Uptown residents install community garden
Join us in congratulating the Fifth and Poplar Condominium residents on the new community garden they constructed! Here at Sustain Charlotte, we believe that everyone should have access to fresh, nutritious food. We love to see neighbors partner to make their sustainable vision a reality!
Residents pitched in to bring the new garden to life!
Growing food close to where we live brings so many benefits:
It's environmentally sustainable: Every pound of food grown at home means a pound of food that doesn't have to be trucked in by vehicles that use fossil fuels and contribute to air pollution.
It's economically sustainable: Growing the right crops at home can result in big savings in the family food budget.
It's socially sustainable: Charlotte has over 60 food deserts where residents don't have close access to full-service grocery stores. Gardens can be planted almost anywhere to provide fresh produce in areas where it isn't available at stores. Community gardens also bring neighbors together to work towards the common goal of bringing in a great harvest!
Here's what Dan Buchanan, the project organizer, told us about this effort:Read more
Sustain Charlotte honors over 70 sustainability leaders at awards event
Against the stunning backdrop of the LaCa Projects Gallery in Uptown, Sustain Charlotte welcomed over 300 guests to celebrate the achievements of dozens of sustainability leaders based in the Charlotte region.
Awards were given to First, Second, and Third Place winning organizations in the categories of Energy, Food, Land Use, Social Equity, Sustainable Economy, Transportation, Waste Reduction, and Water. Click here to learn more about the work of the winners and all of our nominees!
Our judges bestowed this year's highly coveted Outstanding Leader Award on Damon Barron, founder of Treecycle America. Damon's passion for keeping Charlotte's fallen trees out of the landfill and crafted into beautiful products is so inspirational!
Outstanding Leader winners Jill Walker (3rd), Damon Barron (1st), Bill Zuehlke (2nd)!
Learning about sustainable development at our April mixer
April is our favorite month because it's time to celebrate Earth Day and host our annual Sustain Charlotte Awards honoring local excellence in sustainability! Our staff and about 70 of our friends kicked the month off on Tuesday at the Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer at Wooden Robot.
Dylan McKnight spoke about the transformative work that Stantec, a Silver Partner of Sustain Charlotte, is doing to create vibrant, people-oriented communities near Charlotte and across the country. Stantec employs over 15,000 people in more than 250 locations to provide professional consulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics.
Dylan McKnight explained how Stantec designs sustainable neighborhoods and projects.Read more
Walkable South End: What works and what doesn't
Have you ever walked around Charlotte's South End and wondered why some locations consistently stand out as neighborhood gathering places while other spots are just dull and uninviting?
It turns out that most great places have at least one thing in common: They're built on a human scale to create just the right amount of interaction between public and private space.
Local urban designer and architect David Walters recently led a short Jane's Walk through the South End neighborhood near the East/West light rail station. Named for city planning advocate Jane Jacobs, these free community-led walking tours occur in cities and towns throughout the world.
The goal of the walk was to visit examples of urban design at its best and worst.
Our first stop was Big Ben's Pub. Despite being a mostly indoor venue, the pub wisely created a dining area on the back deck where patrons can interact with the public space.
Outdoor decks and patios invite pedestrians to linger and interact with each other.Read more
Kicking off a sustainable new year!
Wooden Robot was a popular venue for our Five Year Birthday Bash last month, so we returned last Tuesday to host our first Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer of 2016! More than 70 of you joined us to learn what we're working on for the new year and to hear about the sustainability practices of our Bronze Partner, Domtar.
We're thrilled to share the news that we raised over $300 at the mixer through our raffle for a quality used bicycle donated by Trips For Kids Charlotte! We know some of you REALLY wanted to win that bike, but you can still find a winning deal by checking out the Re-Cyclery's many awesome bikes available for purchase. They have an incredible variety of adult and children's bikes in stock now. Proceeds from their sales support Trips For Kids' efforts to provide hands-on cycling education and experiences to Charlotte area youth. Talk about a win-win situation!
The proud winner of our raffle prize, a bicycle donated by Trips For Kids Charlotte!Read more
Walk Your Neighborhood inspires pedestrians to explore Plaza Midwood Business District!
The Sustain Charlotte + OrthoCarolina Walk Your Neighborhood project in the Plaza Midwood Business District was a resounding success! Over 120 people from the surrounding neighborhoods spent the afternoon exploring local businesses and destinations on foot!
Hot Topics at October Mixer? Sustainable Construction + Retail!
This month's Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer was a big one! About 60 old and new friends joined us as Gold Partners DPS Construction and Belk talked about their inspiring sustainability practices.
Our new Bicycle Program Director, Jordan Moore, introduced himself and discussed his role in building Charlotte's cycling community so more people will ride for transportation. If you love riding a bike or using any other type of sustainable transportation (or want to find out how easy it is!), join us for our very first Biketoberfest next Saturday, October 17! You'll bike, walk, or ride transit to fun destinations around Center City and South End to earn stamps in your official Biketoberfest passport. The more stamps you collect, the more chances you'll have to win a TREK bicycle and other fabulous prizes. Tickets are only $15 and that includes a Recover t-shirt, craft beer, and after party concert at Triple C! Kids can join in the fun for free with a registered adult. Click here to buy tickets and join us!
You can help us make Biketoberfest a success by volunteering. We have 5 shifts available, including several that would still allow you to participate in the main event. Click here to volunteer.
Mixer attendees learn how a small business is committed to sustainability
Have you ever wondered how a local business can be more sustainable? Sustain Charlotte's Silver Partner Pasta & Provisions, Charlotte's family-owned Italian grocery and fresh pasta maker, is a great example of how a small business can do many seemingly small things that add up to make a difference.
During our August Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer, Tommy George, owner of Pasta & Provisions, inspired the audience by sharing the many ways in which his business is contributing to a more sustainable Charlotte community.
Tommy George discussed Pasta & Provisions' commitment to sustainability.
Tommy George and his wife, Debbie, opened Pasta & Provisions in 1992 in its current Myers Park location in Charlotte. From the very beginning, Tommy George had sustainability on his mind. First things first, he told mixer attendees, he was determined to get a recycling bin on the property. While it was bit of a challenge to get the property owner to give up a parking space, Tommy was eventually successful in his request.
Over 20 years later, the George's business has embraced sustainability in various ways:
Before you even enter the store, a sticker on the door that says "please remember to BYOB" reminds customers to bring in their reusable bag. Pasta & Provisions distributed 500 reusable shopping bags.
Employees also reflect the business's dedication to sustainability by asking "do you need a bag?" at check-out.
Tommy told mixer attendees about the creative way that he has encouraged sustainability around one of his top-selling items -- olive oil. Pasta & Provisions has 7 olive oils on tap! If that isn't cool enough, Tommy also encourages customers to re-use olive oil jars by allowing them to bring back their old jar for a re-fill. And, Tommy shared, if you forget your jar, no problem, you can grab a coffee cup from your car and fill that up with your favorite olive oil instead!
And it doesn't stop there. Customers can also get a discount by bringing in their own containers to fill with pasta sauce.
Pasta & Provisions has also committed to purchasing food packaging that is both sustainable and meets the needs of his business.
These are all examples of the creative ways in which a business owner can incorporate the mindset of sustainability into their business culture and practice. We're so grateful for the generous support of Pasta & Provisions and all of our partners. To learn how Sustain Charlotte can partner with your organization, visit our partnership page.
Grier Heights youth uncover hidden costs of transportation choices
When we educate residents about the impact of our area's sprawling land use patterns and transportation habits, we usually share the statistic that the average Mecklenburg County household spends 26 percent of their income on transportation costs, much more than the national average of 19 percent (learn more in our 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card).
But for teens who have never been behind the wheel, that's a very abstract idea. Last Friday, we created and facilitated a game to bring this statistic to life.
Teens in Grier Heights mapped areas they'd like to access by bike, walking, or transit.Read more
Children in West Charlotte Plan Their Neighborhood's Future
The key to fulfilling a great plan is beginning with a bold vision.
Last week, Sustain Charlotte staff taught children at the Southview Recreation Center in West Charlotte what sustainability means and how they can help to make their neighborhood more sustainable. This follows our visioning workshop with teens last month at the nearby Arbor Glen Outreach Center.
Recreation Specialist Korey Townsend showed the children his drawing of a sustainable neighborhood.Read more