Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice and Flood Mitigation | Barrels O’ Art
More frequent and stronger storms this century have caused extensive flooding in certain parts of Hackensack – and climate change is making the communities there more vulnerable to even more flood damage.
A new Foundation initiative – Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice and Flood Mitigation – will help reduce future flooding in areas of the city with more low- and moderate-income residents and people of color, and help make those areas more enjoyable for residents.
What will this project do?
By September 2024, the partners will:
- Create a community-driven green infrastructure plan to protect areas of Hackensack most vulnerable to flooding.
- Grow a Hackensack Environmental Justice Alliance – a team of residents and representatives from Hackensack-based organizations who will advocate for environmental justice.
- Produce at least one “green art” project to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire Hackensack residents. In fall 2023, there will be a display of painted rain barrels.
- Provide up to 40 rain barrels free of charge to Hackensack residents. If you are interested in getting a rain barrel, please sign up to get involved with the project
- Create a demonstration rain garden in a public place, which they hope will help inspire the installation of other rain gardens around the City.
- Produce educational programs to help residents learn about environmental justice, what is being done by the City of Hackensack to reduce flooding, and what residents can do to help reduce flooding in and around their neighborhoods.
What is green infrastructure?
Green infrastructure is a set of strategies to reduce flooding. This includes natural solutions such as rain gardens and planting trees, as well as rain barrels and pervious concrete. Environmental justice is about ensuring that all people are treated fairly when governments make decisions about environmental issues. Often, environmental justice is about fixing errors or bad decisions that have caused more pollution and environmental damage – such as flooding — where lower income people and people of color live.
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation is partnering with Greater Bergen Community Action and the City of Hackensack on this initiative, as well as with several Hackensack-based organizations and residents.
What is environmental justice?
Environmental justice is focused on ensuring that everyone has equal access to the benefits of a good, safe and clean environment, and that all people are protected equally from environmental hazards that can affect their health.
Historically in the United States, low-income people and people of color have had to deal with issues of pollution in their communities than other types of residents. They also have had less access to environmental benefits such as trees, parks, and clean water.
Who is involved with this project?
Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice and Flood Mitigation is made possible through grants from The Funders Network, Hackensack Rotary Club, Valley Bank, the AARP Community Challenge program, and an anonymous funder. For more information, please contact Leonardo Vazquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-568-5608.
How do I get involved or get updates on this project?
To get involved, or just to get updates, please fill out this form.
You can also use this form to be considered for a free rain barrel.
Barrels O’ Art
Barrels O’ Art is a free and public display of rain barrels painted by artists from Hackensack and other towns in New Jersey. This exhibit is part of the Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice project being implemented in partnership with the City of Hackensack and Greater Bergen Community Action, which works to reduce future flooding in Hackensack and helps make the area greener, healthier and more beautiful.
Barrels O’ Arts involves artists painting rain barrels to be temporarily displayed to beautify a flood-prone site and promote the community kick-off meeting for the Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice project at the GBCA Block Party on September 23, 2023.
Through an open call to artists, ArtsBergen and a selection committee of Hackensack community members, chose eleven local artists to design and paint original murals on eleven rain barrels. The barrels are temporarily installed in Carver Park, 302 2nd Street, Hackensack, NJ from September 20, 2023 through early November 2023 to raise awareness through the arts about ways to prevent future flooding, issues around environmental justice, and green infrastructure solutions, like rain barrels.
All of the Barrels O’ Art artwork is inspired by Hackensack residents, who chose the themes reflected on the rain barrels through a public survey.
The rain barrels will be given away to Hackensack residents and organizations through a random drawing. If you are interested in receiving a painted rain barrel sign up below. You can also sign up to get a free, unpainted rain barrel below.
The exhibit is produced by the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen initiative, with support from several community partners. It is made possible through grants from the AARP Community Challenge program and the Hackensack Rotary Club.
What is this installation about?
Flooding hits communities in Central Hackensack hard. It disrupts lives, causing problems for neighbors who spent time and money cleaning up and fixing their properties. Businesses shut down during floods, and people may be unable to get to work for days. For workers who get paid hourly and can’t work from home, that is a real hardship. Flooding can also pollute local waterways, like the nearby Hackensack River.
In New Jersey, we are getting more, and stronger rain storms. Green infrastructure strategies, which include rain barrels, can help manage stormwater to reduce flooding.
Barrels O’ Art is designed to raise awareness about environmental issues affecting the community. We hope it also inspires more community members to get involved to help protect the environment and make the area greener and more beautiful. We hope you will want to get involved with the Hackensack Environmental Justice Alliance.
What is the Hackensack Environmental Justice Alliance?
The Hackensack Environmental Justice Alliance (EJA) is a group of Hackensack residents and leaders of organizations in the city who are concerned about how environmental problems affect vulnerable communities in Hackensack. The group works to promote strategies, plans and policies that help make Hackensack greener, healthier and more beautiful for all members of our community.
The EJA meets monthly. All Hackensack residents and representatives of Hackensack-based organizations are welcome. To join the EJA, go to https://forms.gle/m2M4JXMSKApq5iiP6
Why rain barrels?
Rain barrels are one tool used in green infrastructure. They are good to have around your house or building because they help catch and store rain water. They can be used in dry weather to water your plants and wash your car or house (which saves money on water bills.) Rain barrels help in reducing stormwater runoff and soil erosion. When stormwater hits the ground, it picks up oils, pesticides and other matter that pollutes local waterways. Flood waters also carry away soil that could be used to absorb rain water, making future flooding even worse.
We hope you agree that displaying rain barrels that have been designed and painted by local talent helps beautify the park and the area!
What happens to the rain barrels after they are deinstalled?
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation will give away the rain barrels in a random drawing to Hackensack residents or Hackensack-based organizations. We will give special consideration to residents and organizations from Central Hackensack. You can enter to win a painted rain barrel, or get an unpainted rain barrel by signing up below.
On November 11th, NNJCF’s ArtsBergen wrapped up the Barrels O’ Art public art display in Carver Park. Through a random drawing, eleven lucky Hackensack residents were selected to win each of the colorfully painted barrels.
Congratulations to the winners!
- Patricia Battle
Field of Dreams by Artist Emily Gilman Beezley
- Amanda Berk
Dark Skies Bright Eyes by Artist John Newcomb
- Joselin Lucero
Falling Skies by Artist Anthony Coplan
- Lucas Solano
Mosaic Unicorns by Artist Sasha Zinevych
- Julianna Kowal
Cupcake Dragons by Artist Lissanne Lake
- Ramya Chellappa
Hackensack Blossoming by Artist Amrisa Niranjan
- Tiffany Marrello
Do You Believe in Fairy Tales by Artist Guillermo Lopez
- Janet Wicka
Underwater Wonder by Artist Dianna Mammone
- Rosemary Flowers-Jackson
Tomorrow In/Sight by Artist Toney Jackson
Salsa by Artist Copie Rodriguez
- Lorraine Geraghty
Superbloom by Artist Fiona Clark