“It has to be more than gardening and recycling”

“It has to be more than gardening and recycling”. That was my first thought when I began the process of gathering ideas for the EcoStars Challenge. I wanted to make sure that our Challenges represented the fact that living sustainably touches every part of our lives, and that Hamilton students have many styles of learning. That is why if you take a few moments to look through our EcoStar Challenges, you will find Challenges covering everything from jokes to maps to spoken word poetry. You will also find Challenges that encourage leadership (“start a writing instrument recycling program at your school”), as well as those that encourage community (“invite a younger class to join you for local snacks”). Our hope is that these small Challenges will lead to lifestyle changes at school and home.

To prove that change is possible, I like to tell visiting classes that when I was in school there were no green boxes or blue boxes, everything just went in the garbage! That I learned about recycling at school, and it slowly started to happen at home. At Green Venture we believe that giving students a chance to do hands-on learning around environmental issues, will lead to society wide change in the future.

Putting EcoStars on the Hamilton Climate Change Map

Hamilton is a city that has been well mapped: road maps, transit maps, bike route maps, Matt Jelly Neighbourhood maps, and local food maps. But did you know that we also have a climate change map?? The McMaster Centre for Climate Change has gathered many local organizations (including Green Venture and Clean Air Hamilton) together and created two Climate Change Maps. One map records actions that people are taking to minimize climate change, and the other map records impacts that people notice around climate change. Part of our EcoStar Challenge is to get all the great activities that students are participating in, up on the Climate Change Map! As classes submit their completed challenges, one of our Green Venture staff adds them to the Climate Change map. Now everyone in Hamilton can see the exciting things that students are doing and be inspired to get involved in minimizing climate change.

The Climate Change maps are open to all individuals, families, schools, churches, businesses and organizations in Hamilton. If you are doing something around Climate Change, make sure you put yourself on the map!

To check out the Climate Change Maps go to: http://www.mapclimatechange.ca/maps.html

“Corks and Caps Raffle” begins Feb 2

Green Venture is pleased to introduce our 2017 wine raffle, this year also featuring craft beer. Our “Corks and Caps Raffle 2017” features a single grand prize of 17 bottles of Ontario wine and 3 craft beer taster packs from the local area.  Tickets are only $5.00, and there is a limited run of 300 tickets. Those are good odds! Please help support Green Venture by purchasing a ticket.

The raffle draw takes place on April 3, 2017 and winners will be notified by phone, email, and as well as the result being posted via our web page and social media.

Tickets will be available at Seedy Saturday (Feb 4), at the Green Venture table, as well through our staff and board members. If you’d like to get a ticket for this swell prize, please email contact@greenventure.ca or call 905-540-8787, x117.

EcoStars Challenge 4 months in

We are in the 4th month of our EcoStar Challenge, and it has been exciting to meet some of the students involved, and work on some Challenges with them. In December we travelled to St.Brigid, Fessenden, and Blessed Sacrament with our Smoothie Bike. The students were able to use the bike, learn about food, and get entered for their first challenge! Earlier in the fall we had fun visiting Fessenden to do a grade 5 energy presentation and a grade 3 worm presentation. When students from Ridgemount and Norwood Park visited us at EcoHouse for a school tour, they were excited to learn that they had been entered in the EcoStar challenge. And students at St.Marguerite d’Youville were very busy last fall, putting in a Raingers Rain Garden with Green Venture!

If your class would like to get involved with the EcoStar Challenge, we would love to help you get started!Smoothie Bike Kid 2101_1853 101_1784

We’re Looking For Alleys in Need of Some Love!

Do you know a Hamilton alleyway that could use some love? Green Venture has received funding through the Hamilton Future Fund to beautify and revitalize an alley and we need your help! We are looking for nominations of alleys, from any area of Hamilton, that would benefit from some TLC. We are also looking for enthusiastic project leads who want to help us spearhead this transformation. If this is you and you would like to nominate an alley please fill out our nomination form here. Deadline for nominations is Friday February 10, 2017.

EcoStars and Smoothie Bikes!

Is your class looking for a fun way to get started on the EcoStar Challenge?image-1
Why not book a Smoothie Bike Presentation for your class! A Green Venture staff person will visit your classroom with the Smoothie bike and some delicious ingredients to make your own smoothies. During the hour long presentation, we will lead the class in activities centred around understanding “local food” and “whole food”, before having the class pedal their own smoothie. We will give a brief overview to the EcoStar Challenge program, answer any questions you may have, and leave some EcoStar material with you. In addition, participating in the Smoothie Bike Presentation automatically enters your class into the grand prize draw for the EcoStar Challenge!

If you are interested in having the Smoothie Bike visit your classroom, please contact Green Venture to discuss cost and availability, at education@greenventure.ca

Hear what one teacher had to say about their smoothie bike experience:

image“What a thrill having the Smoothie Bike in my classroom. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I can confidently say I was pleasantly surprised…and so was my class! The bike was so easy to operate; the kids had no problem blending up the smoothies. The presentation by Green Venture was engaging and informative. We were particularly interested to learn about the differences between processed smoothies and whole food smoothies…a great connection to the healthy eating curriculum. We also learned about locally and non-locally grown fruits and vegetables and how shipping of fruits and vegetables impacts the environment. Fortunately, we were able to keep the bike for a few days and tried smoothies with spinach and avocado. We culminated our Smoothie Bike visit with an inquiry all about the different smoothie ingredients we were using. I wish I could have a Smoothie Bike all year long!”

-Grade 5/6 Teacher, Fessenden Elementary School, Hamilton

More beautiful alleys will be coming to Hamilton!


Green Venture has received funding from the Hamilton Future Fund to expand upon the success of the WestMill alley project and revitalize additional alleys. In 2015, Green Venture teamed up with various neighbourhood groups to beautify the ‘WestMill alley’, located between Westinghouse Ave. and Milton Ave., north of Barton street. Over 130 native species were planted, birdhouses were added, a mural was painted with the help of local artists, and solar lighting was installed to increase pedestrian safety. An official call for proposals will go out in January 2017, but if you have an alleyway in mind that could use some TLC, please get in touch with Erinn at erinn.todd@greenventure.caimg_3699


Calling all Gardeners: Organic Master Gardener course in Hamilton


Canadian Organic Growers (COG) has partnered with Gaia College to offer the Organic Master Gardener course in Hamilton. Designed for those interested in maintaining bountiful food and ornamental gardens and lawns without the use of pesticides, students have described this course as “life-changing”, allowing them to see the important connections between soil, plant, humans, and environmental health. This comprehensive and popular course attracts everyone from backyard gardeners to landscape architects, covering topics such as soil health, water-wise gardening, and composting! The Hamilton course runs weekly from January 19 to April 20.

Course Details

Dates: Thursdays, January 19 to April 20

Time: 6:15 – 9:00 pm

Location: The Perkins Centre, 1429 Main St. Hamilton

Cost: $740+HST SAVE $50 when you register before December 16 with Discount Code HamiltonOMG

For more details and to register please visit http://www.cog.ca/our-services/OMG/

To registration or find more information about this, and other courses offered by COG please check out our website at www.cog.ca or give us a call at 1-888- 375-7383.

Who should take the Organic Master Gardener Course?

  • Community Gardeners and Community Garden Coordinators
  • Backyard Gardeners
  • Landscapers
  • Local food advocates
  • Organic farmers
  • Teachers and food education coordinators
  • Anyone who enjoys growing and eating their own food without the use of pesticides and chemicals

EcoStars It’s Time to Shine!

The EcoStar Challenge is underway! As of November 1st, we have 167 students who have participated in an EcoStar Challenge, and been entered into our grand prize draw.  What a great start to the school year.  eco-stars-blog

Can I let you in on the Big Idea behind the EcoStars Challenge? We want to know what Hamilton teachers and students are doing to live more sustainably, and we want to share those ideas with other teachers and students. We want to create a space where we can celebrate each other’s success (“good job planting a rain garden!”) and learn from each other (“I didn’t know you could recycle markers; we should do that at our school!”).  Every time a class completes a challenge, and that info goes on the climate change map, it gives inspiration to another class somewhere else in the city.  Whether you choose to complete one of the awesome Challenges on our website, or do a different environmental action, we would love to hear about it at Green Venture. That allows us to share all these great ideas and actions with all the schools we work with.

This week Green Venture will be visiting Cable 14 to talk about the EcoStars Challenge, and give some simple ideas of Challenges for classes to complete. Check our YouTube channel later in the month to watch the video and be inspired! 

Hold the Date: September 16, 2017- Uproot Hamilton

Yes, we are looking ahead to 2017… Green Venture is pleased to set the date for the next Uproot event on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Join us again for a mouth-watering food-tasting event at the EcoHouse, featuring local chefs and caterers, locally sourced ingredients, and more. If you are a chef or caterer interested in showcasing your creations at the 2017 Uproot event, please contact us at 905-540-8787 x117 or email contact@greenventure.ca