Tags Posts tagged with "sustainability"

sustainability

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San Francisco’s Policy Thumb Gets Greener

By Isabel Wade & Eli Zigas

On a spring morning last week, Mayor Ed Lee signed a bill that places San Francisco at the forefront of major cities supporting urban agriculture.  The law, which changes the city’s zoning code, was the culmination of a year of collaboration between the Mayor, Supervisor David Chiu, the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance and supporters from across the city.

The new law does two things:

1) Makes clear that gardens are welcome in every part of the city.

Previously, the city prohibited the establishment of gardens in certain zones of the city.  Going forward, San Franciscans can start a garden or farm less than one acre in size anywhere in the city with a simple over-the-counter permit.  These gardens can be traditional community gardens or they can be market gardens that grow for sale. Gardens and farms one acre or larger are allowed in the industrial zones of the city, and can also be permitted in other parts of the city after a more lengthy application and hearing process called Conditional Use Authorization.  Home gardens cultivated for personal use are unaffected by this new law.

2) Allows gardeners to sell what they grow. 

Whether it’s to make a little extra cash or to make a living, gardeners and urban farmers in San Francisco can now sell what they grow no matter where they grow it.  A backyard gardener can sell to their neighbor, a community garden can make a deal with the local corner grocer, and an urban farm can start a CSA or supply produce to a restaurant.  Sales are permitted both at the garden site itself as well as off-site.  And, San Francisco took a unique step among cities by explicitly allowing gardens outside of residential areas to sell value-added goods such as jams, pickles, and other processed products so long as they follow health code regulations and the primary ingredients are grown and produced on-site.

By passing this law, San Francisco is encouraging the development of urban agriculture throughout the city. Theunanimous support of the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor demonstrates an understanding that urban gardens and farms provide open space in our dense city, offer “green thumb” jobs, serve as a source of fresh produce in “food deserts”, build community, and allow city residents to connect with and better understand the food system.  This understanding comes from the success of numerous model projects that have sprung up in recent years.  Gardens such as the Quesada Gardens InitiativeFree Farm, and 18th & Rhode Island Garden all provide examples of vacant, untended areas turned into vibrant, welcoming greenspace.  Those gardens, and others such as Alemany Farm and Hayes Valley Farm bring together hundreds of volunteers to dig in the dirt and build something meaningful together.  Meanwhile, small businesses such as Little City Gardens and SF Landscapes will now have the legal backing to sell produce grown in residential areas to their neighbors and others throughout the city. Altogether, these gardens — whether they grow for sale or not  — strengthen their neighborhoods and communities by bringing people together out of their homes and around a specific place and their harvest.

While this change to the zoning code is a great step forward for San Francisco, we believe it is only a first step forward.  Other actions that would enhance food production and the city’s sustainability deserve attention as well.  Foremost among them is land access and land tenure.  San Francisco is a dense city where available land commands a pretty penny. Though the zoning code change allows gardens throughout the city, it doesn’t create any new ones nor does it protect spaces that are obvious choices for food production or neighborhood greenspace.  The City has begun to look for vacant public land suitable for urban agriculture, but we should also consider other space that could be converted to gardens.  Taking advantage of our urban setting, San Francisco could follow in Seattle’s footsteps by allowing rooftop greenhouses dedicated to food production to exceed existing height limitations. Moreover, building codes could be altered to require roof strengthening and appropriate plumbing in all new structures in order to allow rooftop gardening. Another critical step to foster more food production is the establishment of Neighborhood Food Hubs where residents could pick up mulch, compost, and tools for their backyard and community gardening efforts. Further north, the City of Vancouver, Canada envisions these hubs to also offer places to cook, taking cooking lessons, can and pickle. These are just a few examples of further policy steps the City could take.

After the Mayor signed the zoning ordinance into law, we all raised our plates for a “salad toast” to celebrate the occasion. We look forward to many future “salad toast” to a more resilient city at garden ground-breakings, rooftop plantings, and more.


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San Francisco, 

Residents enjoy the clear streets in San Francisco’s Mission District Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the return of Sunday Streets to the streets of San Francisco with a full schedule of car-free events, starting Sunday, March 20 th , along the Embarcadero and a new Chinatown-North Beach route this summer.  The inaugural event held along the Embarcadero for the fourth year in a row marks the beginning of the eight-month Sunday Streets 2011 season.
“I am delighted to announce the return of one of the City’s most exciting initiatives, Sunday Streets,” said Mayor Lee. “And this year, I’m pleased to announce a new route in the Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods. Now, more than ever, it is community building programs, such as Sunday Streets, that are critical to our City’s well-being.”
Founded by former Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2008, Sunday Streets has grown from two events to nine and creates miles of car-free space on City roads. San Francisco was the third city in the United States to premier this free, community-oriented initiative. Since then it has become the nation’s largest such event, and one of the City’s most exciting initiatives promoting benefits such as biking, walking, recreation, and community-building.
“We at the SFMTA are delighted and honored to serve as the City’s lead agency for Sunday Streets,” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. “This program plays an important role in promoting sustainable transportation, revitalizing neighborhoods and connecting diverse communities across San Francisco.”
The popular program attracts 15,000-20,000 participants at every event and enjoys widespread support from residents, businesses and visitors.
“Sunday Streets for a fourth year in a row has offered a fun car-free alternative that encourages healthy physical activities and educates people about sustainable living,” said President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu. “I am thrilled that Sunday Streets will be adding a new route in District 3 this summer that connects Chinatown and North Beach.”
Sunday Streets 2011 brings exciting new developments, including:

    · New hours – starting and ending an hour later each day – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm;
    · Revised program guidelines that create more opportunities for locally produced activities, performances and programs along each route; and
    · A new route in Chinatown-North Beach – date to be announced soon.

Official Sunday Streets activities include free bike rentals (donated by Bike & Roll, Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bike Rentals & Tours), bike repairs and SF Bicycle Coalition-led bike education classes, the Funky Town Roller Disco presented by David Miles and California Outdoor Rollersports Association, kids’ activities led by the YMCA and a pet information and services area coordinated by Happy Hounds Massage, as well as other featured programs throughout the season.
Program highlights of the March 20 th 3.3-mile route along the Embarcadero include:
Program highlights of the March 20 th 3.3-mile route along the Embarcadero include:

    · Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District’s 3rd Annual Family Fitness Fair (Embarcadero at Jefferson and Powell);
    · Rock the Bike’s pedal-powered stage with special musical guests (East Park, south of PIER 39);
    · Department of Public Works (DPW) and SF Arts Commission’s “Free Wall” street art (Rincon Park, Embarcadero near Folsom); and
    · Activities for kids of all ages at South Beach Park (north of AT&T Park) and the new Mission Bay Park on Terry Francois, near Pier 52.

Sunday Streets partners include the Mayor’s Office, SFMTA, Board of Supervisors, DPW, Recreation & Park Dept, and the Police. Fiscal Sponsor Livable City is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program. The SF Bicycle Coalition runs Sunday Streets’ volunteer program and the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross provides medical support. Clear Channel and the SF Examiner are media sponsors.
Support for Sunday Streets is augmented by generous contributions from private sector partners, with Bank of America as the Lead Sponsor for Sunday Streets in 2011.

“Bank of America is excited to help make Sunday Streets even bigger and better for the community.” said Martin Richards, San Francisco Market President at Bank of America. “As one of the oldest and largest companies in San Francisco, it makes perfect sense for Bank of America to work with the City and nonprofit organizer Livable City to elevate the program in a way that encourages healthy living and a greater sense of community.”

Major sponsorship for Sunday Streets also includes AT&T, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Shape Up SF (a program of the Dept of Public Health and Dept of Children Youth and Families), California Pacific Medical Center, PG &E, Lennar, Clif Kid, City CarShare, The Exploratorium, REI, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the California Academy of Sciences, Darling, International and CH2MHILL.

Sunday Streets 2011 Season Schedule:
Support for Sunday Streets is augmented by generous contributions from private sector partners, with Bank of America as the Lead Sponsor for Sunday Streets in 2011.
“Bank of America is excited to help make Sunday Streets even bigger and better for the community.” said Martin Richards, San Francisco Market President at Bank of America. “As one of the oldest and largest companies in San Francisco, it makes perfect sense for Bank of America to work with the City and nonprofit organizer Livable City to elevate the program in a way that encourages healthy living and a greater sense of community.”

Major sponsorship for Sunday Streets also includes AT&T, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Shape Up SF (a program of the Dept of Public Health and Dept of Children Youth and Families), California Pacific Medical Center, PG &E, Lennar, Clif Kid, City CarShare, The Exploratorium, REI, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the California Academy of Sciences, Darling, International and CH2MHILL.

Sunday Streets 2011 Season Schedule:
“Bank of America is excited to help make Sunday Streets even bigger and better for the community.” said Martin Richards, San Francisco Market President at Bank of America. “As one of the oldest and largest companies in San Francisco, it makes perfect sense for Bank of America to work with the City and nonprofit organizer Livable City to elevate the program in a way that encourages healthy living and a greater sense of community.”
Major sponsorship for Sunday Streets also includes AT&T, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Shape Up SF (a program of the Dept of Public Health and Dept of Children Youth and Families), California Pacific Medical Center, PG &E, Lennar, Clif Kid, City CarShare, The Exploratorium, REI, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the California Academy of Sciences, Darling, International and CH2MHILL.

Sunday Streets 2011 Season Schedule:
Major sponsorship for Sunday Streets also includes AT&T, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Shape Up SF (a program of the Dept of Public Health and Dept of Children Youth and Families), California Pacific Medical Center, PG &E, Lennar, Clif Kid, City CarShare, The Exploratorium, REI, San Francisco Federal Credit Union, the California Academy of Sciences, Darling, International and CH2MHILL.
Sunday Streets 2011 Season Schedule:
Sunday Streets 2011 Season Schedule:

    · March 20: Embarcadero from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Bay
    · April 10: Great Highway and Golden Gate Park
    · May 8: Mission, including the popular route along 24th and Valencia Streets
    · June 12: Bayview, on 3rd Street from Mission Bay, Dogpatch to Bayview Opera House
    · July 10: Great Highway and Golden Gate Park #2
    · August 14: Civic Center and the Tenderloin
    · September 11: Western Addition, North Panhandle, Alamo Square and Fillmore
    · Summer: Chinatown and North Beach
    · October 23: Mission #2

Sunday Streets Information: SundayStreetsSF.com . Volunteer Information: SundayStreetsSF.com/volunteer .  MUNI routes and vehicle access, call 311 or go to sfgov.org/311 .

 

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Thanks to all of you who joined the NEN Clean & Green Summit 2010. “One of the best-run City events I’ve ever attended” was just one of the many comments we got at the end of the day.

Check out this NENtv recap to find out more about the day, what NEN Director Daniel Homsey thinks about the extraordinary people who gravitate to the NEN Summits, and what Green Zebra’s Anne Vollen thinks about thoughtful buying and Amazon.com.

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From the NENtv archive: In this fourth of four parts (see part 1, part 2, and part 3 for previous episodes) we return for our retrospective of the NEN Clean & Green Summit 2008 as the NEN’s Daniel Homsey visits Casa Verde in the Mission District, which many believe to be San Francisco’s greenest house.

After you’ve seen the video, register for the bigger and better NEN Clean & Green Summit 2010, which takes place May 15th. See you there!

From the NENtv archive:In this third of four parts (for more, see part 1, part 2, and part 4) we return for our retrospective of the NEN Clean & Green Summit 2008 as the NEN’s Daniel Homsey tours the Mission District to discover some of the neighborhood’s best green secrets.

In this episode, Daniel talks with Astrid Haryati, Greening Director with the Mayor’s Office, about why breaking up the sidewalk can be good for everybody. Then, Daniel gets wowed at Balmy Alley, where grassroots leaders responded to graffiti with some of the most impressive murals and culture in San Francisco. Finally, we meet Tree from the Treat Commons Community Garden at 23rd & Treat St to discuss purple carrots and the Free Farm Stand. Purple carrots? Now we’ve seen it all!

Once you’ve watched the video, register for the bigger and better NEN Clean & Green Summit 2010. See you there!

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From the NENtv archive: In this second of four parts (for more, see part 1, part 3, and part 4) we return for our retrospective of the NEN Clean & Green Summit 2008 as Daniel Homsey pins down three special guests for their green insights.

Gia Grant from Clean City Coalition explains how the Coalition helps people to navigate the labyrinth of government – an arduous task at the best of times – to get green work done. Patrick Farjas, a chef at the California Culinary Academy, explains why all the foods at the Summit are babies (star quote: “When I came in the 80s, I asked for a carrot and I was getting the things we were feeding the animals in France”). Watch the video to see what we mean by “babies”. Lastly, Brent Schulkin from Carrotmob discusses how the profit motive that drives corporations can be used combined with “mob shopping” to form a powerful push for lasting change.

Once you’ve watched the video, don’t forget to register for the bigger and better NEN Clean & Green Summit 2010. See you there!

Daniel Homsey, NEN Director

On Saturday, March 27th at 8:30pm, people all over the world will celebrate Earth Hour by turning off their lights and spend an hour exploring ways to live more sustainably. This will be the third year that we’ve participated as a City in this global event and each time it has occurred under different circumstances.

The first year San Francisco was an early adopter of the initiative and our participation was promoted as the vanguard for cities around the world. In 2009, we came together as a community and held events all over the city every hour on the hour to make the “Earth Hour” more of an all day event. Last year was also the first year we hosted an event during the actual “Earth Hour” to honor and celebrate the organizations who work every day to make our city a more sustainable place to live.

2010 affords us an entirely new backdrop to work in. With the unrelenting pressure of budget cuts, staffing Rock the Bike at last year’s Earth Hour reductions and increasing need for services, we as a City are marching forward but need to do more with less. A new narrative to consider when it comes to consuming energy is its actual cost. Americans have rediscovered their “thrift” and are evaluating all areas of their lifestyle looking for ways to save money. Energy consumption is a great place to start, since one can see immediate benefits to one’s pocket book through behavior changes. Saving energy and money has never been so fashionable.

In the end, there are three proven ways to encourage behavior change:

  • Make the behavior too expensive to sustain
  • Peer pressure
  • Education

In my opinion, Earth Hour 2010 accomplishes all three of these approaches, and in the end that is all that matters.

Rock the Bike at last year's Earth Hour

The NEN believes that the way to achieve sustainability / resiliency is by building community. That’s why this year we’re teaming up again with Rock the Bike and the Sustainable Living Roadshow to present The 2010 Earth Hour Community Celebration at the Market Bar at the Ferry Building this Saturday night, March 27th.

The evening will feature live music amplified by Rock the Bike’s human pedal power, carnival fun from the Sustainable Living Roadshow, special bike demonstrations, and some of the latest national bike art. You do not want to miss this showcase spectacular.

The evening starts at 6:30 pm with pedal powered music and the bands will take the stage at 7pm. We’ll have performances by Fossil Fool, Guella, and Fuzzpod.

So join us at the Market Bar, 1 Ferry Building #36, on the Embarcadero. To get there, we suggest going by bicycle, public transit, or on foot. The event starts at 6pm, lights out are at 8:30pm, and music ends at 11pm.

2010 has proven to afford all of us the chance to explore uncharted territory and in the end we’ll make it through if we stick together as a community.

See you and your friends Saturday Night. And don’t forget to turn off your lights.

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Join Mennonite Disaster Service member, Wayne Stucky, as he discusses the recovery efforts being made by faith-based organizations in Lyons, Colorado.