Tag Archives: nature

take pride in being outside

15 Feb

photo-5Many of us spend our days indoors.

Whether we are teaching, marketing, trading, defending, problem solving, designing, entertaining, creating, consulting, financing, advising or diagnosing we do much of it inside.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. A significant amount of time indeed!

Being indoors can certainly impact your life as most of us sit for long periods of time, and breathe in lots of indoor air.

We are here to help inspire that remaining 10% (if not more) of your time to be spent outdoors, even in winter time. Read below for 5 daily outdoor and wellness tips for each part of your workday:

Before work:

  1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to go for a walk outside. If you live in the country, take a walk around your yard. City dwellers take a walk to your nearest park. Bring your beloved coffee/tea in a to-go cup, sip as you go.
  2. Take a look at some early morning outdoor exercise programs like an outdoor bootcamp.
  3. If it’s cold out, prepare yourself by layering, and keeping your extremities warm and bundled (hat, scarf, gloves, boots).
  4. When the sun is shining earlier in the day, wake up with the sun for even more time outdoors.
  5. Soak up your vitamin D: try for at least 5-10 minutes of sunlight in the morning, and bask in it’s glow.

During work: 

  1. Get up from your desk every hour to stretch and get your blood flowing. Check out some simple yoga poses you can do while at your desk.
  2. At lunchtime, try to step away from your screen and prepare your lunch while clearing your head. Eat mindfully, focusing on chewing properly. Connect with coworkers, and have a chat/laugh a little! If you are working solo, play some music or daydream. If you must eat at your desk, catch up on some reading.
  3. In cold weather, eat by a cracked window to breathe in some fresh air.
  4. In warmer weather, eat alfresco.
  5. Consider a stand-up desk.

After work: 

  1. When you return home put your clothes, bag, coat etc… away in it’s proper place. Expending the effort right when you get home will save your sanity in the long run!
  2. Hungry? Have a light snack like nuts, hummus + crackers, fruit, crudités.
  3. After you’ve digested your snack it’s exercise time! Get those sneakers on and go outside for a power walk, jog, bike ride. If it’s warm and you like yoga or pilates, bring your mat to the park, your lawn or roof for an outdoor session. If you have a garden, garden away!
  4. Near a nature preserve, go for a hike, or exercise somewhere with a great view.
  5. In the city, chose to exercise away from traffic fumes.

Weekends: 

Plan outdoor activities with loved ones:

  1. Go for a hike
  2. Take a walking tour of neighborhoods
  3. Garden
  4. Play outside
  5. Go ice skating

Take ownership and pride in being outside! Your body, soul and mind will thank you!

summer plans

30 Jan

IMG_0004Winter is still here, but summer is not that far away!

Come get a head start on your summer plans by visiting us this Saturday at PS 321’s Summer Camp Expo to learn more about our fun-filled food & garden summer camp!

Not only will our Co-Founder and Camp Director be there to answer all of your questions, we will also be sampling our homemade camp snacks like our famous granola bars and giving out some seed packets for garden inspiration.

Our summer camp is all about food! How to grow, harvest, cook, compost, where it comes from, who is behind the scenes, how much energy it takes to get to us, and why it’s good for us. All while having fun in the sun, and enjoying the summer-time to it’s fullest.

For those who sign up for camp at the PS 321 event, we’ll give you an additional $75.00 off, along with our 10% off promotion.

See you there!

urban composting

9 Jan

photo-1What image comes to mind when you think of composting?

For many of you, composting goes hand in hand with open spaces, farms, and backyards.

So what about those folks living in urban settings, where backyards are virtually non-existant and open spaces are confined to city parks and stretches of concrete? Are they compost-exempt?

A recent article in the New York Times graciously lists some city friendly composting devices that will help connect urban dwellers with newfound composting routines, as they make strides in reducing their food waste.

A quick summary:

  • Blanco, a sleek bin embedded into your kitchen counter
  • NatureMill, “compost made easy”
  • Worm Factory 360, if you are comfortable with worms in your apartment, this ones for you!
  • Envirocycle Mini, if you do have access to outdoor space, this could be a great option
  • Vokashi, a compost pick up and drop off service

Inspired?

Check out our food & garden summer camp where we collaborate with master-composters to teach our campers the fundamentals of composting.

Rooftop gardens growing throughout NYC public schools

3 Dec

4127236249_d2d5b01d43All over New York City, farms and gardens are sprouting up on public school roofs, backyard lots and even in their front yards!

Educators and lawmakers alike are beginning to put into practice what many supporters of an edible education have been advocating for years: giving kids an opportunity to plant, grow and harvest during the school day.

In a city where most blocks are lined with a few trees or the occasional flowerbed, schoolyard gardens provide urban students firsthand contact with nature, teaching them how food grows. By getting their hands dirty, they cultivate a more evolved knowledge of what constitutes healthy, natural eating, stressing the importance of fresh produce and the lifecycle of food. The importance of garden-based learning can also be viewed as a potential interactive solution to the ongoing obesity challenge that our country faces.

According to GreenThumb, the number of school-based gardens increased exponentially in the span of two years, from 40 to over 230! GreenThumb has been an excellent source for these initiatives, providing community gardens throughout the city with programming and technical support.

On Avenue B and 5th Street in the East Village, a brand new 2,400-square-foot garden opened at the beginning of the school year. Sitting atop a red-brick building that is home to three separate public schools, the Earth School, Public School 64 and Tompkins Square Middle School, this giant rooftop educational farm was designed by Michael Arad. Arad, also the architect behind the National September 11 Memorial further downtown, was inspired to create the Fifth Street Farm after learning that his own children (former students of the school) were in awe that their crisp and juicy apples once were plucked from trees.

The Horticultural Society of New York has been working with over two dozen schools since 1980, helping them with the design, construction, and education curriculum. The Hort’s mission “is to sustain the vital connection between people and plants” as they help out with the Earth School as well as more recently with four public schools in Queens.

At P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village, the school’s newly opened 15,000-square foot garden is more than a source of fresh produce for lunch, but has really become an outdoor classroom. By teaching kids about art, science, and math through the lens of gardening, their school-day routine becomes more of a hands-on experience.

This summer, for our third year, Butter Beans will be holding our Food & Garden Camp. With a similar mindset as these schools, our goal is to give your children a unique farm-to-table experience. From July to August, we will be covering the gamut of the food cycle from sprouting seeds and harvesting fresh food from rooftop gardens, to writing our very own cookbooks. Visit our website for more information.

For another great examples of greening schools, check out this edible schoolyard in East London, where lots of growing is taking place each day (check out their “lessons in loaf” pictures, they are wonderful!), and get to know Leave It Better, an organization that is accomplishing great feats in greening our local school communities as well.

Photos courtesy of kthread and growtolearn.org

early bird food & garden summer camp special

26 Oct

Being followers of our blog, you may have heard about our food & garden summer camp. It’s a blast for our campers, as they get to explore the New York City foodshed and have fun food adventures!

At camp, we learn all about the food cycle, from sprouting seeds, composting and harvesting fresh produce from local rooftop farms, to writing our very own cookbooks. As the weeks progress our campers have explored farmer’s markets, created their own pickles and preserves, and have made bread and ice cream from scratch!

Our campers learn expert kitchen skills from local chefs, take tours of cheese caves, and trips to master chocolate makers. They also have plenty of opportunities to play outside, and go foraging and berry picking at summer’s peak.

We are offering an early bird special on our camp tuition: sign up by October 31st and receive 15% off camp tuition. Camp runs throughout July & August. For more information visit our website for our printable and online registration form.

Here are some additional details that may help answer some of your questions:

  • Camp runs from 9am-4pm
  • Camp date are: Monday, July 8th to Friday, August 16th.
  • We offer pick up and drop off in Brooklyn or Manhattan.
  • Campers are 6-12 years old.
  • We offer early care from 8-9am and after-care from 4-5pm.
  • Our daily fee includes a morning snack and home cooked lunch, 1 camp t-shirt, transportation to and from trips, and all activity materials.
  • Click here for payment details.