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Attendees view the live webcast from TEDxManhattan’s “Changing the Way We Eat.”

by Jennifer Roe

Bethesda Green was bursting with energy and inspiring conversation this past Saturday, February 16.  Community members joined together to watch a live webcast of the TEDxManhattan event “Changing the Way We Eat,” held in New York City.  Attendees were motivated by speeches discussing innovative ways to change our food system. Among the presenters in New York was Bethesda resident Cheryl Kollin.

Cheryl won the TEDxManhattan challenge for a speaker spot on the day-long program and given the opportunity to discuss her Farm-to-Freezer program with thousands of webcast viewers across the country.  During the mid-day break in the TEDx program, a delicious pot-luck lunch was enjoyed, followed by a panel discussion of local leaders making a difference in our community’s food system.

Cheryl Newman, who chairs the Montgomery County Food Council, moderated the panel, which included presentations about local farms, food insecurity, green catering, and markets that serve both local farmers and customers.

Attendees spent the day both listening to new ideas and brainstorming their own through conversation about how we can build a healthier, more sustainable local food system.  Lisa Helfert came to the event with hopes of learning more about food issues and “to be apart of a community locally that cares about these issues.”  She enjoyed hearing from the panel what people are doing locally and found all the speakers inspiring.  Tama Matsuoka’s TEDx presentation stuck out the most to Lisa.  After Tama’s speech, which focused on how to turn backyard weeds into delicious meals, she “will never look at weeds the same way again.”  This and other speeches drew similar reactions from viewers.

I think the best way to summarize what to take away from a day packed full with innovative ideas is a quote from Chef Anne Cooper, “Do one thing.” So, what is your one thing?

Jennifer Roe is a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received her Master’s in Environment and Development.  She is passionate about building a just and sustainable food system where every individual has the opportunity to lead a successful, healthy life.

GrowingBusiness_logoPlans are under way for an exciting calendar of Bethesda Green programs and events for 2013. Here’s a sneak peak of what lies ahead:

Finance Workshop Series & Venture Forum
Bethesda Green has launched a series of workshops and a venture forum to help grow the green business economy in the region.  The  next workshop on the schedule, Thursday, Jan. 31: What Investors Are Looking for and How To Pitch.

Fields of Green Internship Fair
We will host our 4th annual Fields of Green Internship Fair on Saturday, Feb. 9. This is a great opportunity for young people to line-up internships with companies and non-profits offering job experience in the green business sector.

“Changing the Way We Eat”
Saturday, Feb. 16, we will once again host a TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” official viewing party — a day-long series of live-webcast presentations broadcast from New York.  A special feature of the event includes a presentation by Cheryl Kollin about Farm to Freezer by Full Plate Ventures and Bethesda Cares, a program Bethesda Green helped launch in 2012.

Solar & Green Home Expo
Saturday, May 11, be on the lookout for our 4th annual show connecting residents with vendors in the green service sector.

Reel Water Film Festival
A new addition of the Bethesda Green portfolio, the 2013 film festival will be presented in the heart of downtown Bethesda early summer.

Farm Tours
Later in the summer, around July and August, Bethesda Green will focus on local and sustainable food in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.

Bethesda Green Gala
As we round the corner into autumn 2013, we will celebrate our 5th anniversary with the annual Bethesda Green Gala in early October.

We hope to see all of our Bethesda Green friends at one or many of our upcoming events.

For more information about Bethesda Green plans for 2013, please contact Program Manager Sharon D’Emidio, sharon@bethesdagreen.org.

by Susanna Parker

A Busy Week at Bethesda Green

This week is a busy one at Bethesda Green. Join us Wednesday evening for our Emergency Preparedness panel discussion, and be sure meet us Thursday at Parva Restaurant Bar and Lounge for our monthly networking happy hour. Hope to see you there!

Farm to Freezer a Finalist in the TEDxManhattan Challenge!BGnews_logo

Implemented in June 2012, Farm to Freezer works with Bethesda Cares and local farm markets to save leftover produce from being discarded. Farm to Freezer’s many volunteers have helped to turn 5,000 pounds of fresh gleaned produce into frozen vegetables and tomato sauce that will be used to provide Bethesda’s homeless population with nutritious meals year-round. After the resounding success of their first season, Farm to Freezer is ready to expand in a big way. One major step is their inclusion in the TEDxManhattan Challenge; if selected, Farm to Freezer founder Cheryl Kollin will speak at the 2013 New York TEDxManhattan event, and Cheryl’s presentation, “Changing the Way We Eat,” will be broadcast to viewers worldwide. But Farm to Freezer needs your votes! Voting is a simple click, with no personal information or registration required. The deadline is December 15, so please tell your friends and vote today!  To learn more about this challenge and their work, read Farm to Freezer’s full blog post here.

Savenia Labs Premiers Single Serve Coffeemaker Energy Ratings!

Savenia Labs is an independent testing laboratory that provides lab tested energy and environmental impact ratings on popular appliances. Their previous work includes toasters, microwaves, and dehumidifiers, among others, and they have just released their newest ratings: the world’s first ever energy ratings for single serve coffeemakers. The surge in popularity of Keurig brewers and Green Mountain coffee pods has turned these single serve makers into one of the hottest holiday gifts — but how efficient are they? Savenia Labs’ energy ratings allow consumers to make an informed decision, choose the most environmentally friendly makers, and the most efficient machines. Along with the newly released ratings, Savenia Labs’ blog features posts on all aspects of single serve makers, including waste generated, what is actually in those mysterious pods, and cost variations among brands. Be sure to check out their blog, read their press release, and be informed before you buy!

Upcoming Green Events

  •  Drilling Down: A Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 am – 4 pm, Langsdale Auditorium, University of Baltimore, West Oliver Street, Baltimore.

Hydrofracking is a hotly debated process that can lead to environmental problems like drinking water contamination and increased air pollution. The natural gas industry is applying for permits to begin the process of hydrofracking in Maryland, and we currently have no laws protecting our communities from the risks that come with it. The Drilling Down conference in Baltimore, presented by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, is a call to action for Marylanders to learn about this process and fight against its implementation in our state. The conference will include speakers such as Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, State Senator Jamie Raskin, author and head of the Environmental Policy Institute Lester Brown, and many more.

Registration is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Student tickets are available for $10. All tickets include lunch. For more information, and to register for this exciting event, please see Event Details.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

Happy Election Day! Be sure to get out and vote

by Susanna Parker

Bethesda Named “Bicycle Friendly Community”

The League of American Bicyclists named Bethesda as one of its 28 new “Bicycle Friendly Communities.” Bicycle Friendly Communities are those that welcome cyclists by providing safe accommodations and encourage residents to bike for recreation, transportation, and fitness. Encouraging bicycling leads to community benefits including reduced traffic demands, improved air quality, increased fitness, and a higher quality of life. Bethesda has been awarded the Bronze designation, signifying that the community has made improvements in each of the “Five Es” of Bicycle Friendly Communities: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning.

See Montgomery County Council press release for more details.

DC Region Not Prepared for Increased Electric Vehicle Usage

In a report released October 2012, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) analyzed the region’s current and future use of electric vehicles and the challenges of establishing a regional readiness plan for more e-cars on the road in the future. While electric vehicle usage in the DC region currently is relatively low compared with Portland or Los Angeles, consumer interest is growing, and the region’s charging infrastructure and policy frameworks are not prepared for more e-cars on the road.

The report issued by COG contains recommendations to remove barriers to electric vehicle adoption and mitigate negative impact on the electrical grid. COG states that local governments will play a critical role in the DC region’s electric vehicle readiness. Zoning, building codes, permitting, and inspection processes can all ease the way to the installation of charging equipment, while incentives, infrastructure readiness, and low permitting costs will contribute to reducing barriers to greater e-car usage.

Link here to see the full report.

Upcoming Green Events

Share energy saving tips and learn about incentive programs that can help you reduce your gas and energy bills. Talk about what you hope to do in your own home, get information on getting started with home energy efficiency, and learn how to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

RSVP to ryan.sober@maryland.sierraclub.org

  • Farm to Freezer at Silver Spring Farmers Market, Saturday Nov. 10, 9am-1pm, Downtown Silver Spring, 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring MD

Featured at the Bethesda Green National Food Day event, Farm to Freezer’s organic tomato sauce was a delicious hit. Stop by the Silver Spring Farmers Market to say hi, buy some sauce, and watch a cooking demo on making Ratatouille from frozen veggies. Proceeds of the sales go to support Farm to Freezer and its work with Bethesda Cares.

  • Meet N’ Greet With the Nature Conservancy, Tuesday Nov. 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Founding Farmers, 12505 Potomac Park Avenue, Potomac MD

A green social hour hosted by the DC/MD chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Socializing, networking, and a presentation by John Myers, deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s Carribean Program. Registration required, and the event is $15/person.

RSVP to getoutside@tnc.org

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.