ANNUAL FARM TO TABLE FUNDRAISING DINNER 2017 – OCT. 21ST 5:30PM TO 8:30PM

The Northeast Earth Coalition (NEEC) is delighted to welcome you to the fall Farm to Table Annual Fundraiser Dinner at the Guild Room of First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042, October 21, 2017. (5:30pm to 8:30pm)

The Farm to Table dinner will feature local, organically grown vegetables produced by Deacon Willie Davis, urban farmer and environmental steward of the Green Acre Community Garden in Paterson. Local chefs will prepare seasonal dishes using produce directly from the Green Acre Garden and local organic farmers.

A variety of dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options, and beverages will be accompanied by live music from local musicians. A silent auction/raffle will also be part of the evening. Deacon Davis and the Green Acre Garden Committee will share a brief presentation that discusses the impact of the garden and its vision for the future.
Proceeds from this event will directly benefit the NEEC Urban Growers Program, which is a supporter of the Green Acre Community Garden. Your $60 contribution will cover the dinner, desserts and refreshments. 50% of the ticket will be tax deductible. We also welcome donations to support our Environmental Initiatives and Building Community Programs.

History of Green Acre:

Once a small garden consisting of six raised beds, the Green Acre Community Garden, located at the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd. and 12th Avenue in Paterson, has blossomed into a formidable urban farm and beaming source of pride for the community. Thanks to Deacon Davis’s continuous efforts to transform the space and significantly increase food production, the bounty of the garden is shared biweekly with 35 + families from the community during the summer and fall seasons.
The garden is also a neighborhood destination through free family-friendly events such as cookouts, harvest festivals, and Earth Day Celebrations. Pollinator friends are also frequent visitors as the garden serves as a refuge for birds, bees, and butterflies. A volunteer garden committee, community volunteers, and organizations such as NEEC, Habitat for Humanity, and City Green, have helped contribute to the success of the garden.

Northeast Earth Coalition:

The Northeast Earth Coalition, Inc., (NEEC) is a non-profit organization based in Montclair that works at the community level to protect the environment and promote local sustainability and food security.
The NEEC supports the work of community and environmental activists who give hope for a better future. Its Urban Growers program promotes local food production, sustainability, and community leadership.
The Northeast Earth Coalition is a longtime partner of the Green Acre Community Garden and is seeking to make connections between gardeners in Paterson, Passaic and surrounding communities.
I hope to see you there!

To buy tickets, please follow this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/neec-annual-farm-to-table-fundraiser-dinner-tickets-38109937850

 

NEEC Second Annual Conference: Acting Locally for a More Sustainable World

The speakers and audience, First Conference: Acting Locally for a More Sustainable World, January 2016.

Contact Person: Jose German, President
Voice Phone Number: 646-225-8414
FAX Number: 973-233-1106
Email Address: neearthcoalition@gmail.com

SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE: ACTING LOCALLY FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE WORLD.
January 14, 2017 1pm – 5pm, Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton Ave., Montclair, NJ 07042

The NEEC is sponsoring a gathering of community leaders, groups and interested citizens from the tri-state area to network on environmental issues. Topics will include local food, sustainable communities, alternative transportation, renewable energy, clean air and water, climate change activism.

Participants will have the opportunity to exhibit and meet to share resources, ideas, and experiences.

Speakers: Justin Allen: “Urban Agriculture, Empowering Individuals, Creating Community and Rejuvenating Land.”; David Korfhage and Richard Larsen: Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Creating the Political Will for a Livable World.”; Captain Hugh Carola, will be speaking about the “Hackensack Riverkeeper, Mission and Work.” Willy Davis: “The Rosa Parks Community Garden, My Personal Tale.”

According to Jose German, President of NEEC “All are welcome at this exciting opportunity to celebrate local efforts to improve the quality of life of our communities. The goal is to share ideas and inspiration to collaborate more effectively on the great project of our time – healing the earth so all life can thrive.”

He also added “No matter which environmental or sustainability door we first come through, we find we share values and vision about environmental protection, clean water and air, renewable energy, and safe food. We all want to make our communities more sustainable and eco-friendly.”

ABOUT Northeast Earth Coalition (NEEC):

The NEEC is nonprofit organization that supports the work of environmental activists who give hope every day for a better future. To accomplish this, the NEEC seeks to bring together diverse environmental organizations in the Northeast to share ideas, identify common interests and provide mutual support in building communities that are sustainable in food production, energy, transportation, and preservation of the natural environment.

For more information, please visit our website: www.neearth.org or our Facebook page. You can also contact us via e-mail: neearthcoalition@gmail.com
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What is sustainability?

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The definition of “sustainability” is the study of how natural systems function, remain diverse

and produce everything it needs for the ecology to remain in balance. It also acknowledges that

human civilization takes resources to sustain our modern way of life. There are countless

examples throughout human history where a civilization has damaged its own environment and

seriously affected its own survival chances.

Sustainability takes into account how we might live in harmony with the natural world around

us, protecting it from damage and destruction.

We now live in a modern, consumerist and largely urban existence throughout the developed

world and we consume a lot of natural resources every day. In our urban centers, we consume

more power than those who live in rural settings and urban centers use a lot more power than

average, keeping our streets and civic buildings lit, to power our appliances, our heating and

other public and household power requirements. That’s not to say that sustainable living should

only focus on people who live in urban centers though, there are improvements to be made

everywhere – it is estimated that we use about 40% more resources every year than we can put

back and that needs to change.

Sustainability and sustainable development focuses on balancing that fine line between

competing needs – our need to move forward technologically and economically, and the needs to

protect the environments in which we and others live.

Sustainability is not just about the environment, it’s also about our health as a society in ensuring

that no people or areas of life suffer as a result of environmental legislation, and it’s also about

examining the longer term effects of the actions humanity takes and asking questions about how

it may be improved.

Why is Sustainability Important?

Simply stated, the future of our planet and ours depends on it. The importance of finding a

sustainable future is rooted in three issues that are very much linked to one another: 1) fossil fuel

depletion, 2) climate change due to CO2 emissions, and 3) the increasing costs of energy and

water.

Since the industrial revolution, the world’s industrialized nations have been founded on access to

“cheap” fossil fuel energy. We all know that fossil fuels are a finite resource, and it’s alarming

that demand for fossil fuels continues to increase. As other nations, such as China and India,

become more industrialized, the global demand and price of fossil fuels will further increase, as

will emissions of CO2. We’re also witnessing steady increases in the prices of energy from other

sources, and in turn, the cost of fresh water. This is placing an increasing burden on economies

worldwide, as well as the costs that an average homeowner faces.

We consider a move to greater sustainability, in all aspects of life, critical to our future. We only

have one earth. We must find ways to reduce our harmful impact on the environment.

Our focus is on increasing the sustainability of America’s new and existing homes. Increasing

sustainability of our housing stock will had the dual benefit of reducing our harmful impact on

the environment, while also reducing the economic impact of high energy costs.

What are the primary goals of sustainability?

 The end of poverty and hunger

 Better standards of education and healthcare – particularly as it pertains to water quality and

better sanitation

 To achieve gender equality

 Sustainable economic growth while promoting jobs and stronger economies

 All of the above and more while tackling the effects of climate change, pollution and other

environmental factors that can harm and do harm people’s health, livelihoods and lives.

 Sustainability to include health of the land, air and sea

Finally, it acknowledged the concept of nature having certain rights – that people have

stewardship of the world and the importance of putting people at the forefront of solving the

above global issues through management of the environment and of consumption (for example,

reducing packaging and discouraging food waste as well as promoting the use of recyclable

materials).

The Importance of Land Preservation

Forest mystic way

One particular issue that has divided political and cultural interests is land conservation. This is especially relevant for those who are potentially affected by hydro-fracking proposals in New York State and Pennsylvania, or those living along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. Essentially, there are three basic questions that frame this discussion: how important is it, who is responsible for it, and how do we pay for it.

At its most basic level, land conservation is a collective responsibility. This suggests, then, a role for government in providing the mechanisms through which conservation is possible. Once we accept this point, we must also recognize that the issue becomes one of politics. If government is charged with providing the mechanisms and policies for land conservation, then the path must inevitably wind through the democratic process.

Land preservation plays a critical role in the future of our local and regional environment. Today’s conservation movement is very broad and dynamic, including everything from activism to save ocean and river environments, to land acquisition for sensitive desert lands, to the use of federal programs for easements to keep farms in production, and local organizing to create urban parks and community gardens.

Local and regional major activists are working to advocate for policies and funding to advance conservation, also they are often working in creative partnerships with state and local organizations and agencies. Many of them have regional offices and can provide technical assistance for local protection efforts.

While land conservation is funded by a complex combination of public and private investment, the overall contribution falls short of meeting habitat conservation and wildlife protection needs. In the gap between personal liberty and collective responsibility lies the solution to proper land management and this is where a more comprehensive message is needed regarding the economic and moral benefits of collective conservation efforts.

In a private property, ownership-based society, we all too often misconstrue the benefits of collective responsibility for the preservation of the landscape. Personal liberty can trump environmental concerns in regards to determining zoning restrictions or allowing commercial development on public lands. Too often, wildlife fall victim to personal liberty as private owners choose to develop their land to supply goods for public consumption or sell it outright for similar purposes. Moreover, these are not simply localized challenges.

In considering the overall benefits of land conservation, researchers and policy- makers tend to agree that the continued degradation of remaining natural habitats for private gain is eroding human welfare. Thus, retaining as much wilderness as possible through sustainable use, conservation, and compensation for resulting opportunity costs makes overwhelming economic and moral sense.

Nobody understands your impulse to save the places you value like others right in your community, who enjoy them every day. To work with conservationists to save important resources, there are a range of local relationships worth building. Agricultural extension programs and farm bureaus are important resources for saving working lands. Get to know your local conservation commission, an agency of municipal government that usually deals with wetlands regulation and other protection issues, and that may have access to state or local funding for resource conservation.

Nature centers and preserves provide education and experience with the wonders of the outdoors, and their staffs are often very glad to deepen their programming and interpretation with good information on how history shaped an area.

Be aware that in addition to traditional land trusts, your community or region might be served by other related types of organizations, including community land trusts (often created to work on the need for affordable housing, but sometimes with conservation in their scope), agricultural land trusts, watershed organizations, and parks, gardens, greenways, and trails organizations.

 

 

 

Local Food

The Importance of Local Food

Most of the foods that we get in the supermarket was produced hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away from where it is consumed, requiring significant energy consumption for handling, and storage during its journey to the supermarket aisles. In addition, a large amount of food is wasted during its journey to our community food stores.

According to a recent study published in the Public Library of Science , 40% of food is wasted in the U.S. That figure measures waste occurring throughout the entire food system from the farm to what ends up thrown away as plate scrapings at home. And because the US recycles less than 3% of food waste, most of ends up in landfills where it decomposes anaerobically, emitting methane and other greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change.

The lack of fresh, local food production also significantly impacts our diet and health. We tend to eat what is available – highly processed food that can handle long distance travel and has a long shelf life. We are what we eat, and the obesity epidemic is one of the most visible and obvious indications, with a significant negative health impact.

Acting Locally

Acting Locally for a Sustainable World

A program for local environmental groups and community activists, focusing on healthy local food, environmental preservation and climate change.

Our goal is to introduce local environmental groups and community activists to each other; to have groups share their experience, projects, and activities; and to have groups find ways to work collectively to promote the greater environmental agenda.

Acting Locally for a sustainable world Conference – January 16, 2016

By Nancy Taiani

The auditorium room of the Montclair main library was filled with representatives of 30 organizations working for the planet and with people looking to collaborate and broaden their knowledge of sustainability.

The event was opened by Fred Chischester, President of CNNJ. Then, Jose German-Gomez, event organizer, gave a speech connecting Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech with the dream of affordable healthy local food for low income families.

Our first speaker, Claudia Urdanivia is the Program Operations Manager of City Green in Passaic County. The non-profit is dedicated to helping to establish urban farms and gardens in northern New Jersey’s cities and increase access to healthy, local food. In the process they encourage community involvement and teach participants about food systems, nutrition and the environment.

She spoke of how City Green envisions livable, green, sustainable urban communities. As a result of the urban farm, garden and greening projects carried out by the community with the help of City Green, residents have access to fresh produce; youth have volunteer, work and leadership opportunities in the community; and neighborhoods have welcoming natural areas—a focal point for sociability, community involvement, cultural expression and individual empowerment.

She also spoke about the City Sprouts Program that teaches children about the natural environment and healthy eating, as well as gives them the opportunity to participate in gardening experiences access to outdoor recreational activities in their own community.

Claudia showed us pictures of lush gardens in urban areas and spoke of the added benefit of empowering people who now were collaborating to improve their neighborhood in other ways. Some gardens produce a surplus of organic produce that is then sold through City Green’s Market program.

Anne Stires gave us all hope with a short Bioneer’s video and her photos from her own involvement with the Hilltop Conservancy.  The film showed the before and after of the reclamation of a plane in China. We learned that, centuries ago, the people had cut down the trees. The wind and strong seasonal rains eroded the topsoil and then leached minerals out of the soil, often creating slurry and flooding of the habitable areas. The people lived from one generation to the next in poverty. In 1999 the plane appeared as an almost unbroken landscape of yellowish soil and craggy hills.

The Chinese studied and mapped out the area, then suggested that the people plant trees. In the video, one old man said, “Why plant trees? We can’t eat trees.” So the people were paid to plant. They terraced the terrain and planted saplings. Then we were treated to the same scene 15 years later. Now it was lush with trees and vegetation and we were told that the education level of the people had greatly increased too.

Anne’s pictures of the Hilltop, while not as dramatic as the Chinese plane, were also impressive. The area transitioned from a tuberculosis hospital, to a ruin, to a wildflower meadow.

Ivan Wei, who just achieved a BA in environmental studies, attended the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris. Though we could hardly be unaware of our warming climate—it was a mild day in the 50os in January—he shared charts proving our earth is warming. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in this century. Following the two speakers who presented hopeful change, Ivan’s talk was a reminder of how great a task we face to mitigate disastrous climate change.

Ivan spoke of more marked contrasts in warming and cold spells as well as between drought and flooding. He said that our region was now rated seven and a half, where once we grew plants for region nine. If warming continues, he predicted that conifers would not survive our warmer winters; as they move north, so will the animals and insects that are part of their ecosystem. While some of us thought we wouldn’t mind the disappearance of insects, Ivan reminded us that bees are very necessary insects. We heard how in some areas in China bees have died out from colony collapse. Farmers have to pollinate fruit by hand.

During the visioning session lead by Gray Russell and Suzanne Aptman, there were suggestions to pass laws requiring carbon tax, the revenue of which would go toward funding green energy.

We were reminded that the poor suffer most from our unsustainable society. Claudia Urdanivia reiterated how the City Green program in Passaic not only taught the raising of vegetables, but helped lower income people to eat more healthily and sometimes, earn extra income.

Gray Russell mentioned that SNAP coupons were worth twice their value at the farmers’ market—another way to help those with less income eat better.

Our special thanks to the CNNJ Team of Trina Paulus, Jose German and Phil Yourish that organized the event, to the Northeast Earth Coalition for its generous financial contributions, and to Purple Dragon and Barbara Conover for supplying food.

Acting Locally for a sustainable world conference
Acting Locally for a sustainable world conference

Conference Picture #1 Janit London Purple Drago Coop Montclair State University