Category Archives: Eco Friendly Living

Vote Now – Help John Burroughs Garden Program Win 20K

You may remember the cute kids in the wonderful John Burroughs Garden Program, who were recently surprised by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the White House Let’s Move Program. Now the Burroughs program is competing for a $20,000 grant from Seeds of Change, and you can help them win by voting here. You can vote once per calendar day, per entry, until April 18, 2016. It is super easy, no need to register for an account or anything, just put “Burroughs” in the search box to narrow down the results and it takes two clicks. From a community message:

We don’t have a big budget for our garden, but we do have a resourceful, tireless, committed Garden Educator, Karen Davison. She works with teachers to provide STEM focused lessons, using the school garden as a lab and classroom, creating content specific activities for our Preschool through 5th graders. You can help us continue the Burroughs Garden Program by voting for us to get the Seeds of Change Grant. Please vote today and help spread the word.

John Burroughs Educational Campus is located at 1820 Monroe Street, NE. Check out the flyer below for more info.

 Burroughs

FLOTUS Visited Brookland Thursday

We were thrilled to find out that America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama visited two locations in Brookland this past Thursday (wish we would have known ahead of time!). She surprised the kids at John Burroughs Elementary School and neighbors Eriks Brolis and Linda Bilsens to promote her ongoing campaign to solve the problem of obesity within a generation. Check  out the video below:

From her Let’s Move! website:

The garden program at John Burroughs started in 2011 through a partnership with the Washington Youth Garden. It has continued to grow to include 10 raised beds for vegetable gardening, two in-ground beds for herbs and pollinator habitat, four courtyard garden beds for the Head Start scholars, as well as a newly planted fruit orchard. During the winter months, students start seeds and continue learning about healthy eating in an indoor garden classroom…While the First Lady was at John Burroughs, she joined the students in helping to prepare for their spring garden by planting cabbage seeds to start growing indoors and separating worms from the compost…For her last stop, the First Lady visited Eriks Brolis and Linda Bilsens who reside in the Brookland neighborhood of DC. Eriks and Linda started their garden in 2013 because they wanted to demonstrate how to live a lifestyle that was sustainable through growing and eating nutritious and delicious food. The garden occupies the entire backyard in the adjacent lot in addition to their own backyard, and the couple and their family maintain and use the garden all year long, helping to feed their family, relatives, and neighbors. The family also uses a compost machine to avoid any waste and ensure healthy nutrients go back into the soil in their garden. Expanding the impact of their garden into the broader community, the family also welcomes community members to their garden, even hosting workshops on various gardening topics. The family gave Mrs. Obama a tour of their garden and showed her their homemade compost sifter in action.

John Burroughs Educational Campus is located at 1820 Monroe Street, NE and neighbors Eriks Brolis and Linda Bilsens live on the 900 block of Lawrence NE.

Seed-Starting Workshop Saturday At Annie’s Ace Hardware

Flower Garden 6We thought neighbors would be interested in an indoor spring seed-starting workshop at local hardware store Annie’s Ace Hardware.  The event will take place this Saturday, March 5th at 11am. The workshop will cover the basics of all you need to garden this spring. Check out the event page here. The cost  is $10 which will be credited toward your purchase of seed starting materials. To RSVP email garden(at)annieshardware(dot)com and make sure to note which Annie’s location you are going to.  Our local Annie’s Ace Hardware is located at 3405 8th Street, NE.

Three Part Harmony – Get Involved, Support Local Farming

TomatoNearby Three Part Harmony Farm is a 2 acre farm that began in 2011. It was established by Gail Taylor, who is dedicated to producing locally grown food without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified seeds. Check out this great write up on their blog that goes into detail about how Ms. Taylor got started and how she stays inspired.

With spring approaching, you may want to consider volunteering at the farm. There is even the opportunity to exchange work for vegetables for those committed to coming on a regular basis. From the volunteer page:

We take adult volunteers during the open hours anytime during the season. Please RSVP your first time so we know to expect you…All volunteers must arrive within the first two hours of our start time and plan to work at least 2 hours at a time. For example, between May and August we start at 8 am even on Saturdays. Please do not arrive past 10 am on those days. If you wanted to earn a share, you would need to arrive by 9 am to get in three hours of work on those Saturdays.

Make sure to check out all the details on the volunteer page. Three Part Harmony Farm is located at 3102 4th Street NE (on the property of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, near 4th and Michigan Ave, NE.)

Monastery Seeks To Feed The Hungry Via Greenhouse Renovation

Did you know that Brookland’s Franciscan Monastery donated almost 6,000 pounds of fresh produce to local convents and soup kitchens in 2015?  The success of this program led the Monastery Garden Guild to partner with the DC Central Kitchen, which feeds 5,000 meals a day to Washington’s homeless. Now, they want to step up their efforts and garden year-round utilizing the Monastery’s greenhouse. Unfortunately, the greenhouse is over 100 years old and operates on 1920’s technology, so they are looking to fund raise $632,000 for a greenhouse renovation. Sounds like a great cause. Check out the video below and the fundraising page here for more information or simply donate here.

Christmas Tree Collection Details

Christmas Tree on CurbIf you are like us, your Christmas tree is looking pretty sad, crunchy and parched by now. The Department of Public Works is now picking up trees and wreaths and will re-purpose them into compost until Friday January 8th. Additional info from DPW:

  • Remove all ornaments
  • Place the greenery where you place your trash and recycling for collection, next to curb (treebox area) for collection
  • Do not put the trees in plastic or cloth bags

If you aren’t able to get your tree out by the 8th, it will be collected as regular garbage is, as space is available in trash trucks in the weeks following. If you are like us, and normally put your trash in an alley, not a tree box, I would go with the tree box in front of your house anyway. We have done that for years and tree has always been picked up.

Brookland’s “Green Wall” Project Finally Becomes Reality

Readers may remember our petition from January 2013  to bring a “green wall”  to the Pepco Substation 133 building on the 3100 block of 12th Street, NE (between Irving and Jackson). Back in April we finally got word that the project was a go. Now we are happy to report that the trellis structure along the entire 12th Street length of the Substation wall has been installed, and portions of the sidewalk have been cut out for planter beds to hold the vines. Now we just have to  wait for the vines to grow! Here are some pics:

We would like to thank the following folks who were instrumental in making this project possible:

  • Casey Trees Executive Director Mark Buscaino. Mark didn’t hesitate to represent the Brookland community to Pepco, offering his expertise and using the influence of his organization,  which added more weight to our case.
  • Donna Cooper, President of Pepco. Donna heard our request to beautify the building in early 2013 and met with us on multiple occasions. All this despite her busy schedule and obviously, much larger issues to deal with, and in the end, she approved the plan.
  • Our 300 + readers who gave us overwhelming support for this idea via our petition. This encouraged us to not give up on this plan over the years, and of course showed Pepco that DC residents pay attention to what large corporations give back to the community.
  • Joe Barrios, former ANC 5B04 Commissioner and an involved and engaged neighbor. Joe’s legal expertise and advice helped us greatly at the negotiations table.
  • Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember. Mr. McDuffie was the catalyst in the very beginning of this process. He hosted the first meeting with us, Donna Cooper and her team.
  • Mary Pat Rowan of the Greater Brookland Garden Club who  provided her expertise as a landscape architect.

The vines that were planted were Carolina Jessamine, which should look great year-round since they are evergreen and produce fragrant yellow flowers in spring. We are excited about this improvement for our community and hope that our neighbors are excited too!

Community Forklift’s Family Friendly Black Friday Alternative

community forliftOne of our favorite home improvement destinations is Community Forklift, located near Hyattsville MD. Community Forklift is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to reduce landfill waste by salvaging building materials. While it is not in Brookland, let alone DC, we thought their Black Friday and Small Business Saturday events would be of interest to readers since it’s not too far and sounds like a lot of fun! Here are some details and sure to check  out the Facebook event page for more info.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you know what that means… Community Forklift’s Green Friday and Small Business Saturday Weekend Extravaganza!

We hate Black Friday – the commercialism, the cost, and the unhappy crowds.

Lets Celebrate Community Instead!

Every year, Community Forklift adds a fresh twist to the drudgery of Black Friday and the holiday scramble by celebrating green, local, and small businesses, as well as teaching folks how to make their own unique gifts and holiday decorations.

Dates: Friday, November 27th & Saturday, November 28th
Times: 11am-4pm each day

There will be:

  • Live music both days
  • Free Gift-Making Workshops
  • Craft Area For Kids
  • Pictures With Santa
  • Local Artists selling their crafts
  • Food Trucks

Community Forklift is about a 15 minute drive to 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston MD 20781.

Three Part Harmony Farm Fall Festival This Saturday

The 3rd annual Fall Festival at Three Part Harmony Farm is happening this Saturday, October 17th from 1 – 4 pm. Check out the event page here and the tweet below for more information. There will be a pot luck meal and a community-led mural project. Three Part Harmony Farm is located at 3102 4th Street NE.