Every week as you pick up your CSA share, have you ever wondered what the connection to the Church in the Gardens is? The Church in the Gardens Green Team is an organization of individuals who belong to the church and are committed to issues of the environment and conservation. It’s through them that the arrangement was made and they continue to support the CSA and Compost Collective moving forward.
I spoke with Hal Christensen, one of the founding members to better understand the Green Team and what they do. Here is what I learned.
Me: When did you join the Green Team?
HC: I helped found the CITG Green Team about five years ago.
Me: How many members are there?
HC: The Green Team has a leadership group of five people. We have no “membership” as such for people who participate in any of our programs.
ME: I know you meet only several times a year, where do you meet? At the Church?
HC: The leadership of the committee meets periodically at the CITG. We have no set schedule or required number of meetings. Meetings may be called at anytime if specific issues arise that need a board decision.
ME: What projects are you working on right now?
- We run a monthly series of films showings called “Earth Matters.” We show documentaries that highlight specific green issues, such as climate change, pollution, food production, waste management, and energy consumption, which are followed by a discussion of the issues raised. The films are open to the public. They are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of each month.
- We provide other educational demonstrations and events, such as guest speakers, for members of the congregation and the public, on such topics as fracking, green cleaning supplies, and native gardening.We initiated an energy audit that identified areas of waste and inefficiency in the Church’s facilities and then worked with the Church’s House and Grounds committee to contract out the appropriate repairs and improvements. Those recommendations are still being carried out.
- We also advise and work with other CITG boards, committees, and staff to reduce the Church’s carbon and waste impact.
- We participate in community green events, including the annual fair held at the Forest Hills YMHA.
- We have also arranged to provide space at the CITG for the CSA and the new composting facility on an ongoing basis.
ME: How do you join the Green Team?
HC: In general, anyone can participate in Green Team activities. To be on the leadership team, you must be a member of the CITG, which provides our resources and funding.
ME: Why is the Green Team important to you?
HC: I feel it is part of the mission of the Church to
* manage its facilities and activities in a way that is environmentally friendly.
* inform our members and the members of the community on environmental issues.
* encourage our members to find ways to reduce energy consumption and to practice better waste management.
ME: Anything else you would like to tell me?
HC: The Green Team is happy to be able to support the CSA and the composting efforts, even though they are not specifically part of our official agenda. We welcome any suggestions for ways we may cooperate with other like-minded activities in the Forest Hills community.
by Alexis Markowitz