Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Boston Solar Map Unveiled

Yesterday, Mayor Walsh launched Solar SystemTM Boston, a new map which enables homeowners and businesses to quickly and easily understand their roof’s solar potential and installation cost estimates. With over 12 MW of solar PV installed in Boston producing roughly enough power to supply 2,000 homes, the new solar map is one more tool to accelerate the adoption of solar and help Boston meet its goal of installing 25 MW of solar by 2020.

“Going solar is increasingly an attractive option for Boston homes and businesses,” said Mayor Walsh. “With solar prices plummeting, and Massachusetts having some of the best incentives in the country, this map will introduce the benefits of solar to a broader audience.”

Solar SystemTM Boston is a partnership with Mapdwell®, a Boston-based  M.I.T. spin-off that looks to advance collective sustainability through information, education, and choice architecture, to provide accurate and accessible information about going solar. The tool has mapped all 127,000 buildings in Boston for their solar potential and found that Boston has a potential for 2.2 GW (gigawatts) of solar power. While there are barriers to putting solar PV on every building with good sun access such as roof age and financing constraints, this map confirms the significant potential for solar to expand rapidly in Boston as installation prices continue to drop.

“The City of Boston prides itself on using data and innovative mapping technology to have a positive impact ,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief Information Officer for the City of Boston. “Solar SystemTM Boston will make it easier for residents to take action to increase the use of sustainable energy in the City.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spotlight: Team J+A Whole Detox

Jody and Ashley are certified nutritionists and health coaches that host seasonal detox programs for busy, young professionals. Detoxing helps program participants eliminate chronic headaches, digestive discomfort, and excess weight. It also helps clear up skin and balance moods!

The Whole Food Detox is a 14 day program guided by Jody and Ashley, that asks participants to only eat whole foods (i.e. no processed foods) and avoid gluten, corn, soy, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, and sugar.

By eating only whole foods, you are reducing the amount of energy required to make your foods - most "processed foods" are processed by electrical means - using fossil fuels and a high amount of transportation to get from the field, to the factory, to you. By eliminating that middle step, you're not only getting cleaner food, but food with a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, the J+A program is largely plant based and non-meat proteins are encouraged!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Green Tip Tuesday: Purchase In-Season Produce

Nothing beats Fall in New England for fresh, local produce! Some of our favorite fall foods are just coming into season, so get over to your local farmer's market or farmstand and look for the following items that are in the peak of their season in September:

  • broccoli 
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cranberries
  • eggplant
  • hot peppers
  • raspberries
  • tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • apples
  • butternut squash (beginning of season)
Learn more about what crops are in season when over at the Peak-Season Map on Epicurious 

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.