|Board of Directors|
Ruth Negron-Gaines: President
Kevin McDonald: Vice President
The Nature Conservancy
Charlotte Biblow, Esq: Secretary
Farrell Fritz, P.C.
Lauren Furst: Treasurer
Albanese Organization Inc. ---------------
Capital One Bank
Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III
SUNY College at Old Westbury
Dr. Miriam K. Deitsch
State University at Farmingdale
North Shore - LIJ Health System
Mitchell H. Pally
Long Island Builders Institute
Reading this newsletter, but not on our mailing list?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but time is running out to register for our 5th Annual Sustainability Conference! Below are some highlights of the planned program and the big news we received last week about our new keynote speaker! March 4th is ever-so-close so don't be the Long Islander left out in the cold (and we know how cold it has been lately)!
Also in this week's newsletter: a call to action, a point made on access to fresh produce, some tips on how to eat local in the winter, and an update on downtown Riverhead.
|Click here to make a secure online donation via Sustainable Long Island's brand new website!|
|New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli|
to keynote 5th Annual Sustainability Conference
Our 5th Annual Sustainability Conference has just gotten that much more exciting: New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will keynote the event prior to Woody Tasch, President of Slow Money.
"The Rally for Resources" will be held on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage, NY, and will focus on discovering where your community can find funding opportunities for local projects and plans. You will have the chance to find out who's moving beyond the talk toward implementation and finally "getting it done."
Find out more about the days program below or click here to register!
|Five years of Sustainability Conferences...|
What's in store for March 4th?
Nassau Community Bus Tour: Limited Space Available
Get an inside look at assets and opportunity for positive change within a Nassau County Community. Reserve your spot when registering as spots are on a first come, first serve basis. Planned from 7:30am - 9:00am before the day's program begins.
Opening Plenary: Keynote Speakers Tom DiNapoli and Woody Tasch
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has transformed the way his office does business, instilling reforms to make government more effective, efficient and ethical. He has pushed for increased transparency and accountability in government, and identified billions of dollars in waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement.
Woody Tasch is Chairman and President of Slow Money, a 501 c 3 formed in 2008 to catalyze the flow of investment capital to small food enterprises and promote new principles of fiduciary responsibility that support sustainable agriculture and the emergence of a restorative economy. Slow Money was voted one of the top ideas for CHANGE in America by change.org
Following the keynote, a panel of Long Islanders will respond to Woody Tasch's remarks, discussing how Slow Money would work on Long Island. Panelists will discuss how this concept can be applied to Long Island and the potential impact it could have.
|Who will be speaking at this year's conference? Click to find out!|
Interactive Workshops: Choose one of five when registering
This panel will discuss local and regional-scale food projects that improve access to fresh, healthy food and spur community and economic development. Panelists will explore case studies and how to harness public and private investment to launch community food programs across Long Island.
Learn how to cut through the red tape in this workshop, as panelists will explore potential or proposed implementation projects. Discuss how to get projects completed, including various financing options such as bonding, tax increment financing, state revolving loan fund, utility taxes, as well as pending federal funding and possible new innovative mechanisms.
Abandoned and underutilized properties are abundant on Long Island and key to economic recovery is in redevelopment. This workshop will focus on brownfield redevelopment as an economic development tool. Panelists will discuss specific projects, the opportunities and challenges they face on the projects, as well as provide guidance on how to leverage federal, state, and local funding for such projects.
Open Space Preservation & Redevelopment
This workshop will focus on implementing and funding open space preservation and redevelopment projects. Panelists will discuss how to spur economic development and strengthen downtowns by redeveloping underutilized vacant land. There will also be a discussion on how to protect natural assets/resources by preserving said space and how to leverage funds to implement these types of projects
Project Mentoring Session
Mini mentoring meetings will allow for community representatives to seek advice on how to get projects off the ground and where to find funding. Participants will have a brief opportunity to meet with community, business, and local elected leaders who have been successful in securing funding for, and launching, implementation projects.
Sustainable Samplings Luncheon:
A fan favorite where attendees enjoy a taste of signature dishes from Long Island's leading restaurants including:
American Classic Ice Cream
Ayhan's Shish Kebab
Bagel & Deli Creations
Bonnie Michelle Catering
Carlyle on the Green
The Melting Pot
The Nature Conservancy
Page One Restaurant
Two Steak & Sushi Den
If you restaurant would like to participate, please contact Katie Kelly at 516-873-0230 today!
The "Getting It Done" Awards
The "Getting It Done" Awards will honor those who moved beyond the talk toward implementation. We will be highlighting individuals and groups who identified a community need and have taken a project from an early concept to a successful completion. These honorees have brought together local communities and municipalities to advance their project from paper to progress!
We also will have the Hall of Sustainable Exhibitors with vendors of numerous Long Island Green businesses showcasing their products and services. Plenty of sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available and we hope you can take advantage of these exciting offers: Click here to become a sponsor, vendor, or advertiser!
|We are the VOICE of Long Island
Below is Sustainable Long Island's column in this month's issue of Anton Community Newspapers calling for all Long Islanders to take action and let their voice be heard:
It's 2011 - by now you have had to figure out that when living on Long Island you have to be loud. Sometimes the loudness will come from yelling over the honking horns and traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Sometimes the loudness will come from singing along with the national anthem at a Long Island Ducks or New York Islanders game. Sometimes the loudness will come from shouting your order of fruit and vegetables at a local farmers market that's bustling with hundreds of Long Islanders.
Regardless of the reason, on Long Island you need to be loud for your voice to be heard, in more ways than one. There are so many issues and topics that Long Islanders care so deeply about and so many ways that they want to express themselves. They care about their communities, what's available, and what's being built within walking distance. They care about their parks, beaches, and being able to enjoy the outdoors on a sunny day. They care about their town, land, properties, and the need for cleaning up any contaminated sites that may cause others to turn away. They care about their home, housing, and being able to afford a place to settle down in. They care about their schools and the education their children will receive while growing up on the Island. They care about food, having a choice in what they buy and an option in what they eat. Long Islander's care about all these issues, plus hundreds more, and at the end of the day, they want to be taken note of.
However, as loud as they scream and as noisy as they become, it's still a challenge for Long Islanders voices to be heard, let alone listened to. Through the clutter of government and civic associations, elected officials and government departments, high profiles leaders and news organizations, the opinion of the average Long Islander may be overlooked.
These louder voices always seem to tell us what we want, where, why, and when we want it, and for the most part, we listen. You see them on television, read about it in the papers, listen to it on the radio, but when does it get to the point where instead of being told what you want, you finally say "enough!" When will you get loud, let your voice be heard and proclaim what you want for yourself?
That means you: mother of two, sending her kids off to school, worrying about what classes are being taught and what services the school can afford to offer.
That means you: recent college graduate, commuting all over Long Island, battling traffic woes and vehicle congestion.
That means you: happy newlyweds, searching for a community that's vibrant, safe, and revitalized, to settle down in.
That means you: hungry locavore, with an appetite for something fresh and healthy, but whose choices remain limited to burgers, fries, and pizza.
That means you: homeowner, who doesn't want their beautiful community where they grew up to be scared by an empty lot, abandoned building, or unattractive brownfield.
That means you, all of you, all of us! We need to rise up and let our voice be heard!
If we have to shout from the top of Bald Hill in Farmingville; if we have to howl through the woodlands in the Massapequa Preserve; even if we have to scream over the estuary that is the Long Island Sound to get our voice noticed, then that is just what we will have to do.
So in 2011, get out there Long Island - march, rally, petition; send letters, start groups, call meetings; join memberships, support organizations, become advocates; do whatever is necessary because it is your voice that should be the loudest and your voice that matters most.
|Access to fresh produce isn't easy
Clara Gillens-Eromosele, a community partner of Sustainable Long Island and acting director of the Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group, recently responded to an oped in Newsday that focused on Americans making the choice to eat fresh, healthy produce. Below is Clara's letter to the editor, followed by the original article:
Letter to the Editor:
In a recent column ["Eat your vegetables," Opinion, Jan. 30], writer Daniel Akst states that the reason low-income Americans struggle to eat fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables cannot be attributed to affordability or the lack of access to produce.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 23.5 million Americans don't have a supermarket within a mile of their home, and those who can shop in town for groceries often find retail prices in convenience stores as much as 49 percent higher for a selection of food long on canned goods and short on fresh produce.
Why travel to the next town if you can get a quick bite to eat up the block? Do we take into account limited resources, such as time and transportation? If you can get a meal off the dollar menu - why should you break the bank for basic ingredients?
Supermarkets are now beginning to follow the example that many farmers' markets have set, opening in underserved communities such as Roosevelt and North Bellport, while offering fresh fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.
Everyone likes a bargain. So as part of a laudable five-year initiative to make the foods it sells healthier, Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut the price of its fruits and vegetables. The hope is that people will then buy more of them.
Will it work? Probably not.
There's a story going around out there that many Americans aren't eating healthy foods because they can't afford it. If this were true, our dietary problems - and they are many - would be easy to solve.
But the great majority of Americans - not just the poor - aren't eating healthy, and most are affluent enough not to be bothered by the cost of carrots and squash. For most of us, it's just not about price.
Maybe, though, price matters more to grocery shoppers who have less money. If so, Wal-Mart's price cuts might induce the poor to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, publishes a newsletter called Amber Waves, which reports on the agency's economic research. Here's a headline from the September 2009 issue: "Price Reductions Have Little Effect on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Low-Income Americans."
The USDA economists report that fruit and vegetable purchases aren't very sensitive to price - and neither are snack food purchases, which is why subsidizing arugula and taxing Cheetos are likely be equally ineffective. In a 2008 study, USDA economists looked at households below 130 percent of the poverty line (a cutoff for food stamps) and found that small increases in income were not spent on fruits and vegetables. "These foods do not appear to be a priority for most low-income households," the authors wrote.
In households earning up to 185 percent of the poverty line, a 10 percent increase in income did lead to higher spending on fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the increase was less than 2 percent - which is awfully close to zero.
But if cost isn't the determining factor, maybe the poor lack access to produce. Perhaps many of them live in what's been called a "food desert," a place where only unhealthy comestibles can be had.
This too seems unlikely. The vast majority of Americans, including the poor, have cars. And most of the poor can get to some fruits and vegetables: Another USDA report notes that just 2.2 percent of households live more than a mile from a supermarket and lack access to a vehicle. In other words, 98 percent of American families either live near a supermarket or can drive to one.
On top of all this, Wal-Mart's prices for produce, like all the other groceries it sells, are already quite low. That's probably why it's by far the nation's leading grocer.
That doesn't mean Wal-Mart is doing a bad thing or wasting its time. If nothing else, cutting its produce prices will put more money in the pockets of its many poor and blue-collar shoppers, who can use a break.
And Wal-Mart is going further. It plans to change the formulation of products sold under its Great Value house brand to reduce sodium, trans fats and sugars. It will even press big food companies like Kraft to make their products healthier as well. This could be highly effective, since these changes won't require shoppers to do anything. Their diet will improve automatically.
That's important, because human behavior is hard to change - particularly when eating is involved. Let's face it: Americans aren't avoiding healthy foods because we can't afford them. We love a bargain, sure. Just not on Brussels sprouts.
|Eat Local in Winter - GreenStreet LI Feature
Eating locally is all the rage, and for good reason. Food grown on Long Island not only supports our economy, it also preserves open space and lessens the pollution created by trucking food long distances. But with temperatures barely hitting the freezing mark, getting locally produced food isn't possible, right? Well, if you want to eat local strawberries, that's true, but there are many foods that are available this time of year that merit the local label.
Makinajean Farms in Huntington sells local chicken, turkey, duck, eggs and honey year-round. Miloski's Poultry Farm in Calverton is another resource for local chickens, ducks, turkey, geese and eggs. Long Island meat sources are limited, but Dark Horse Restaurant in Riverhead sells locally raised, grass-fed and free-range ground bison steak in five-pound pallets (they also serve it at the restaurant).
Local seafood is abundant year-round. Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays sells fresh cod, flounder, fluke, scallops, monkfish, porgies, clams, oysters and lobsters that are hauled in to the dock adjacent to the store. Wherever you buy your seafood, make sure to ask for fish caught in our local waters.
And don't forget your fruits and veggies. "While the rest of us are poring over seed catalogues, there is some winter produce, including apples, cabbage, potatoes, squash, and carrots, that is still grown here," says Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director of Sustainable Long Island. She advises consumers to look for the Grown on LI label. "Support your community, economy, environment and, most of all, Long Island agriculture by thinking, shopping and eating locally."
Shopping the Winter Farmers' Markets:
Miss the farmers' markets that are open in so many L.I. locations in the warm weather? Get your fix at the Saturday market that alternates between Huntington and Northport, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There's also live music and other entertainment!
Locations and Dates:
Sweet Hollow Hall - West Hills County Park, Gwynne Rd., Huntington(Gwynne Road is off of Sweet Hollow Road, just north of the Northern State Pkwy)
Feb. 19, March 5 and 19, April 2 and 16
St. Paul's United Methodist Church - 270 Main St., NorthportFeb. 12 and 26, March 12 and 26, April 9 and 23
|SUNY planning students tackle downtown Riverhead
This past month Sustainable Long Island facilitated an informational discussion on an exciting new farmers' market project in Riverhead. This academic exercise for the Riverhead community addressed the design of a farmers' market structure, a year-round controlled environment agriculture system, a community center, spaces for the visual and performing arts, and opportunities for public art. Below is a report of the event from the Riverhead News Review:
People have been trying to figure out how to fix downtown Riverhead for years, and not much has changed during that time. Now, a group of 38 architectural and engineering students from Syracuse are going to give it a crack.
Free of charge.
The students, from SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, will apply their planning skills to a section of downtown Riverhead as their project for the next three months, according to their instructor, Preston Gilbert, an adjunct assistant professor in the department of landscape architecture as well as the operations director of the SUNY Center for Brownfield Studies.
"Once a year, the students work with the Center for Brownfield Studies to tackle a redevelopment project," Mr. Gilbert said. "We go out and look for a particularly challenging, complex project."
The students are studying either landscape architecture and urban design or environmental engineering.
So how did they come to pick Riverhead?
"I was working with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council on the freight village study, and EPCAL [Enterprise Park at Calverton] was one of the sites they were looking at," Mr. Gilbert explained. As part of that job, he met with Riverhead Town's community development director, Chris Kempner, in her office at Riverhead Town Hall.
As it turns out, Mr. Gilbert is originally from Riverhead, and as he looked out the window of Ms. Kempner's office, he was reminded of a time when, as a young boy, he watched the Town Hall building being constructed from the window of his nearby Brook Street home. The Town Hall building was originally built as a supermarket. Mr. Gilbert said he spent the first six years of his life in Riverhead, and hadn't returned for 54 years since.
But his visit to Ms. Kempner's office spurred memories. He can recall when Central Suffolk Hospital (now Peconic Bay Medical Center) had a cornfield behind it. Thrifty Beverage Center on the Riverside traffic circle was a dry cleaning business owned by his father - one of the only dry cleaning business on eastern Long Island, he said. And the Star Confectionery on Main Street? It's still there.
So when it came time to look for a challenging, complex redevelopment project, Mr. Gilbert didn't have to look much further than his old hometown.
For the project, students will be broken up into four groups and will plan the redevelopment of a 10-building stretch of the south side of Main Street, from the East End Arts Council west to the unnamed road by the Riverhead Grill, an area dominated by large, empty and deteriorating buildings.
"They will develop a master site plan for improvements to accommodate the development of what we're calling the Eastern Long Island Farmers Market Community Center," Mr. Gilbert said, describing the center as a "year-round wholesale and retail farmers market, in a building that will also be a community center, a demo site for hydroponic farming. It will also have a small retail environment and a high-quality outdoor environment."
Specific questions - such as who would run the facility and whether buildings would have to be added or removed to make this happen - will be answered by the study, which will be complete in April.
"This would probably be about a $200,000 study if you had to pay for it," Mr. Gilbert said.
The students met at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center downtown on Friday, where they were joined by some local community members who provided input. Among those present were Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Ms. Kempner, Amy Davidson of the River and Roots Community Garden, Ray Pickersgill of the Business Improvement District, Nancy Swett of Iloveriverhead.com, Pat Snyder of the East End Arts Council and Chris Sheldon of the Flanders Riverside and Northampton Community Association.
Sustainable Long Island, a nonprofit planning organization, is also involved in the project. "This is an academic exercise to generate ideas for downtown Riverhead, and you never know where those ideas will go," said Sarah Lansdale, the group's executive director.
|Our High School Fellows join in on the planning!|
Can the town use the study if they like it?
Mr. Gilbert said in the past, his classes' studies have inspired municipalities to consider some of their recommendations, although they are not officially used by those municipalities as planning studies.
The students are raring to go, too.
"I'm from Long Island, so this is going to be a fun project," said Jessica Haerter, a senior forestry engineering student from Huntington.
Another Long Islander, Brian Teller of Westbury, is an environmental resource engineering student who said he's worked at the 4H camp in Baiting Hollow.
"I know this place very well and I often come down here to eat," he said. "I'm really excited about this project. It's the first real big hands-on engineering project I've done."
May Mohamed of Syracuse, another environmental engineering student, had never seen Riverhead before, but said she's excited about the project as well because there will be input from a lot of segments of the community. She said it's also good hands-on experience.
The students toured downtown Friday and were headed back to Syracuse on Saturday. And that stretch of downtown they're about to tackle didn't intimidate them.
"This is awesome," Mr. Teller said.
|NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate to hold Sustainable Real Estate Conference
"Building the Smart City"
Removing Barriers, Fostering Innovation
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Kimmel Center, Rosenthal Pavilion
New York, NY
Find out more information here.
|Want community updates on various planning projects? Exciting tidbits on events, meetings, and engagements in your neighborhood? Exclusive information and the latest feedback about everything Long Island?
Sarah Lansdale, Executive Director
Sustainable Long Island