2020 PILOT PROGRAM

Climate Victory Garden

Is your backyard sustainable, native and regenerating? The Climate Victory Garden is an educational program along with professional training in sustainable landscaping. Discover the best practices for a healthy back yard.

Our choices can have a significant positive or negative impact on water and air pollution, energy usage, health, native wildlife, and our wallets as well. Sustainable Landscaping encompasses all of the practices that help us to reduce the negative impacts of landscape maintenance activity, whether on an individual basis or on a commercial scale as practiced by larger organizations.We can make a difference for the environment, local ecosystems and add to our individual resilience and sustainability.

Historical Perspective
& Looking forward

During WWI and WWII, the US government with the leadership of Herbert Hoover, then head of the US Food Administration, asked its citizens to support the war effort by starting “victory gardens” to grow their own food so that more food exports could be sent overseas to support its allies in Europe.

Today, the idea of “Climate Victory Gardens” promotes the same sense of urgency and collective action by encouraging people to plant local gardens to help combat an impending threat that jeopardizes everyone: climate change.The research is clear that we need to act aggressively on the climate crisis. Our food system is a big part of the problem, emitting between one quarter and one third of the world’s greenhouse gases.

Research shows that agriculture and gardening are a great way to do both—pull carbon out of the air and slow emissions. The key underlying concept here is ‘regenerative’ farming, a type of practice that turns dead or degraded dirt into rich, biodiverse soil that acts as a carbon sink. Scientists with Project Drawdown, a nonprofit founded by bestselling author Paul Hawken, conservatively estimate that regenerative farming practices will increase by 1 billion acres by 2050, which would draw 23.2 gigatons of CO2-equivalent from the atmosphere.

It’s possible, a worldwide switch to regenerative farming, or as we’d like to call it ‘Climate Victory Gardening’ could reverse climate change.

Go Native

When plants that are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions are used for landscaping solutions, there is a time and cost-saving impact due to a reduction in water usage and maintenance. These native species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds for insects, birds, and butterflies. Native species possess their own defenses against pests and diseases, so there is less need for pesticides and fertilizer. That means less fertilizer and pesticide runoff into local streams, rivers, lakes and the Long Island Sound.

sw native

Support for Pollinators

Pollinators have an important job to keep agriculture thriving. They move pollen from flower to flower, thus helping with fertilization for flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables. Native plants also offer bees, birds and butterflies nourishment as they migrate north to south and back again. Harvest your rain and save on your water bill too!

Healthy Soil

Organic lawn care treatments promote deep root systems which lead to better grass growth. Actions such as food composting, grasscycling and mulching are ways to reuse items often hauled away in the trash but properly reused, they provide soil nutrients. Healthy soils contain millions of microbial that are necessary for healthy plants, pesticides kill off the natural goodness of microbial. More space dedicated to a Climate Victory Garden and less space allocated to a lawn will help too. Everything improves with healthier soils – plant vitality, health and safety of humans and pets, and water supply.

Organic Kitchen Gardens

It is rewarding to snip herbs or pluck a few berries or snap peas from a kitchen garden! Gardening as a family activity of planting, maintaining, and harvesting is a triple win – a lesson in plant life cycles, time spent in nature and off-screen and enjoyment of “the fruits” of labor as part of a meal.

Composting

Composting is easier than you think and it makes good sense for a variety of reasons. First, it is something that everyone can do and makes for a great family activity, too!

It is good for the you, the environment and the community. Composting builds community resilience as well as reducing landfilled or burned waste. An added environmental benefit is that composting stores carbon in the soil to protect the climate.  It improves soil erosion, soil structure, soil fertility and plant growth.

To get started or to learn more https://ilsr.org/composting/ or contact your community ‘s Sustainability Committee or  reach out to Sustainable Westchester, we can help mobilize your community. Contact as [email protected].

What Can We Do?
Climate Victory Garden Made Easy in 5 STEPS!

1: Grow food:

Grow what you eat & increase family resiliency!

Your impact reduces food miles, decreases grocery bills, encourages seasonal eating, establishes a close relationship, leads to less waste of food, land and energy resources

2: Cover soils

No mowing! Apply mulch, leave plant residues, plant cover crops, strategically allow weeds

Your impact decreases water use, curbs erosion, and protects local water sources

3: Compost

Turn waste into resource! Compost kitchen and yard wastes, apply compost as fertilizer, share with your neighbors

Your impact repurposes waste, reduces methane (a greenhouse gas) from landfills, increases quality of soil and nutrient density of foods

4: Ditch the chemicals

Eliminate toxins & save money! Fertilize with compost, plant companion crops, use integrated pest management

Your impact decreases pollution from production to run off, reduces input costs, ensures your safety

5: Encourage biodiversity Why? You enjoy & support a beautiful, thriving ecosystem!

Enjoy & support a beautiful, thriving ecosystem. Grow many different plants, feed soil life with compost, plant pollinator habitats

Your impact ensures healthy soils and nutritious foods, balances ecosystems, and keeps pests in check

One more reason to adopt just one initiative: Connect & come together with community. Let’s connect at [email protected]lewestchester.org.

Green Landscaping

Go one step further in terms of sustainability and ELECTRIFY! Electrifying doesn’t have to stop with your heating/cooling or transportation – the environment, air quality and overall community impact is substantial.

Sustainable Westchester has partnered with American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) to assist communities in Westchester to switch over to sustainable practices by creating an aggregate equipment purchasing program, educating the public, commercial operators and municipalities. They are also collaborating by certifying properties as Green Zones.

AGZA is the global leader in low-noise zero-emission grounds maintenance strategies and they help communities with two core services:

  • AGZA SetVice Professional Accreditation: education, training, and accreditation of grounds crews on safe and optimal use of electric equipment.
  • AGZA Green Zone Certification: establishing, monitoring, verifying, certifying and celebrating properties maintained with cleantech and hand tools

For more details and information, visit AGZA