Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Community Garden at Woolson Street!

Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN), an affiliate of statewide nonprofit The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), launched the new Woolson Street Community Garden in Mattapan on on September 6th with Mayor Martin J. Walsh.  Converted from a once vacant lot at 44 Woolson St. which the City of Boston transferred to BNAN, the new Community Garden is the newest of five community gardens in Mattapan, two of which are owned and managed by BNAN.

“In keeping with BNAN and The Trustees’ mission to work together with local residents, partner organizations, public officials and foundations to preserve, expand and enhance open space, community gardens, and greenways throughout the city of Boston, we are thrilled to celebrate the addition of yet another important gardening hub for area residents,” adds Vidya Tikku, BNAN Acting Executive Director.

With funding support from the Department of Neighborhood Development’s Grassroots Program, The Woolson Street Community Garden was developed through a collaborative community process that included residents, community gardeners, the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition,  Fairmount Greenway Open Space Task Force, Mattapan United and the Community Design Resource Center. The group first imagined, then designed, and finally executed the much-anticipated new space with a goal of improving the neighborhood’s access to green space where they can grow fresh fruits and vegetables and gather to practice healthy lifestyles.

Hurst Landscape and Site Services of Mattapan completed construction of the Woolson Street Garden this summer which features 11 at-grade gardens and one raised, universally accessible plot, each 15 x 20 feet, as well as a composting area and a stylized pathway inspired by the shape of a fern frond.   Pear trees, berries, herbs and flowers are planted in plots that line the street edge creating a colorful border and hint of what gardeners can grow in the soil and environment.  New gardeners have now organized to sow community as well as a fall crop in the community gardens.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Detox Your Collection of Cosmetics

source image courtesy of Beauty High

On Just Us Gals, I've been posting a monthly series about non-toxic makeup and beauty products, that I thought would be very appropriate for Boston Green Blog readers too! Here is what you need to know: The U.S. only bans 11 ingredients from cosmetic products, while the E.U. bans over 1,000. The average American woman uses about 15 cosmetic products per day, which exposes her to small doses of some potentially harmful chemicals on a regular basis. While most of these chemicals probably won't make you sick, it is better to be safe than sorry! Am I right?! Here is how you can reduce your exposure:

And of course, let me know about your favorite products in comments or on twitter!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tracking My Brainstorms

source image courtesy of Habitually Chic

As part of WeWork's "Track Your Brainstorm" Campaign, I am sharing how, when, and where I get inspiration for Boston Green Blog! 

My brainstorms are a little all over the place. I’m an avid list maker, which is great for capturing ideas on the go. Four years ago, when I founded, I had no idea that writing the blog would help me land a writing gig at CBS and inspire the creation of Just Us Gals – a women’s lifestyle blog. Now, I am writing 9 – 12 blog posts per week in addition to working full time as a Sustainable Products Buyer at It’s a lot of work to pack into one week. It is all work that I love – inspiring people to lead more sustainable lifestyles, but it takes a lot of time, so I end up having my best ideas while walking the mile to and from South Station on my way to work.

The walking portion of my commute is the only time of day where I’m not at a screen – even when I’m at the gym or out for a run, I still have headphones in with some type of media going, so my walks are my zen time. I’m able to breathe some fresh air and collect my thoughts. Especially over this summer when the weather was perfect every day, walks were a relaxing and stress-free time to prioritize my goals, plan the day ahead, and simply let my mind wander.

Being an observant person is key to garnering creativity. Even though I walk the same sidewalk, day after day, it’s amazing how many different people I see, or events being set up, buildings being built, and of course, conversations overheard. I use these as tidbits of inspiration to take with me throughout the day. Sometimes, I’ll stop and take a photo of something I want to remember, or add to one of my many lists stored in the “reminders” section of my iPhone. Once I’m at South Station, I hop on my commuter rail to work and boot up the ol’ laptop to get some writing done. Luckily, commuting through South Station is convenient in the afternoon because it is located right near the Melcher St. WeWork location which is a great place to meet other creatives and Bostonians with true entrepreneurial spirit! Its fun to meet so many other wonderful Bostonians working hard to make our community a hotspot for innovators.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

'Designing with Water' Competition

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced earlier this month that the City of Boston, in partnership with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Harbor Association, will be holding an international design competition for climate preparedness. The contest, which will kick off this fall, is funded by an $86,000 grant awarded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to the BRA, and $35,000 awarded by the Barr Foundation to the Boston Harbor Association.

“The City of Boston continues to be a national leader on climate preparedness,” said Mayor Walsh. “This design competition will bring concepts and ideas from around the world, such as those in the Boston Harbor Association's new report, to fruition in Boston.”

The competition will call for creative and innovative climate-change resilient design solutions for three at-risk waterfront sites in Boston.  Hosted along with the Boston Society of Architects, the competition seeks implementable planning and design solutions that will prepare these sites for current coastal flood risks and future sea-level-rise.

“While extreme flooding is generally a new problem for Boston, cities such as Amsterdam, Hamburg and Seoul have had decades, even centuries, of learning how to allow flooding without damage occurring,” said Julie Wormser, Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association. “These cities have recognized that it is financially, culturally, and ecologically beneficial to work with water, instead of fighting to keep every last drop out.”

“Designing with Water: Creative Examples from Around the Globe” can be viewed and downloaded on the Boston Harbor Association’s website, here: