Environmental Justice and Urban Agriculture

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation created this map of "environmental justice" impact areas within the City of Geneva.

Environmental (in)Justice Impact Areas

The DEC says, "Environmental justice is fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no population bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or from the execution of federal, state, and local laws; regulations; and policies. Meaningful involvement requires effective access to decision makers for all, and the ability in all communities to make informed decisions and take positive actions to produce environmental justice for themselves."

Recognizing and Remedying Environmental Injustice

Our service area is over-burdened and under-represented when it comes to negative environmental impacts. We have smokestacks, wastewater discharge outlets, factories, dry cleaners, gas stations, and two mega-landfills all impacting our air, water, and soil quality - not to mention two Brownfield/SuperFund cleanup sites at the former Market Basket and Geneva Foundry sites.

BluePrint Geneva, Inc. seeks to harness the interests and voices of the residents to address environmental *injustice* in our community! Our latest effort, an online landfill-odor-complaint service, allows anyone who detects that distinctive aroma of trash to log the date and time of the incident and have their complaint transmitted to elected officials and the DEC directly.

BluePrint Geneva operates public gardens for use by all community members any time: the State Street Public Gardens in ward 5 and Crystal Gardens on Crystal Street in ward 6. We started a curbside composting program, Growing Cycle, that diverts food waste (and other biodegradables) from the landfills. Speaking of landfills (which we have to do in this area!), we host the ItStinks! landfill odor complaint platform which we hope will provide data to drive improvements to landfill operations.

State Street Public Gardens

The gardens on State Street are co-located with Geneva Peeps, a chicken-keeping cooperative where you can contribute to the caring of chickens in exchange for fresh, healthy eggs! The site also houses one of Geneva's Little Free Farmstands where you can give, take, or swap fresh fruits and vegetables. The property is owned by Children's Hours School, a montessori-style preschool and elementary school based on Lewis Street. On the State Street site, you will find raised beds for rent so you can grow exactly what you'd like. These are separate from BluePrint's public gardens where volunteers grow crops requested by the community for the community to harvest as needed. We welcome volunteers to help out with weeding, watering, harvesting, and general tending of the space. We also have a children's garden at the front of the property, with areas inviting visitors to "taste," "smell," and "touch" various plants.

Crystal Street Garden

Crystal Street is the home to our newest public garden. Started in the summer of 2020, it was a continuation of our commitment to providing food access to neighbors, and also driven by the heightened need created by the COVID-19 pandemic. A socially-distanced "grand opening" was held in September, and we look forward to the 2021 growing season at this space. Many thanks to the city of Geneva for leasing this property to us and encouraging our efforts.

This curbside composting program provides you with a bucket for collecting food waste in your home, then provides a weekly pickup of it just like your trash service. The amount of biodegradable waste you can divert from the trash can might surprise you and our goal is have homes and businesses send as little to the landfill as possible. More information is available on the website and facebook page.

In response to rising complaints about landfill odors, BluePrint partnered with local software engineer Jeff Henderson to create an easy-to-use complaint logging system. ItStinks.org works on computers and mobile devices and sends complaints to elected and DEC officials who are responsible for monitoring landfill operations.

Weeding Wednesdays (Summer)

In conjunction with the City of Geneva's Green Committee, we work with volunteers at the lakefront every week to tend to the landscape and plantings. This effort is consistent with the City's commitment to avoid the application of synthetic pesticides. Help us improve the health of our water supply, our pets, bees, butterflies, and the plants themselves with a little sweat equity! It's amazing what we can do together!