Early in 2012, Eden Village Camp, the Jewish organic farm camp in Putnam Valley, NY, converted its backup diesel engine to run on used vegetable oil.
Its first test came this past summer, on July 15, 2012, when a big storm hit. The 200 campers and staff were confined to the dining hall until the storm passed. After a thunder crash, the electricity went out, and the campers let out a collective howl in the dark. A moment later, the camp could hear the hum of its backup generator starting up, and the lights returned – and the air was soon filled with a slight scent of French fries. That is the trademark scent of a generator powered by waste veggie oil!
An environmentalist to my core, I tend to notice the use of disposable plates that are piled into landfills, the bowl of Washington apples when New York produces its own, the summer fruit salad in January and the typical plate of pasta at events – the only vegetarian option available. Needless to say, I’ve learned to travel with granola bars.
But this past weekend I was one of an intimate crowd gathered at Eden Village Camp for the Green Zionist Alliance’s fourth annual Green Israel Summit. This was my third weekend program at Eden Village – the brand new Jewish summer camp and retreat center that has sustaining the Earth at its core. Each time I visit, I’m content to see an organization that carries its values into its actions.