A community garden in Raleigh that welcomes refugees and immigrants to learn English while using sustainable urban gardening practices won this year's Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award. The Highland Community Victory Garden at Highland United Methodist Church provided more than nine tons of organic produce during the last 10 years. The church's garden was among this year's winners at the 12th Annual Raleigh Environmental Awards.
Mayor Pro Tem Corey Branch presented the awards at a ceremony in downtown Raleigh.
"As the city continues to grow and change, an underlying commitment to environmental stewardship remains a core aspect of Raleigh's character and identity," Branch said.
Other Raleigh Environmental Award winners included:
- NC State University's Wolf Pack-n-Give, a program that focuses on end-of-year move-out time to help students divert more than 95,000 pounds of reusable goods and recyclable material from the landfill each year;
- Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's Urban Agriculture Program aims to get children excited about where their food comes from and motivate them to start growing their own vegetables. They never forget that one out of four children in North Carolina eats only two meals per day, often provided by their school;
- Children's Garden at Beginning and Beyond Child Development Center has a strong focus on nutrition as it introduces children to growing, harvesting and preparing fruits and vegetables from their garden; and,
- Reborn Clothing Company earned a Jury's Choice Award for turning waste diversion into a business. They focus on creative use of used textiles, turning discarded clothing and accessories into koozies, totes and coolers as well as upcycled clothing.
Student Environmental Art Competition Winners
Several art contests challenged students in grades 8-12 to illustrate the importance of clean water and the need to protect Raleigh's drinking water. Other winners include:
- Leigh Bazemore's animated video "Keep Our Water Clean," which demonstrates simple ways to keep pollution — animal waste, detergents, and trash — out of our local water ways;
- Ian Setia used acrylic pain and watercolor to create the "Water is Life" storm drain art cover. It features an American Shad fish to represent all living things that need water;
- Kailyn Becker's poster "There is Still Time" helped illustrate how single-use bottles pollute the environment, while reusable water bottles help protect the environment; and,
- Austin Buckner's decal design, "It's That Simple" encourages reusable water bottles in all sorts of activities and helps point out where Raleigh tap water can be found.
Trashion Competition Winners
Trashion competitors make a fashion statement out of materials that were destined for the landfill. The goal is to change the way we think about waste and creatively reuse what might otherwise be thrown away. Trashion winners were announced Thursday:
- Carly Palmer created an entire clothing line for men and women — "Magic Carpet" — out of carpet samples pitched in a dumpster; and,
- Caroline Hallow's "Shipping and Handling," a tea-length dress cut from Amazon Prime packaging and accented with a bubble wrap petticoat and hand-punched aluminum can sequins.
The Raleigh Environmental Awards are an initiative of the City's Environmental Advisory Board and Office of Sustainability. Several City departments help coordinate and the awards selection processes and support the ceremony: Public Utilities, Engineering Services/Stormwater Division, and Solid Waste Services. Sponsors of the awards ceremony included US Foods, Hazen, Trophy Brewing, and Westgate Wine. Compost Now helped make the ceremony a zero-waste event.