Sep 30th, 2015 | By Nikki Carenza
One of my favorite parts of my internship with Sustainable America this summer was that I was encouraged to explore new ideas I was interested in. While I was researching the green roofing trend, I stumbled upon a rooftop farm in New York City called Brooklyn Grange and signed up for a tour. Learning about the farm inspired me to visit some restaurants that are growing their own food in the city. Here are a few interesting eateries I found.
Aug 31st, 2015 | By Nikki Carenza
Farming may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New York City, but some of its residents have solved the challenge of restricted space by utilizing the city’s most underused space: rooftops. A recent visit to Brooklyn Grange demonstrated how creative farmers today can produce local food no matter where they live.
Mar 9th, 2015 | By Jeremy Kranowitz
Laws against idling vehicles are on the books across the country, but in many places, including New York City, they aren’t heavily enforced. Two New York City Council members are hoping to change that by introducing a bill on Wednesday that will reward citizens for reporting idling violators. If adopted, citizens could upload videos of idling vehicles to a city website and receive a payment if fines are collected.
Mar 21st, 2014 | By Amy Leibrock
A big problem like food waste in America is going to take big ideas to tackle, and that’s why we like the visionary new plan for dealing with New York City’s organic waste floated by a young architecture firm earlier this month. Present Architecture proposed building a network of Green Loops on the waterways surrounding the city that would have a dual purpose: compost organic waste and provide new park space.
Jun 4th, 2012 | By Nicole Rogers
<div class="caption" id="attachment_3574" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mast Brothers, by flickr user EssG (Sean Ganann)</span></div>
What do you get when you mix two bearded Brooklyn chocolatiers (who happen to be brothers), a sailboat captain (and the ship he built in his Cape Cod backyard over 25 years), and a shipment of 20 tons of cocoa sailing from the Dominican Republic to the shipyards of Brooklyn? No, not a Wes Anderson film. You get mountains of red tape, confused Dominican port officials, and a cocoa bean importer flown in to explain why these guys are sailing their cocoa beans on a drug route when it would be much easier to put them on a big ship with hundreds of metal containers.
You also get the beginning of a sea change (sorry, I had to) in the way we think about shipping and local food. Someone had to do it first, and Rick and Michael Mast have paved the way by sailing their annual shipment of cocoa from the Dominican Republic.[^wsj]
Known for small batches and incredible attention to detail, Mast Brothers Chocolate is the first and only bean-to-bar chocolate operation in New York City, and a proud symbol of the Brooklyn local food movement. The beans are roasted on site, chocolate bars are hand-wrapped in paper printed in-house, and the ingredients include only cocoa, sugar and a few bonus ingredients like sea salt from Maine created using solar salt houses - nothing to mask the complex flavor of the carefully sourced cocoa beans.
The brothers with the apropos surname decided a few years ago to set the goal of shipping their beans on wind power. After all, their business is based on a sort of old-is-new model of simplicity, so why not just sail the beans?
As Rick Mast says in the video above, trying to do something that seems simple in such a complex world can be difficult. But as visible members of the local food movement with a product that is decidedly not locally sourced, the Mast brothers have moved heaven and earth to reduce their carbon footprint.
Shipping by sail saved the pollution equivalent of 84 days of travel for a typical passenger automobile. The trailblazing 2011 shipment was the first time a sailing ship had unloaded commercial cargo in New York since 1939. Even with the added expense and headaches of sailing, the brothers plan to, slowly over time, have all of their beans arrive via the power of wind. With experience, each year should make for an easier and more affordable sustainable voyage that is still chocked full of adventure.
Learn more about Mast Brothers Chocolate below.