Accepting Obstacles and Rising to the Challenge With Green Visions

Green Visions Social Distance Graduation at our Smith Street Gardens

Green Visions successfully completed its 8th year of delivering quality job training and hand-on, work experience to at risk-youth in our city. A late start, drought-like conditions, and a health crisis working against us, couldn’t stop us from pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and getting to work. We navigated the complicated year that was 2020, once again transforming over two acres of once vacant, city land into bountiful, flourishing gardens in the JOSANA and Joseph Avenue neighborhoods.

We also were able to add Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Introduction to Landscape Technicians training to this year’s roster of classes and Bank of America Financial Literacy class.

Of our 7 graduates, two have been re-enrolled, full time, back into RCSD high schools; one has enrolled in and currently attends SUNY Brockport, full-time as a journalism major; and 4 have secured full-time or part-time employment. Additionally, we were able to hire back 3 Green Visions graduates as site managers to help mentor, teach, and lead our team. Congratulations to our 2020 cohort! And thank you to all of the partners who helped make our program happen this year!

Lastly, with this year’s team successfully completing our program, Green Visions crossed the landmark threshold of having graduated over 100 City of Rochester youth from our transformative program. We could not be prouder of each and every single member of our Green Visions family as we continue to support them and bear witness to their inspiring growth.

A Visit From Joe Morelle

On September 4th Congressman Joe Morelle came to visit our High Falls viewing dock and take a tour of Hydro Station 4, the first hydroelectric station in Rochester now owned by Greentopia! Congressman Morrell received the full tour of our facilities from Greentopia’s Executive Board Chair Lisa Baron. Erik Frisch from the City updated Congressman Morelle on the ROC the Riverway project in HIgh Falls and Ben Gustafson from Hunt Engineering shared the latest findings of the structural study being done on Hydro Station 4.

The Roc the Riverway initiative seeks to capitalize on the riverfront property and adjacent natural space of the city of Rochester, places such as the High Falls and the beautiful gorge. By investing in these places such as the High Falls and the beautiful gorge, Rochester will be able to generate space for economic development, family recreation, environmental protection, and education about the natural assets of the city of Rochester. These green spaces are a part of Rochester that so far has been an untapped resource.

We were so happy to share the High Falls and our vision with Representative Morelli, Thank you for the visit Congressman!

Click here to donate to the Ecodistrict!

Green Visions Shipping Container Floral Workshop!

Green Visions Shipping Container Floral Workshop!

Now in its sixth year, the Green Visions program has installed an 800 square foot shipping container at the Green Visions Campus at 174 Whitney Street in the JOSANA neighborhood. The container has been completely retrofitted by Ikoniq, a Canandaigua-based company that creates top-of-the-line carts, kiosks, and containers for many of the country’s largest stadiums, concert halls, and amusement parks. The Green Visions’ container was designed to be used as a complete floral design workspace – with flower cooling room and tool room – and received financial support from the Allyn’s Creek Garden Club, the Rochester Garden Club, The John C. Wegman Foundation, Kathleen Holt and Steve Lurie, and the August Family Foundation.

“The Green Visions shipping container is a huge step forward in helping to manage the program’s consistent flower bouquet production and delivery. It is a first for the City of Rochester and serves as a model of alternative programming space for other grassroots neighborhood programs.” Says Lisa Baron, Board Chair of Greentopia.

This project also serves as another example of the amazing collaboration found between Rochester organizations committed to the revitalization of the JOSANA neighborhood. This year, the Green Visions program is providing landscape maintenance for 19 Habitat for Humanity properties. In return, Habitat for Humanity and Rochester Youth Build provided the materials and installed a driveway for the shipping container. All of these neighborhood developments are guided by the vision and leadership of Charles Settlement House Neighborhood Association and its JOSANA Master Plan. For the last six years, the Green Visions program has been working not just in the neighborhood, but more importantly with the neighborhood.


Cities with fewer cars are more people-friendly says a Futures Summit speaker.

As a travel writer for publications such as National Geographic, Taras Grescoe travels around the world. But he doesn’t own a car. In fact, the Montreal resident says 90 percent of his transit is by foot, bicycle or subway. His keen observations while moving around cities from Moscow to Bogota led to his 2012 book, Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile.

Grescoe will be the mid-day keynote speaker at Greentopia’s Futures Summit Oct. 21 at Monroe Community College. While he sometimes uses a car-sharing service in Montreal, he says exercising individual rights by driving cars “is diminishing the commons for everybody.” Personal automobiles hog urban space and make moving around harder for others, he claims, adding that nearly one-third of urban residents don’t or can’t drive a car.

“The biggest obstacle is the presumption that every citizen has access to a car,” Grescoe told a transportation conference in Portland, OR two years ago. “Transit is about mobility, not trains or buses,” he said. Some examples include moving ramps in hilly cities in South America that turn an arduous, 30-minute walk uphill into a five-minute ride. Or the “Mom bike” in Japan, an inexpensive bicycle that allows a parent to peddle along with two children. Or the “cargo bike” in Denmark, where an adult can carry a week’s worth of groceries or up to three children.

Bigger modes of transportation, such as subways or light rail, work best when they’re not competing for space with cars and when they’re speedy and well connected, Grescoe said. He suggests cities go for low-hanging transit fruit by providing services in the more densely populated parts of a city that were perhaps designed for pedestrian traffic before automobiles became ubiquitous in the American landscape.

ROC Transit Day!

ROC Transit Day!

ROC Transit Day is Thursday, June 19


If you’ve ever thought about trying public transportation, ROC Transit Day is for you. Take the leap with thousands of other Rochesterians as we go car­free in support of a greener, healthier community. Organized by Reconnect Rochester, the campaign challenges Rochesterians to leave their cars at home and use public transit for the entire day. But in addition to riding the bus, ROC Transit Day promises a bevy of fun activities.


For one thing, you’ll be able to use your RTS fare card to redeem exclusive deals at participating shops and restaurants around town. Volunteers will also be giving away free prizes on random bus routes all day. Rochester’s lovable soccer mascot, Rex the Rhino will lead families on bus tours to Sahlen’s Stadium. And new this year, a city­wide treasure hunt will send teams on a wild series of bus rides in an effort to claim a hefty cash prize. There’s just one catch… no cars allowed. To claim this jackpot you’ll need to use the bus system, walk or bike.


The day will come to a close with a HUGE swing dance event on the steps of the Rundel Memorial Library building between 4:30­6:30pm. Bring your friends & family and witness 40+ energetic Groove Juice Swing dancers as they twist, twirl, flip, and triple­step to the classic sounds of Smugtown Stompers on the sidewalks around the Rundel Memorial Building. The Friends & Foundation of Rochester Public Library will host a used book sale and games for the kids, and Le Petit Poutine and Stingray Sushi food trucks will be there too! For complete event details and to find out how your organization can get free ROC Transit Day fare cards, visit