The grass is greener on the Greentopia side of the street

The grass is greener on the Greentopia side of the street

We’ve moved!

While it was nice being in the building on the corner of Platt Street and Brown’s Race, the sale of the building that housed Greentopia for the last several years resulted in our move to new digs across the way at 74 Brown’s Race.

“If you need us, we’re across the street,” said Greentopia Co-Founder Michael A. Philipson.  The move happened May 1 and the new quarters are both larger and a little more accessible, as the space is all on one level now – no more steps and ramps! One added bonus is the new office provides additional income for our initiatives because it includes two spaces to rent out, one of which is occupied. Another bonus is our new boardroom and balcony look out over the Genesee River gorge. And that’s the reason Greentopia moved to the High Falls area in the first place.

Stop by if you get a chance.  Just remember, we’re on the river side of the road now.

Greentopia embraces new fundraising technology

Greentopia launched a new way to raise funds Nov. 12 with a wine-and-cheese party where people pledged by text. The concept was so successful that the attendees EXCEEDED the entire fundraising goal — $5,000 for the FlourGarden —  in less than 20 minutes.

About 50 people attended the event at the Greentopia offices on Brown’s Race. After they saw a film about the GardenAerial project, they were asked to consider making a donation by texting “Flour” to a designated number. Those who did so saw their names scroll across a screen with their pledge amounts, which made others hasten to join in.

“The idea of technology is right to us. It’s more green and engaging,” said Greentopia Co-Founder Michael A. Philipson. And the timing is right. The organization trying to create vibrant public realms has provided four years of FREE Greentopia festivals and events and will continue to offer some free projects to the public. But now it’s time for Rochester to lend its support to this critical work, Philipson said. The FlourGarden, expected to be completed December 24, is the first step in the GardenAerial, a series of park amenities, interactive trails and structures around the High Falls. This first step will cost nearly $1 million and Greentopia is trying to close in on the final dollars for the project.

Philipson said the smartphone app was so simple to use and so successful that Greentopia will most likely use it again to raise money for other projects, such as Green Visions, a job training program reclaiming and beautifying lots in the JOSANA neighborhood, and for a future gala.

To check out the online version, go to our donate page now.


7 reasons you must attend Greentopia’s Futures Summit Oct. 21

Greentopia’s Futures Summit, where exciting ideas for the future are discussed today, comes to MCC’s Brighton Campus Wednesday, Oct. 21. “We want to disrupt people’s thinking – get them to critically analyze everything that is happening in our city,” said Michael Philipson, co-founder of Greentopia. Here are some great reasons to get involved and get informed about “Cities of the Future,” the 2015 Summit’s theme:

  • It’s dirt cheap: Thanks to support from NYSERDA, the summit is free to students and educators with ID, $20 for senior citizens. Regular admission is $45, $55 for last minute arrivals. Admission includes keynote talks and workshops by leading national thinkers on urban reclamation, energy and green development. There’s also free parking, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. You can register here.
  • Jason Roberts of Dallas, co-creator of Team Better Block, which finds ways to make city blocks more livable and walkable without years of municipal foot-dragging. He’s the opening keynote speaker.
  • Antwi A. Akom, professor at San Francisco State University and co-founder of Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational and Environmental Design. ISEEED focuses on building sustainable cities and schools, as well as improving living conditions of poor people. Akom is also the summit’s closing keynote speaker.
  • Taras Grescoe, Montreal author of Straphanger, a book looking at the public transit systems of the great cities of the world and advocating for a rebirth of public transit to take back cities from the wasting influence of automobiles. Grescoe is the summit’s lunchtime keynote speaker.
  • Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit, which reclaims forsaken green spaces in the Midwest city to encourage community connections. Once devoted to boosting the urban forest (17,000 trees planted,) the organization now also oversees community gardens and workforce development, with 400 seasonal employees.
  • Ted Trabue, managing director of District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility, a utility company devoted to saving customers money through energy conservation. Previously, Trabue help create and was executive director of Green Builders Council of DC, the largest green training program in Washington.
  • Several other speakers and plenty of time between sessions to rub elbows with them all.
Green Visions Update

Green Visions Update

We have now planted our initial seedling group of over 9,000 plants and they are happily growing away at the Garden Factory, our greenhouse partner for the Green Visions project. We will add several thousand more seeds which will be planted directly in the ground during the spring planting.

In addition, we have met with the Harley School and Enrico Fermi School (School #17) and are beginning to identify collaborative opportunities for students at each of these institutions. There are exciting things ahead for Green Visions so stay tuned, follow us on Facebook and sign up to receive our newsletter.

One of these days, Spring will actually arrive. We are all chomping at the bit to get out into our gardens, dig in the earth and get our hands dirty!