecting them to each other as a community of riders,” Knight says.

And, listen up guys, because research shows that everybody benefits when women start pedaling. “There’s this correlation that when women get on bikes, the community becomes more cycling friendly and cycling aware,” Knight adds. “It’s better for the bike community overall when women get on bikes.”

Event: Pepco’s Appliance Swap

Fridge on the fritz? Air conditioner gone AWOL? Maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Bring your old, inefficient, energy-sucking appliance to Pepco’s 2010 D.C. Appliance Swap on Saturday 7/24 from 10 am to 2 pm at The Home Depot at 901 Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast DC.

At the event, you can drop off appliances for recycling at no charge and pick up applications for rebates on certain ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.

During the event, Pepco will also announce the winners of its $5,000 ENERGY STAR Appliance Rebate Sweepstakes. Five D.C. customers will receive $1,000 gift cards to The Home Depot to be put towards the purchase of new, more efficient appliances.

The event will also feature live entertainment, refreshments, interactive displays on energy conservation, and family-friendly activities. Several D.C. government agencies, including the D.C. Department of the Environment, the District Public Service Commission, and the D.C. Office of People’s Counsel also will be on-hand.

The Eco-Forum Comes to DC

Tired of “Green Networking Events” that are more about socializing and job hunting than truly connecting with other eco leaders? So were the folks over at Go Green Expo, so they have started organizing regional networking groups that focus on bringing together executives from the sustainability world in a more intimate setting.

With a focus on building relationships and education, the eco-forum is an opportunity for innovative thought leaders, business entrepreneurs, and senior executives from all disciplines in the green space to mingle and learn from each other.

The first DC event takes place at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar on Tuesday July 27th at 6 pm.

Keynote speakers include Christophe Tulou, Director of the District Department of the Environment and Jeff Blankman, Sustainable Manufacturing Manager for McCormick & Company.

Complimentary gourmet and organic passed hors d’oeuvres will be served for all three hours, along with organic signature cocktails courtesy of Philadelphia Distiller and Parducci organic wine.


Apply to attend today (please put “grassfed media” in the “how did you hear about us field”). Cost is $75 and admission is based on corporate affiliation and is only granted to director and C-Level executives, business owners, CSR executives, sustainability executives, and non-profit leaders.

Eco-Forum Regional Founding Members:

Keith Anderson, Head of the D.C. Energy Office
Christopher O’Brien, Director of the Office of Sustainability for George Washington University
Megan Chapple-Brown, Director of the Office of Sustainability for American University
Christophe Tulou, Director of the District Department of the Environment
Charles Dean Connor, President & CEO, American Lung Association
Sacha Cohen, Principal & Founder, grassfed media llc
Eli Hengst, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar
Jeff Blankman, Sustainable Manufacturing Manager for McCormick & Company
Jared Rager, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar