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Plattsburgh Times Article about Green Committee and Community Garden

posted Mar 27, 2010, 7:57 AM by Doug Butdorf
The Plattsburgh Times, a Plattsburgh State student publication, has published an article by Kevin Eloi about the Plattsburgh Community Garden. 


FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010

Plattsburgh Community Garden grows new life

By Kevin Eloi
Doug Butdorf, 38, has been involved in gardening since he was a child. His passion for a healthy environment is unequivocal. As a board member of the Plattsburgh Green Committee, Mr. Butdorf understands the importance of a thriving atmosphere centered on pure, healthy, and natural ways of living. “It’s important for people to start practicing good habits, especially within their own communities. Also, I want to help raise awareness and educate people on how they can help clean up the environment. I’ve been involved in green initiatives such as the Plattsburgh Community Garden for a while and it’s quite fulfilling.”

To the delight of Green Committee board members such as Mr. Butdorf, the Common Council authorized the mayor of Plattsburgh, Donald Kasprzak, to sign a 2-year renewal agreement for the Plattsburgh Community Garden. The garden is located in Melissa Penfield Park and was founded in 2009. “The city formed the Green Committee which got the ball rolling on a community garden,” said Mayor Kasprzak. “People are pursuing more green initiatives and projects like the Plattsburgh Community Garden are a consequence of hardworking people who are pushing to make a difference in their community.”

As the website, www.plattsburghcommunitygarden.org, states, The Plattsburgh Community Garden Group exists to create an allotment style community garden/s that build community, provide an enjoyable and safe place to grow crops, gather as friends, and learn the techniques of successful gardening. As a member of the Common Council that approved the community garden’s 2-year extension, Councilman Michael Kelly is a staunch advocate for all the green initiatives in Plattsburgh and provides a needed voice for the community. Councilman Kelly explained the importance of The Plattsburgh Community Garden. “The community garden helps increase the awareness of living in a healthy environment. Everyone has the opportunity to have a plot of their own. Last year, we started out with 32 plots and now it’s increased to 45. As soon as the paperwork is done, this proposal will take effect immediately.” Doug Butdorf, who is also the garden’s organizer and chief, reiterated the same notion. “Not everyone has a backyard to grow their plants or crops,” he said. “Everyone in the community now has an opportunity to have their own personal garden and at the same time practice healthy eating habits while keeping the environment clean. People have to understand that something as simple as growing your own garden could actually reduce the amount pollutants that damage the air. For instance, the community garden allows you to grow your own fruits and vegetables which mean less petroleum trucks to travel across the country polluting the air while delivering apples or oranges.” Although the garden provides a sense of leisure, that is only a microcosm of the bigger picture. The Plattsburgh Community Garden’s true objective isn’t just to give someone a hobby, but rather to promote a nutritious diet while simultaneously endorsing a green-friendly atmosphere.

The community garden stems from the Plattsburgh Green Committee. As Mayor Kasprzak stated before, the Green Committee initiated all ecofriendly endeavors. The committee’s agenda concentrated on environmental sustainability. Although the Plattsburgh Community Garden is an independent group, the Plattsburgh Green Committee acts as its consultant. “Each organization has its own specific mission,” said Marcia Wolosz, Vice-chairman of the Green Committee. “We have a much broader goal and we focus on different aspects of the community. Our job is to inform the elected officials on the sustainability of the city. Also, we’ve started a program called ‘Green Scarring’ where we evaluate the businesses of Plattsburgh based on how green they are and we encourage businesses to adopt more environment-friendly principles if they have yet to do so.”

A Brooklyn native, Marcia Wolosz is a passionate devotee of all green initiatives. She has been living in Plattsburgh for 26 years and deeply feels the pulse of the city. “I have a day-to-day consciousness about how we impact the environment,” she said. “I always want to educate myself as much as I can on environmental issues, whether through research or other people. With the election of President Obama, the political landscape on climate issues has changed for the better. Groups like our green committee now have leeway to push forward on all sorts of climate-based projects like the community garden. Our group is an evolving group and we desperately want to get the word out.” Aside from the Plattsburgh Community Garden, the Green Committee has been involved in other projects. “We’ve participated in the Earth Day celebration this past year and have worked with groups such as Casella,” said Sarah Cronk, Secretary of the Plattsburgh Green Committee. “We’ve also started a green survey to get a scope on what the community has been doing as far as environmental matters.” The Plattsburgh Community Garden group also held their annual Local Food and Spring Gardening Kick-off on March 20, 2010. The website has more detailed information on the event.

The Garden is fairly young, but it has steadfast become apart of the community’s consciousness. It continues to grow and expand with the help of the people of Plattsburgh. It acts as a beacon to other communities hoping to establish their own organizations and groups to create projects such as the Plattsburgh Community Garden. Groups like the Plattsburgh Green Committee understand their role in regards to the community. "The Plattsburgh Green Committee consists of community members who share the common interest in developing Plattsburgh and its surrounding areas into a more localized, sustainable, and environmentally just region."
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