By Lynn Mehl
With all the excitement and fanfare surrounding President Obama’s inauguration, the parade, and parties; we should be even more excited to see the first family so proudly promoting American made and green initiatives. As a known champion for everything American, Mrs. Obama even chose to outfit the family exclusively from American designers and companies.
This year, the luncheon and Inaugural and Commander-In-Chief Balls were a little greener with the collaboration of The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and our own Senator Schumer. The inauguration was a poignant event to set a greener example for us to follow; leading by example that if it can be done on this large scale, it can be done for our all own local events, weddings, business gatherings, and media .
New York foods highlighted:
Senator Schumer chaired the event committee and as such, the menus were planned around American sourced foods with New York grown and made at the forefront. What a boon for our state and those New York farms and, how proud we should be since this was a seasonal menu of local items… in January.
The menus included NY made wine, cheeses, honey, and Hudson Valley apple pie! Long Island duck was contemplated; but bison from South Dakota and New England lobster were chosen instead. Just contemplating local sourced fare was a plus in the right direction. A lean towards a more vegetarian menu would have been even better, but at least foreign trade played no part in the food by serving French cheeses or Chilean apples.
The floral decor:
As an ecoflorist, I am of course, attuned to event flowers and décor with imported flowers and goods; and unfortunately, this was one area that the organizers overlooked as it always is. They were beautifully designed, just not
American grown and much to the dismay of our growers I’m sure. The organizers should have been informed that we have one of the oldest anemone growers right here in the Hudson Valley, and this is the height of their flowering season. Using US grown flowers at the luncheon and balls instead, would have been spectacular by reason alone. How perfect would it be to showcase US grown, seasonal flowers for all the every day décor at the White House, and see no reason why there would be any question not to. I’m on it Mr. President.
The NWF working with the event organizers and Wolfgang Puck; did institute much green for the events held at the massive, Newseum. Events of any size serve as one the largest creators of waste in our party loving society today, and one of this size can leave a huge environmental, footprint.
Along with sourcing American foods; recycling was the biggest goal with organizers with no need for trash cans as all items used would either be compostable, recyclable, or washed and reusable (glass and china). This is huge, and their efforts below should be commended:
• All cardboard was broken down for recycling
• Serving materials were a combination of compostable and/or glass and flatware
• Cooking oil was recycle for biofuel
• Old light bulbs were recycled
• All food scraps were composted for urban farms along with even the horse droppings from the parade!
The President says:
The opening inaugural words gave acclaim that we are forever an optimistic people and no matter how steep the climb or how difficult the task–this optimism is what pushes us on that we will succeed.
The Presidents words further directed that "our forefathers in a spare Philadelphia hall gave us the responsibility to take care of our country and its people"; going on to remind us that we:
• Have the generous gift of reinvention
• Are free to take risks to keep it that way
• Are the source of hope
• Have the power and obligation to defend and raise a voice
We have the power - so let’s use it:
As one of the many proud Americans believing as and in the President; he urged that it is our task alone to carry on our future. We are to lead by our obligation to climate change, putting us on a sustainable path to ensure our beautiful, national treasures are kept pristine and safe for future generations.
I am happy as we all should be, with the environmental thinking and local sourcing taking hold in Washington, and hope that this will be the beginning of a new vogue for indigenous, green events. American small businesses, farms, and manufacturers are the backbone of our country and they need our support desperately.
Find your voice:
The Presidents words have reinforced me on the importance of my own path to bring American grown decor to the White House and "defend and raise a voice" as he said
I pledge Mr. President that I will not give up hope and strive to every effort possible for thinking, living, and buying green. I urge you to find your niche and "raise a voice", because it is your right and responsibility. There are so many large and small areas that still need awareness and much improvement, but for myself and all Americans; I applaud the President for any step to local and green initiatives... no matter how small.
Lynn Mehl is the owner of Good Old Days, The Eco-Florist tm in New Windsor, NY. The first green certified, eco florist. Offering earth-friendly designs, goods, and local/US grown flowers. A green media/ event consultant and educator, she welcomes your contact and can be reached at 845-562-2820, or www.GoodOldDaysFlorist.com.