A Tree Grows in DC

Trees help improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, and can increase property value while lowering your utility bills. That’s why the District Department of the Environment is partnering with Casey Trees to help homeowners plant trees in their yards this coming spring for only $50.

A list of 10-12 tree species chosen for their environmental benefits will be available in January. Trees will range in size from small to large and include both deciduous and evergreen trees. If a homeowner decides to plant a tree that is not included on the RiverSmart Homes list of approved trees, they may choose to apply for the Casey Trees rebate.

In addition to shade trees, homeowners interested in reducing stormwater runoff from their properties can receive up to $1,200 in landscaping services for rain barrels, pervious pavers, rain gardens and BayScaping through the RiverSmart Homes program.

Ready to get started? Fill out this form and in the spring, a representative of Casey Trees will visit individual homeowners to determine the most appropriate trees and locations for planting in each yard.

Green Events: December

Still feeling the sour aftertaste of 2009? Get into the holiday spirit with these three fun eco-fab events.

Monday December 7th

Kickoff to Copenhagen 2009 Holiday Mixer

Join the DC Green Connection and CarbonfreeDC for the “Kickoff to Copenhagen” holiday mixer. Learn about what’s going on at the Copenhagen Climate Change discussions from climate policy expert Will Gartshore, enjoy Restaurant 1905’s  cocktails and food samples, and network with other greenminded Washingtonians.

There will also be a small silent auction with proceeds going to support CarbonfreeDC’s efforts to green low-income neighborhoods as well as to promote the DCGC mission of educating consumers and growing the green economy.

When:  December 7, 2009, 6:00-9:0o pm
Where: 1905 9th St. NW, upstairs (*Near U St. Cardoza Metro stop on 9th & U)
Tickets: $15 General, $12 DCGC Members. Includes one free drink, appetizers, and drink specials all evening. (Cash/check at the door)
RSVP: dcgreenconnection@gmail.com

Tuesday December 8th

Green Drinks

The monthly gathering is back–this time at Farmers & Fishers. Adrienne Spahr, Founder of Green Living Consulting will offering green holiday tips.

When: Tuesday, December 8th, 6:30-9:30 pm
Where: Farmers & Fishers (formerly Agraria) on the Georgetown Waterfront (Fountain Level), 3000 K St. NW
RSVP: Green Drinks on Facebook

Tuesday December 15th

DC EcoWomen Holiday Party

Join the DC EcoWomen (and men, this time) for a happy hour and networking event. Enjoy light appetizers and a cash bar at one of DC’s leading sustainable restaurants, Farmers & Fishers.

When: Tuesday, December 15th, 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: Farmers & Fishers (formerly Agraria) on the Georgetown Waterfront, 3000 K St. NW (in the Sunflower Room)
RSVP: Strongly encouraged through the group’s Facebook Event Page. If you’re not a Facebook member, RSVP to rsvp@ecowomen.org.

Grow Your Own

This post was written by Going Green DC contributing writer Alison Drucker.

Sometimes city life can leave you aching for fresh air – and fresh dirt. Not that grimy, stuck-to-the-bottom-of-your-shoe city dirt, but clean-smelling, produce-cultivating countryside dirt.

Get your hands dirty at Clagett Farm, a sustainable vegetable farm in Upper Marlboro, MD, owned and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Any able-bodied person can sign up to volunteer picking produce on the farm on Tuesdays through Saturdays. At least four hours of labor will get you the same full weekly share of fresh, local vegetables that a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member receives.

The workshare is perfect for anyone who isn’t ready to commit to an entire season’s worth of harvest through a CSA membership, or who just wants to go learn about sustainable farming on a beautiful fall morning. Clagett Farm isn’t certified organic, but follows organic standards and doesn’t use genetically modified seeds.

In addition to doing good for the planet, the farm does good for the community. Almost half of Clagett Farm’s produce is distributed free or at a reduced cost to low-income DC communities in cooperation with the Capital Area Food Bank, expanding access to the fresh, healthy foods we all need in our diets.

Visit the Clagett Farm Web site to learn about participating in a workshare. Saturday workshares require calling ahead to sign up. Call 301.537.3038 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. a couple of days before the Saturday you want to work.

There’s still time to volunteer this season – September, October, and November bring broccoli, kale, cabbage, butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, salad greens, carrots, turnips, collards, chard, spinach, and more.

If you’re adventurous in the kitchen and willing to explore new recipes as different fruits and vegetables are in season, purchase a 2010 CSA membership. Email clagettfarm@cbf.org to be notified when shares are available, and join the farm to get weekly batches of the season’s harvest.

Connecting Farms to Schools

IMG_0264This post was written by contributing writer Andrea Northup.

Imagine the following scenario:

Jenny is one of many schoolchildren in DC who receives free or subsidized meals at school every day.  One day, she finds a fresh, juicy slice of watermelon grown on a farm in Maryland on her cafeteria tray.  She meets the farmer who grew the fruit and learns about how the watermelon started as a seed, grew, and made it to her tray.  Jenny and her classmates participate in a cooking demonstration with a local chef using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

This scenario will be a reality during Local Flavor Week (September 21-25), when schools in DC will serve locally grown produce and offer educational opportunities for students, including produce tastings, cooking demonstrations, and farmer visits.

The event kicks off efforts to bring Farm to School programs to DC. The goal is to link schools with local farms in order to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, improve student nutrition, provide health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and support local small farmers.

With the start of the school year, school lunch is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Farm to School programs are popping up across the country. It’s time for DC — with the White House Garden in our midst, and farms in the surrounding region looking for stable markets – to become a leader in the Farm to School movement.

IMG_0421Local Flavor Week is organized by the DC Farm to School Network in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, the National Farm to School Network, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Whole Foods, and other community partners.

Green Your Home Expo

english gardenCurious about solar energy for your home? Want to learn about carbon offset programs? Interested in yard sharing? Then stop by the Green Your Home Expo on Saturday, September 12,  from 10 am – 2 pm at UDC’s outdoor plaza (4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW in front of building 38 and 39; Van Ness Metro stop).

Find out how to  ‘green’ your home and neighborhood, enjoy live music, a farmers’ market, and bicycle eco-tours. There will also be two hour-long panel discussions–“Act Locally” and “Think Globally”–with experts on sustainability, climate change, and residential greening. The panels begin at noon in the Windows Lounge on the 3rd floor of Building 38.

Exhibitors include CarbonFreeDC, Clean Currents, DC Greenworks, District Department of the Environment, Eco-Green Living, Green Living Consulting, Sharing Backyards, Standard Solar, Switch Renewable Energy, Zipcar, and more.