Tag Archives: sustainability

Notes from the Farm: Summertime Activity in Full Swing

By Josh Corlew, Hands On Nashville Urban Agriculture Program Manager

garlic4
Crop City participants show off some of the recently-harvested garlic

Welcome to summer!

We hope all of you had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday in the company of good friends, loving family, and (of course) delicious food!

Out at the Farm, these long summer days and warm summer nights are translating into a big growth spurt for many of our crops. Plenty of garlic has already been pulled, the tomatoes and peppers will provide a steady harvest for the next month and a half, our sunflowers are beaming, and the bush beans are taking off like wildfire.

There have also been some pretty significant changes made on the grounds of the Urban Farm over the course of the past month or so as well. Most notably, we have completed installation of the Butterfly Garden between our vegetable fields. This beautiful space will provide a great habitat for all of the beneficial insects that help make our vegetables healthy and happy. We encourage visitors to come enjoy the view of the new garden from one of the nearby swing sets!

Apprentices lead Crop City participants through a brainstorming game.
Apprentices lead Crop City participants through a brainstorming game.

As we mentioned in our last update, the summer youth development program Crop City is in full swing and will continue to take place every weekday until July 19. Over 200 youth come out to the Farm every week to participate in Crop City and learn about sustainable growing and the importance of healthy eating.

Overseeing all of this activity and leading the programming for Crop City is our talented team of 15 Urban Farm Apprentices. Our Apprentices have been doing an amazing job running the program and engaging Crop City campers while also gaining valuable leadership skills, and the program certainly would not be the success that it is without them!

Click here to learn more about each of these outstanding high school students who are making a real difference this summer.

Sifting compost is just one of many activities planned for the upcoming Urban Farm Summer Camp.
Sifting compost is just one of many activities planned for the upcoming Urban Farm Summer Camp.

Finally, we will be offering an Urban Farm Summer Camp program from July 22 to July 26 for 9- to 13-year old boys and girls. This curriculum for this camp will be very similar to that of Crop City, and it will also be led by our Apprentices. Participants will be immersed in an experienced-based learning environment full of delicious vegetables, colorful flowers, and a variety of fun and educational games. We’d love to have you join us for this fun and educational experience so click here to learn more and sign up!

And of course, if you have any other questions about the Urban Farm, please email me at josh@hon.org. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Farm updates throughout the growing season!

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josh2Josh Corlew is Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program Manager. He oversees the organization’s efforts to engage volunteers in service opportunities that empower them to gain gardening skills, learn about healthy eating choices, and help address our city’s food access issues. An AmeriCorps alumnus, Josh also has a secret past life as a Trekkie (he’s a big fan of the TV series Star Trek, for the uninitiated among us), and he has been known to participate in death-defying canoe trips.

Sycamore Pop Up Dinner

Chef Galzin, his wife Caroline, and Jackalope Brewmaster Bailey at the last pop-up dinner in November.
Chef Galzin, his wife Caroline, and Jackalope Brewmaster Bailey at the last pop-up dinner in November.

Sycamore Pop Up Dinner
Sunday, January 27
Cafe Fundamental, 1115 Porter Road
$70 per person (includes four courses with cocktail pairings)

On January 27, Sycamore Nashville is hosting yet another pop-up dinner benefiting the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm. This is the second in a series of several pop-up dinners both Chef Galzin and his wife Caroline have initiated since moving to Nashville in July. (Also, right after moving to town, Chef Galzin spent a day at the Farm teaching youth how to make a healthy dish from the veggies they helped to grow.)

As they make plans for their first restaurant together, the Galzins have caused

Wine-braised Pork Sugo with house made pasta from November's dinner. YUM! We can't wait to see what's served this round.
Wine-braised Pork Sugo with house made pasta from November’s dinner. YUM! We can’t wait to see what’s served this round.

quite a pop-up craze. Their innovative approach not only educates the Nashville community on sustainable practices, but also brings together resources that benefit the local community in a unique way. At their last dinner, Chef Galzin used a whole hog from Phillips Pharm in Davidson County, while carefully explaining his process of using the entire pig to prepare the meal. He reflected on the beauty of food, the culinary responsibility we all have, and the work that we do to support the farming communities here locally. The beer pairings added some laid-back spunk to the dinner, too. Did we mention that proceeds from this dinner were donated to the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm? Philanthropy is a key goal and something they’d like to keep integral in their planning as they prepare for a future restaurant. (Now you know why we love them so much!)

The first course from November's dinner at Jackalope featured Rillette, City Ham and Pate. Pure deliciousness.
The first course from November’s dinner at Jackalope featured Rillette, City Ham and Pate. Pure deliciousness.

If you weren’t able to attend their last night of deliciousness, you best get your tickets for January’s event happening at Cafe Fundamental, with proceeds again benefiting the HON Urban Farm. This month’s special will feature four-course meals using two whole lambs from Philips Pharm and special craft cocktails from PourTaste mixologists Jon and Lindsay Yeager. Tickets are $70 per person – and are about to sell out. Click here and purchase yours today. See you at the table!

We Value Sustainability

By Jaclyn Khoury
Hands On Nashville’s Director of Sustainability

Hands On Nashville has recently launched its new sustainability webpage! Check out our new initiatives and happenings.

In the past two years, Hands On Nashville has created three exciting programs to help serve the needs of our community in the wake of the May 2010 floods. Each of these programs are focused on engaging volunteers in long-term recovery while sharing a common thread of sustainability. Each have a strong emphasis on conservation of resources, environmental stewardship, and awareness within our communities; as a result we are able to better address current community needs while reducing the threat of future natural disasters.

In addition to our programming we strive to make our workspace as healthy and green as possible. Earlier this year, we moved into a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver office space, an old historical adaptive reuse building.

Our office has also committed to taking the Mayor’s Workplace Challenge this spring, and we were proud to receive the highest rating of gold. The challenge is a new city initiative to recognize and encourage organizations’ efforts to be green, healthy, and involved in the community. Businesses and organizations can click here to sign up for the challenge. An online scorecard includes questions about workplace policies and practices as it relates to being green, healthy, and promoting volunteerism.

To sign up to volunteer with any of our in-house programs, click here. We look forward to seeing you on the volunteer project site!

About Jaclyn: As Hands On Nashville’s Director of Sustainability, Jaclyn developed the organization’s Home Energy Savings Program, which launched in early 2011. She works with volunteers, homeowners, and her hands to create more sustainable homes in Nashville’s low-income neighborhoods. Before her move to Nashville in 2009, Jaclyn worked with Habitat for Humanity as a Construction Facilitator in Minneapolis and Central America. As a LEED ID+C and certified energy auditor, Jaclyn is determined and devoted in her commitment to integrate sustainability into the fabric of working communities. She recently earned a Master’s Degree in Sustainability and Green Building from Lipscomb University. She has a passion for mangos, hand stands, and hand-written letters.

Mr. Danridge and the Case of the Caulking Gun

Guest post by volunteer Jessica Siegel –

If you had asked me last month what a caulking gun was used for, I would have made up an answer that was 99% likely to be wrong – but not anymore!

In late February, I joined six of my coworkers from the Grand Ole Opry to help Hands On Nashville make a home more energy efficient and weather proof, and that’s how I met Mr. Danridge* and learned exactly what one does with a caulking gun!

Having no home improvement experience beyond painting, I was a little nervous as I drove up to Mr. Danridge’s East Nashville home to join the HON crew. However, as soon as we began our initial project overview, our leader Jaclyn put my mind at ease. Many of the projects were simple tasks that just took a few minutes to learn, but make such a big difference in the homes once they are installed! It was amazing to learn that by simply replacing the shower heads and adding some thermometers to the refrigerator and weather stripping to the doors, Mr. Danridge would be saving a significant amount in bills each month. I even purchased a reusable air filter for my own condo this week, thanks to what I learned at the HON site!

Having some fun with the caulking guns!

After completing some of these minor tasks, I moved on to my big project of the day – caulking the living room to seal out any air that may sneak in through the cracks in the wood paneling. After several attempts, and a lot of caulk on my clothes, I think I finally perfected the art, and we got some great photos in the meantime!

It was truly inspiring to meet Mr. Danridge, a kind older gentleman suffering from dementia, and to talk with him about his home and his family, knowing that we were helping improve his home and lessen his financial burden. It was also unique to spend time outside of work with my coworkers, doing good for others.

A job well done - The crew added an insulating wrap to Mr. Danridge's water heater to make it more efficient. HON's Jaclyn Khoury, left, provided expert guidance.

Thanks Hands On Nashville for the opportunity, and I look forward to more caulking experiences (or whatever the project may call for) with you!

*Name has been changed to respect privacy.

Jessica Siegel is Events Assistant at Grand Ole Opry. Thanks to Jessica and all of the Grand Ole Opry employees who volunteered at Mr. Lockridge’s home! Interested in getting involved in HON’s Home Energy Savings Program? Learn more here.

The Grand Ole Opry volunteer crew, after a satisfying day.

Happy 1st Birthday, HES Program!

Making a Difference One Attic at a Time…

By Jaclyn Khoury, Hands On Nashville’s Director of Sustainability

The Home Energy Savings (HES) Program is celebrating its ONE (!) year anniversary this month.  It feels like a lifetime of accomplishment has been packed into these past twelve months, thanks to the help of 264 volunteers who worked hard to improve the energy efficiency of nearly 40 low-income homes in North and East Nashville.  As we analyze the utility bills of each home before and after each project, we are able to see the environmental, economic, and social impact of our work. Each metric adds up to make Nashville a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable community:

•    kilowatts of electricity saved
•    reduction in each homeowner’s utility bills
•    reduction in CO2 emissions
•    safer, more comfortable homes
•    increased homeowner awareness
•    community/neighborhood building

My desk is a living collage of all the wonderful things homeowners have given to me in humble thanks – from cards and poems to plants. I work with a lot of elderly widows that are astounded that a young woman would crawl in their attic space just to help lower their utility bills. Sometimes I show homeowners their attic space for the first time in their 30+ years of living in a home, and they are so curious and mystified… it’s like we’ve made a voyage to the moon.

Schneider Electric volunteers examine Ms. Smith's ceiling for air leaks.

One particular homeowner, Ms. Smith*, took notice of my paint-covered work boots while inspecting her home.  As we sat at her kitchen table going over the importance of shutting off lights, she said, “my, your feet must ache being in those all day.” I smiled and didn’t think much of it.

Three weeks later, 20 employees from Schneider Electric and C & W Weatherization spent the better half of a day helping weatherize Ms. Smith’s home.  All afternoon she sat at her kitchen table feverishly knitting.  The volunteers did a great job and heart felt “thank you’s” were exchanged all around at the end of the day.

Ms. Smith knew I would be working on her neighbor’s house the following week.  Mid-day while I was working in her neighbor’s front yard, Ms. Smith came up the street with a freshly finished pair of knit slippers for me.  She said, “I don’t have much money, but I know everyone needs a place to rest their feet, so I made you these, I hope you like the colors I picked.”  The knot in my throat made it hard to say thank you, I was so deeply touched.

Schneider Electric volunteers secure a window in Ms. Smith's home to be more air tight.

This week we ran the utility analysis on Ms. Smith’s utility bills. In the eight months since we completed work on her home, she has saved $654 on her bills compared to the previous year. That is $654 she can put towards more pressing needs like food, medicine, and transportation.  Furthermore, we saved 6,812 kWh**, and 10,218 pounds of CO2 emissions for Nashville residents to breathe easier.

With generous investments from The River Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, The T&T Family Foundation, and Ingram Industries, Inc., we are rolling up our sleeves to complete 280 homes in 2012 and 2013.  This will be no small feat, and it will take the many hands and hard work of volunteers like you to make this happen.

Click here to find out how to get involved.

*Name is changed to respect privacy.
**kWh=1,000 kilowatts (electricity is measured in kilowatts)

About Jaclyn: As Hands On Nashville’s Director of Sustainability, Jaclyn developed the organization’s Home Energy Savings Program, which launched in early 2011. She works with volunteers, homeowners, and her hands to create more sustainable homes in Nashville’s low-income neighborhoods. Before her move to Nashville in 2009, Jaclyn worked with Habitat for Humanity as a Construction Facilitator in Minneapolis and Central America. As a LEED ID+C and certified energy auditor, Jaclyn is determined and devoted in her commitment to integrate sustainability into the fabric of working communities. She is currently a student at Lipscomb University pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainability and Green Building.