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Think New Yorkers can’t lead sustainable lives?

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Washington Square News
Green festival flourishes despite rain
April 25, 2010
by Samantha Wilson

Think New Yorkers can’t lead sustainable lives? The New York Restoration Project believes you should think again.

The organization held NYC Grows, a green festival promoting sustainability, gardening and organic cooking, in Union Square Park yesterday.

The festival, presented by Organic Gardening Magazine, aimed to demonstrate to visitors how to lead better, more sustainable lives despite living in an urban area like New York City.

At the free event, visitors willing to brave the rain and head to Union Square could sample organic goodies from companies like Whole Foods and Ciao Bella and be entertained by performances from TC and The Bloodline, Jason Myles Goss and Amy Crawford, among other bands.

Jenn Nelkin of Gotham Greens was happy to have a forum to share her organization’s message with the community.

“We’re starting to build a commercial scale hydroponic rooftop greenhouse in Greenpoint,” Nelkin said. “Our produce will be available in Whole Foods, all locally grown in New York City. You hear a lot of booths here today talking about urban farming, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Nelkin said visiting the festival was a great way for anyone to get the resources necessary for starting a more sustainable lifestyle, including gardening tools and, more importantly, information.

Others, like Jediah Cirigliano, the vice president of national sales for Ella Vickers, participated in the event to showcase their green products. Cirigliano showcased the company’s purses and bags that it manufactures out of recycled sailcloth.

“The sails are locally harvested and processed from the New England area,” Cirigliano said. “It’s a small carbon footprint. If you know anyone who has sails, we trade bags for sailcloth because it has become a commodity. And that’s a way that students can get involved and give back — keep your eye out for us.”

NYRP was founded by Bette Midler in 1995 as a response to the increase of garbage and pollution littering the streets of New York City. NYRP restores and revitalizes parks and community gardens throughout the five boroughs and educates community members on the importance of creating a sustainable environment in the city.

“We designed the event to capture the interest of everyone in the neighborhood,” said Kristin Dougherty, the chief development officer for NYRP. “NYU, as part of this community, has the chance to help out. If everyone just makes one change in their daily life about being green, then collectively that would have a significant impact on the city, be it volunteering to plant a tree, shutting off light bulbs … It will all add up.”

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