Celebrates "Kindness to the Earth"

April 27th, Earth Love Day, Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

April 27th, Earth Love Day, Roosevelt Island Farmers Market

Led by Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) and community organizations working to create a healthy island environment,​ #EarthLove ​Day arrives with a compost giveback at Good Shepherd Plaza to spotlight ongoing island sustainability efforts and encourage more.

The following is a press release about the event provided by iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico

In September 2018, Big Reuse, iDig2Learn, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club and Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors joined the RIOC’s building manager meeting to convey the success of the island’s weekly Food Scrap Drop Off (FSDO) in removing heavy, wet food waste from island buildings to broaden awareness of this free resource to residents. RIOC President and CEO, Susan Rosenthal said, “We don’t talk much about reduction until Earth Day rolls around but efforts such as using LED lighting, painting rooftops light colors to reduce energy costs, and dropping food scraps off every Saturday are year round endeavors which are good for the earth and our AVAC system which can get overloaded as it moves waste from island apartment buildings.”

Giving back compost is a thank you that recognizes resident’s success in having diverted 100,000 pounds of food scraps from landfill since the program began in November 2015. The fact that Big Reuse transforms island organics, like banana peels, into compost just under the Queensboro Bridge and returns it to island landscaping and gardens projects, shows the value created by food scraps, material previously deemed waste.

“The best way to collect and drop food scraps is with a reusable container that can be washed and reused weekly,” says Project Manager, Leah Retherford of NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse. She added, “Compostable and paper bags can go in too but to make our machine run smoothly it is best to rip any bags open upon dropping your food scraps, and please, no plastic bags.”

"Returning organic matter to the earth just makes sense, we only need to think about it a little differently. Trimmings from Christmas trees and six months worth of coffee grounds have also been returned to the earth in Roosevelt Island’s community garden. Taking a full plastic bag on a long trip to landfill via fossil fuel burning vehicles comes at an enormous cost to our planet but handled locally it saves time, energy and money," said Green Roosevelt Island Neighbor (GRIN), Anthony Longo who will share composting tips and planting activities throughout the day.

“Instead of throwing away all the food scraps, they can also be reused to make beautiful natural dyes for fabric,” said Sara Qihan Dong, the project manager of World Human Accountability Organization (WHAO), who will be offering a colorful interactive plant dye activity in support of sustainability efforts on this earth day.

“Everything is connected. It is great to see Islanders and landscapers planting more native plants and trees, which have evolved to thrive in our area. These important host plants for pollinators provide food and habitat for birds and ultimately support a healthier ecosystem for us all,” said Julia Ferguson of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. Ferguson will be on hand with the ever-popular worm bin to demonstrate the compost cycle.

“Kindness to the earth includes kindness to each other,” said Niti Parikh, who heads the Maker Lab at Cornell Tech, and was inspired by ​servicespace.org​ to introduce “Circle of Kindness” and Smile Cards to
islanders. “When someone does something nice for you just because they want to, you feel so good to receive that gift it makes you want to go out and do something nice for someone else, and a Smile Card, passed to another, encourages kind actions. It is like a positive chain reaction.”

“It is easy to forget our connection to nature and that keeping our land, air and water clean helps keep us healthy too,” said Christina Delfico, Emmy-Nominated Producer and Founder of iDig2Learn, a nonprofit which encourages exploration of science and food through plant life. “Plastic pollution now affects marine life and has entered the fish we consume, so it is wonderful that Wengerd Farms will give away one thousand reusable tote bags to help show #EarthLove as we near the March 2020 New York State plastic bag ban. And the market will be replacing thousands of plastic bags with compostable bags for the day which residents can use over the following week to collect their food scraps in. iDig2Learn will also give away kitchen countertop compost bins every half hour to lucky residents,” Delfico added.

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center invites residents to drop off their used batteries throughout the day and produced a sustainability map of Roosevelt Island to spotlight resources, like free clothing drop bins and E-cycle electronic waste boxes in apartment buildings, Duane Reade’s new Safe Medication Disposal box, and invite residents to share news of other sustainable practices.

Market regulars like Kitchen 36 Inc. (aka “The Soup Lady”), Ibari, Hoboken Farms and Vesco Foods will list ways their businesses show #EarthLove. Whether sourcing organic ingredients, not using plastic bags or supporting local farmers, all agreed on the importance of reducing and reusing.

iDig2Learn is a project of Open Space Institute, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity.
Groups and individuals​ ​involved in this project include the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation; iDig2Learn, NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse, ​Wengerd Farm, ​Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC), Green Roosevelt Island Neighbors (GRIN),​ World Human Accountability Organization (WHAO), Hoboken Farms, Kitchen 36 Inc (aka "The Soup Lady"), Vesco Foods, Ibari Beatrice Ajaero, Manhattan Park, Hudson Related, Rivercross, ​Anthony Longo, Julia Ferguson, Neal Weissman, Levka Starkova, Olya Turcihin, ​and all the volunteers and residents who made this project possible.

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