May 2009


Bethesda Green focused on food in its May e-newsletter.  Here’s a slightly expanded version of Executive Director Dave Feldman’s short essay on the topic:

Do you think of food when you think of “green”?  You should.

A few months ago, Bethesda Green launched its Sustainable Food Working Group to provide, among other things, information about Why Eat Local and Organic Food and connections to Sustainable Food in Bethesda and Montgomery County.

There are many debates around food and its importance for the way we live. Let me focus on two issues: local and organic.  The food we eat travels an average of 1500 miles. That’s a long distance and a large carbon footprint for something so vital to our daily lives. Alternatively, buying food grown and raised closer to home is fresher and tastes better (less preservatives), helps maintain farmland and green space in your area, (1/3 of Montgomery County is set aside as agriculture reserve), supports the local economy (farmers, distributors artisans and locally-owned purveyors and restaurants) and promotes food safety (less people handling reduces likelihood of contamination). Local food is available in a broader variety through farmers markets or community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs) and creates community, connecting you to the people who raise and grow it.

Organic food is made according to certain production standards.  Though definitions vary, most “organic” certifications eliminate or greatly reduce the use of conventional non-organic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.  In short, it helps keep chemicals out of the air, water, soil and importantly, our bodies. For more information, visit organicfoodinfo.net or organic.org.

This month we highlight three leaders in local, healthy “green” food:  MOM’s Organic Market, Whole Foods and Sweetgreen. Each partners with Bethesda Green to promote a healthier, better lifestyle.

Lastly, thanks to everyone for their generosity in supporting our recent fundraising campaign. We raised about $2,000 through individual donations, a nice start toward our $50,000 annual target. We have a ways to go so please consider supporting us.  Your contributions are vital to future programs.  We accept donations through PayPal or by check mailed to us at 4825 Cordell Aveneu, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814.  Thank you.

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Bike to Work 2

Danielle Milo with Bethesda Transportation Solutions presents the "Most Committed Cyclist Award" to Jim Fulmer -- he's the one wearing a hat.

Commuter Connections, in partnership with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), hosted its annual Bike To Work Day celebration on Friday, May 15th.  With pit stops all around the DC Metro area, thousands of cyclists took the opportunity to leave their cars at home and bike to the office.  Food, drink and music welcomed the bikers into the downtown Bethesda pit stop, at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues, and several raffle prizes were given away throughout the morning.

Hosted by Bethesda Transportation Solutions (BTS), the downtown Bethesda pit stop drew more than 350 bicyclists.  BTS also awarded two commuters with Bicycle Spirit Awards:  Jean-Luc Park, of Calvert, with the “Longest Distance Commuted by Bike” (16 miles!) and Jim Fulmer (pictured), of Fidelis Security Systems, with the “Most Committed Cyclist Award” (7 miles a day, every work day!).  The downtown Bethesda pit stop was also visited by several local government officials.

Thanks to Lauren Lefkowitz with Calvert and a Bethesda Green volunteer for this report and helping with the event registration.

Make sure you pick up a copy of the May/June 2009 issue of Bethesda Magazine.  Editor and Publisher Steve Hull and the magazine staff are really getting in a groove picking up on the local “green” business environment.  One article worth your attention is a tasty offering from veteran writer Carole Sugarman on local green eateries.  “‘Green’ Eggs: Making sense of organic, sustainable, local and green,” page 79, features quotes from Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman and spotlights our friends from Whole Foods, Sweetgreen, and others.

Additionally, the issue’s special Home section features an interesting article by Louisa Jagger, page 198.  “Extreme Green: Two new BG_AD_2_LWBethesda-area homes push the limits of green construction — in very different ways” explores building energy-efficient homes, with a great sidebar explaining some of the techniques and systems used, including passive solar, photovoltaic panels, solar hot water, geothermal energy, and insulation.  It’s must-reading for any homeowner considering investing in energy-efficient technologies.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Bethesda Green ad on page 264 (thumbnail version pictured here).  The tagline on the ad, created pro bono by the team at Nasuti + Hinkle Creative Thinking, reads: “The energy saved recycling steel for 1 year can provide a big city with electricity for a decade.”   As always, thanks to Nasuti and Bethesda Magazine for helping get our message out.