Thursday, May 21, 2015

Save The Swales

New York Urban Gardening
Last year we came up with a plan to clean NYC's waterways.

The problem: When it rains our paved streets send dirty water into our sewers. Overwhelmed with this excess water, our wastewater treatment plants are forced to dump millions of tons of raw sewage and street debris directly into our rivers (this happens over 60 times a year)! Not only does this poison and deteriorate our sensitive river estuaries (home to some incredible creatures like the seahorse) it also endangers thousands of NYers who utilize our waterways for recreation.

The solution: We teamed up with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and Open Source Landscape to revitalize some forgotten pieces of land in Manhattan and turn them into permeable, runoff-filtering, green spaces...called a bioswale.

With the help of 50+ volunteers, a generous donation and ongoing support from the R & R foundation as well as the Citizen's Committee, we were able to complete four more bio-swales in NYC. This now gives the city a grand total of 1,200sq feet of citizen-built swales!

Be sure to check out our new bioswales on Allen street at Broome and Hester. Also sign up for our newsletter to volunteer and receive updates on our bioswales and other community projects this summer. Help make greening our urban spaces community fashionable!

New York Urban Gardening
New York Urban Gardening
New York Urban Gardening
New York Urban Gardening
New York Urban Gardening
Check out more photos on Facebook.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Forage + Flight Free Walk!

It really is spring! We had a beautiful Sunday in Prospect Park with Audubon New York, Prospect Park Alliance and friends! If you missed our wild edible plant and bird walk, you're in luck. We are offering another class this Saturday! RSVP here - 

Photos by our friend John Suhar.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cultivate Fest | Phoenix

cultivate fest phoenix az
We make Chipotle's organic cotton uniforms and merch, so we get to run the merch tent at all the Cultivate Festivals! If you haven't heard of it it - Cultivate is Chipotle's Food, Ideas and Music festival. Basically, it's a full day, equal parts relaxing, learning, tasting and jiving to some tunes. 

We loved the positive energy and beautiful weather in Phoenix, AZ! Our best sellers were the Cultivate a Burritoful World T, all the Dia de los Muertos styles, and the refillable water bottle (online soon!). Lucky us, we got to hang next to the Shophouse booth and fill up on their healthy veggie-piled rice bowls....still thinking of them.

Here are some snapshots for up, Kansas City and Minneapolis. Can't wait!

cultivate fest phoenix az

cultivate fest phoenix az

cultivate fest phoenix az

cultivate fest phoenix az

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Seeds are COCONUTS!

The concept of a seed is mind-boggling. It's something we learn as a kid, but still wrestle with as an adult. Everything for that giant tree is packed into that one little seed that looks nothing like it?! No way. AND that tree will only grow if that genetically-packed seed finds itself into the perfect (not just ideal...perfect) environment. AND each little seed has to be engineered in a way to get to that perfect location by air, by getting stuck to an animal, by getting consumed by an animal, and some by water.

Which brings us to one seed we find particularly interesting...the coconut! A palm tree puts so much energy into producing just a few coconuts each year, with high confidence that a few of them will root and grow on up. When a coconut drops to the ground it might roll a few feet and root and grow up next to mom (but like a human, too much under the fronds of mom could deter their growth), or it could drop in the ocean and get swept down the coast to a new this little one below.
These Talking Heads lyrics capture what this coconut is thinking...
Well...How did I get here? 
Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down 
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground
Ideal Environment - coconuts grow best in an area with sandy and loamy soil, 72 degree temps or above, with 30-50 inches of rain per year (where we grow best too). Until around 80 years, a coconut palm will produce 50 to 200 coconuts each year. Coconut palms grow on or near shorelines so their shallow root system has access to water.
Everyone has been lying to you. Here's the truth - a coconut is really a drupe - a fruit with a hard case around the seed. But really, it falls into the fruit, nut, and seed categories as well (that is confusing and you can read more about here). Each coconut has layers - around the seed there is a fibrous, woody layer, a fleshy layer and an outer layer (typically smooth with a greenish color). The liquid inside is the endosperm, or food for the young seed. 

As the seed matures, the endosperm becomes firmer and will sprout from one of it's eyes. Ah! Each coconut has three pores, called eyes. The shoot will head up and turn into fronds and the roots head down in the opposite direction. It takes 4-10 years for a coconut tree to reach maturity (dwarf trees mature faster). Coconuts reach their full size in about 6 months, but it takes about a year to mature. When they mature this is when they begin to drop from the tree, also when you should be wary of falling coconuts!
Another lie - botanically speaking, the coconut palm is not a tree since there is no bark or branches. A coconut palm is a woody perennial monocotyledon with the trunk being the stem.

Enough thinking...time for a surf.

Friday, April 3, 2015


When two ethically and sustainably minded brands get together for a sample sale...only good things will happen. One day only, so make sure to swing by the Melissa Joy Manning SoHo space on Earth Day for some guilt-free shopping!

In honor of Earth Day we will donate 10% of proceeds to the Clean Water Fund.