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Government Video Website of the Week: Green Newark

Officials who want to foster support for such initiatives can learn from this website

Newark, N.J.’s website has a section called “Green Newark” that not only features videos trumpeting efforts to “green” the city, but also seeks to engage viewers by providing details on city-sponsored green programs, the benefits to the community those programs can provide and how residents can get involved.

The first video is appropriately called “The Greening of Newark,” which is hosted by Mayor Cory Booker, D, who, along with members of his staff, describes how a city with parks and green spaces attract new businesses, thereby creating a better local economy.

That is followed by a video called “Brick City Urban Farms,” in which resident John Taylor, who also happens to be the mayor’s brother-in-law, provides details of a program in which vacant lots, and at least one rooftop, are used to grow organic vegetables in above-ground containers.

Taylor goes on to say the Brick City Urban Farms initiative was inspired by his children, but the video also includes information on a similar program called “Edible Gardens” that was cultivated by resident Lorraine Gibbons. Under the Edible Gardens’ model, schoolchildren help grow produce in small spaces and the vegetables go to schools. Gibbons makes it clear that participation by the children is an important part of that initiative.

In addition to the local efforts documented on the Green Newark website, initiatives that support the goals of that program are also available, including a presentation by Van Jones, of the Center for American Progress, in which Jones details how a transition to a green economy can also be a means of addressing social inequality. And there is a video called “Hantz Farms,” which describes how a company is buying up vacant property in Detroit and turning those parcels into farmland.

The Green Newark website provides those videos to not only state the case for the green initiatives supported by Mayor Booker, but to persuade residents to get involved — as Jones says in the green-economy video — “To build the future we want to live in.” Officials in other cities who have similar programs and who want to foster support for those efforts can learn from this website. That is why it is Government Video’s Website of the week.

Click here to access the website.