Greening Your Community: Saving The Planet One Garden at a Time

Featuring Meteorologist Mike Roberts and Sweet Potato Project’s Sylvester Brown, Jr.

By Gail Wechsler,
Jewish Environmental Initiative

Many people have begun to use their gardens as a tool to care for our planet and to address climate change. One important way to help the planet and to assist communities in need is through creation of native and urban community gardens. Greening Your Community: Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time, a free community wide event, takes place at The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, on Tuesday September 20 from 7 to 9 PM.

The program is sponsored by the Jewish Environmental Initiative, a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JEI), Missouri Interfaith Power and Light (MO IPL) and the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MGC).

“Our program will provide ‘how-to’ information on creating native and pollinator gardens that promote biodiversity as well as community building,” said Emily Andrews, Executive Director of the USGBC-MGC. “Presenters will also share information on how to create gardens in your community or at your house of worship.”

“For some urban gardeners, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods, urban agriculture is about social justice” said Tracey Howe-Koch, Coordinator of MO IPL. “In these neighborhoods, where junk food is more readily available than fresh vegetables and diet-related medical issues are common, urban gardens are a lifeline to better environmental, health and economic outcomes. Our program will focus on several successful gardening programs in St. Louis.”

The event will feature two keynote speakers followed by a panel discussion. The first keynote speaker is Mike Roberts, former meteorologist for KDSK News Channel 5 and a multiple Emmy Award winner and adjunct instructor at Saint Louis University in the department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The second keynote speaker, Sylvester Brown, Jr., is Executive Director of The Sweet Potato Project, a program that teaches at risk youth entrepreneurial skills, including urban farming and marketing skills, and is a former columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The follow-up panel speakers will provide specific suggestions for creating your own native or community garden. They include Dr. KB Frazier of the Cultivating Justice Project, Chris Hartley of the Butterfly House, Kim Reiss of Sugar Creek Gardens and Matt Schindler of Gateway Greening. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jean Ponzi, Green Resources Coordinator at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center.

Greening Your Community: Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time takes place September 20th at The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road 63117, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, with light refreshments served. The event is free, but registration is required at http://bit.ly/Garden092016. For more information, contact Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or gwechsler@jcrcstl.org.