Green Ossining was founded in 2009 by Ossining residents who were convened by then-Town Supervisor Catherine Borgia (now County Legislator) to create a Climate Action Plan for the municipality. After the Plan was created, the group wanted to continue as a citizens’ action committee to promote environmental sustainability community-wide, and develop practical methods that protect our natural resources. Its mission is to create a community forum for those concerned about the environment and to promote “green’ methods and practices. Members represent a broad cross-section of residents from the town and village of Ossining who donate their time, creativity, and efforts to promoting sustainability.
Green Ossining annually stages the largest Earth Day celebration in Westchester County at Louis Engel Waterfront Park in Ossining. In 2018, more than 4,000 people attended the event which featured over 100 environmentally-focused vendors and many educational opportunities, as well as hands-on activities and a full day of musical performances. In 2019, the Earth Day celebration will take place on Saturday, April 27th.
In its history, Green Ossining has created a number of efforts to educate and engage the community, some among them:
- Westchester County’s first Repair Café (June 2017)
- The Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series (June 2013)
- Semi-annual community wide Tag Sales (enticing the community to meet their neighbors and keep unwanted items out of waste stream)
- Community E-Waste Drives
- Ossining’s Green Food Scene (2017): highlighting local purveyors and their green practices
Promotion and Support of:
- The Great Healthy Yard Project (pesticide-free lawns/gardens)
- Leave-Leaves Alone
- Leaf Blower Ban
- Successful Single Use Plastic Bag Reduction Effort (2015) at the Ossining Farmers Market (Partnering with Riverkeeper, Down to Earth Markets, ECOBAGS)
- Reuseable Bag Initiative (2018)
- Textile Recovery: helped bring textile waste recovery to Ossining and the Ossining Farmers Market
- Brought attention to Municipal Use of Toxic Round-Up (use is now discontinued)
- Storm Drain Stenciling (Partnering with the Village of Ossining and Riverkeeper)
Their newest initiative is the Green Ossining Sustainability Partnership (GOSP) which identifies community businesses who are following a range of sustainable and environmentally sound business practices in the daily operation of their enterprises. These leaders received a certificate and signage to display in their places of business. GOSP award recipients will be promoted via Green Ossining on social media and on the Green Ossining website: www.greenossining.com. GOSP designees will also be invited to attend quarterly meetings where other business owners from Ossining will be invited to learn how they too can become more sustainable, economical and environmentally sound in their own businesses.
This year’s deserving business leaders include Tom Deacon, founder of Fable: From Farm to Table; Laurie Gershgorn, chef and owner of Good Choice Kitchen; Kathryn and Luis Corena, owners of First Village Coffee; Roger Mason, chef and owner of Basta Restaurant; Olga Bonilla, chef and owner of Los Abuelos Restaurant; Jon Zeltsman and Miriam Haas, owners of Down to Earth Markets; David and Lynn Schofield, owners of SBS Printing & Shipping; Scott Ryan, co-founder of 6 Degrees of Separation Restaurant & Brewery; Eric Gearity and Matt Curtin, owners of Sing Sing Kill Brewery; Elmer Oliveros, chef owner of Brother’s Fish & Chips; Sharon Rowe, owner of ECOBAGS, and Barbara Sarbin, founder and educational director of Something Good in the World.
The criteria for selection to GOSP are:
- Use of energy efficient lighting and lower energy options
- Focus on recycling and training of staff on proper methods
- Installation of signage to assure that customers and staff are recycling
- Reduction/elimination of single use and non-recyclable products
- Use of paper products with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content
- Encourage staff to carpool and/or use public transportation
- Explore/encourage composting of food waste
- Limit use of chemicals and pesticides where applicable
- Use Green Seal Certified and/or naturally derived cleaning products
- Update water consuming products to create efficiencies
- Work with like-minded, environmentally conscious partners and vendors