Tag Archives: sustainability

BD Provisions: Saving The Earth, In Bulk

The average American produces 4 1/2 pounds of trash a day. With 28,000 residents in Westport, that’s 45 million pounds of trash per year. It’s probably tons more, of course; we are not exactly “average” Americans.

BD Provisions has a modest goal: get 5% of Westporters to cut their waste by 5%. That’s still over 100,000 pounds of waste diverted from landfill.

So what’s BD Provisions, and how will they do it?

It’s 2 stores: one in Fairfield’s Brickwalk, the other in Newtown. They call themselves “a carefully curated collection of bulk foods sold by the pound in sustainable containers.”

BD carries everything from basic pantry staples to trendy superfoods. There are over 300 items in all: pastas, rice, cereals, bulk teas, spices, grains, snacks, baking ingredients, nuts, candies, chocolates and more. Everything is sold by weight.

Bins and tins at BD Provisions …

Artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegar and local honey is always on tap. They also roast coffee, so you can take your beans home while they’re warm.

You know that satisfaction you get when you scoop the candy at Fresh Market, and get just what you need? That’s the feeling at BD — except you do it throughout the entire store.

Biodegradable and compostable packaging options further ease the environmental impact. The store encourages shoppers to bring their own bags — even canning jars — from home. (You can also buy them there, to reuse over and over.)

… and shelf after shelf of herbs.

BD Provisions is the brainchild of Westporter Tara DiPippa and her husband Tony, and John and Cynthia Boccuzzi. The DiPippas would love to open another location in their hometown.

Until then, they’re connected to Westport by donating 100% of their hot coffee sales all month long to the Gillespie Center.

Sure, it takes a bit more gas to get to the Brickwalk than a store here — for some Westporters, anyway.

But think of all that waste you’re not creating. We’ll get to that 100,000 pounds per year goal — one coffee bean, oat and nut at a time.

Meet Stacy Fowle: Westport’s Teacher Of The Year

Growing up in Westport, Stacy Jagerson was fortunate to have many superb teachers: “legends” like Dave Harrison, Sarah Herz, Nancy Roche and George Weigle.

She also had Jo Ann Davidson and Karen Ernst, at Kings Highway Elementary and Bedford Middle School, respectively. Both are former Westport Public Schools Teachers of the Year.

Stacy — now Stacy Fowle — moved back to Westport nearly 20 years ago. Her children have gone through the Westport schools. Last year, Enia Noonan — Fowle’s daughter Addy’s Staples High Italian teacher — was selected as district Teacher of the Year.

Every fall, a different educator is chosen Teacher of the Year. The newest honoree comes from Greens Farms Elementary School: 5th grade teacher Stacy Fowle.

She’s clearly learned a lot from her former instructors and current colleagues. But her career path was not always clear.

Stacy Fowle, with her Block “S” from the Staples High School soccer team. “That’s the last award I won, before Teacher of the Year,” she jokes.

At Staples she captained the 1984 soccer team, and sang in choir. But although she looks back on her 13 years in the Westport schools “very, very fondly” — and calls her education here “amazing” — Fowle was not always a standout student.

“There were some rough patches,” she admits.

She attended St. Lawrence University, but dropped out before graduation. She traveled in India for 6 months, then volunteered as an English as a Second Language instructor in New York City.

That inspired her to take grad school courses to become a teacher. But first, she realized, she needed an undergraduate diploma.

She completed her degree at Sacred Heart University, then entered the Bank Street program.

Fowle calls the school’s progressive approach “transformational.” Her educational philosophy — “very child-centered, not top-down lecturing” — was honed there.

Stacy Fowle

Fowle taught for 7 years at PS 234 in Tribeca. She spent the next 7 as a literacy consultant, helping teachers build reading and writing curriculums.

She was living in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001. By December, Fowle, her husband and 3 young children had moved to Westport. “We were ready,” she says.

She was ready too for a new challenge.

“Consulting is lonely,” she notes. “You’re an outsider. And you’re not always received well by teachers.”

Fowle missed having her own class, and “being on a team with colleagues.”

Meanwhile, she wanted to put all the ideas she was talking about into practice.

Fourteen years ago, she got that Greens Farms 5th grade job. She’s been there ever since. This district is a great fit, she says, for her child-centered approach to education.

Stacy Fowle (3rd from left), with her Greens Farms Elementary School “team”: Mary Ellen Barry, Chris Chieppo and Christine Theiss.

Teachers of the Year do not know who nominated them, or why. But Fowle suspects she was selected in large part because of her work around sustainability, and the composting program she helped develop at her school.

Students, staff, parents, cafeteria workers and custodians — all are involved. The concept has spread to other schools in the district. Non-school organizations have taken note too.

Fowle’s environmental consciousness comes from her family. Her mother, Sherry Jagerson, began composting in the 1970s. (Decades later, she was a driving force behind the creation of the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve). Her brother Ty is a leader in the solar energy field.

Stacy Fowle with her brother Ty and mother Sherry, at the New York Climate March.

Fowle praises Westport school administrators — at her school, and the town school office — for their “full support” of Greens Farms’ composting initiative.

And — much like Miss Americas take on causes like civil rights or HIV education — Fowle is using her Teacher of the Year platform to raise awareness of sustainability.

In her speech at the public schools’ convocation — the first district-wide event of the year — and last night, when the Board of Education feted her, Fowle spoke passionately about the power of students to take on “hard work” like climate change.

“It’s real. It’s our future,” she says. “We need to talk about Westport schools as a leader not just in academics, arts and sports, but the environment.”

Greens Farms students avidly join in the “zero waste” effort.

Her words have already had an impact. At a restaurant the other night a Staples teacher recognized her, and came to Fowle’s table.

“She said she’s composting now. And she’s changing the way she works,” the Teacher of the Year says proudly.

Of course, Fowle adds, the school district honor is not hers alone. It recognizes “our initiative, and the work being done by so many kids and colleagues.” She also cites administrators, parents and community members, for their support.

So what’s been the reaction of her students, to the news that their instructor is Teacher of the Year?

Not much. After all, they’re only in 5th grade.

Besides, they’re too busy composting.