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Local merchants to donate 5 percent of Earth Day sales to parks groups

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  April 10, 2013 11:01 AM

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Greenway napping.jpg

Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com

Visitors relaxed in the North End Parks of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in May 2012.

On Earth Day this year, supporting local parks will be as easy as ordering a pizza or buying a pair of sneakers.

Five parks organizations have teamed up with more than 40 local businesses and national chains for the 5 percent for Earth Day program.

The concept is simple: for each purchase made on Earth Day, April 22, at a participating merchant, 5 percent will go into a fund to be divided equally among the Charles River Conservancy, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Esplanade Association, the Friends of the Public Garden, and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

The funds will help to support ongoing maintenance of the parks, capital improvements, and programs.

Charlie McCabe brought the idea to Boston from Austin, Texas, where he worked before taking his position as the Greenway Conservancy’s director of public programs in February 2012.

A central Texas conservation organization called the Hill Country Conservancy first organized a group of other environmental groups four years ago to form the Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign, which has grown every year since.

McCabe said these programs give the environmentally conscious a relatively easy way to participate in Earth Day, which comes each April 22, typically on a weekday when many can’t get away from their jobs for a big event.

The programs also provide opportunities for small businesses to support local organizations, he said.

“It was a great way of approaching businesses that we wouldn’t be able to approach for donations in other ways,” McCabe said.

McCabe said each of the five environmental groups had a goal of recruiting 10 businesses in their area to support the program, but the variations in their surroundings meant some had an easier task than others. So far, 42 businesses have signed on, but there is still time for others to join the effort.

“Everybody’s kind of worked equally on it, and it’s been a very organic approach,” McCabe said.

Participating merchants include the following:

  • food trucks: Kicka** Cupcakes, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Momogoose, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Shuckin Truck, Baja Taco Truck, and the Chicken and Rice Guys;

  • restaurants: Henrietta’s Table, Panificio, The Paramount, Back Deck, Fajitas & ’Ritas, Veggie Galaxy, JP Licks, Veggie Planet, Boloco, Equal Exchange Café, Otto Pizza, Fire and Ice, Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Cornwall’s, Blue Inc., and California Pizza Kitchen;

  • retailers: The Red Wagon, noa jewelry and gifts, Twentieth Century Ltd., Fish & Bone, Blackstone’s, Kitchen Wares, Marathon Sports, Taza Chocolate (on April 21), and Cynthia Rowley;

  • health and wellness businesses: Core de Vie, Townhouse Beauty Bar, Akasha Studio, and Safar; and

  • others: Lenox Hotel, LAZ Parking.
For more information about the 5% for Earth Day program, visit www.give5boston.org.

For more information about the participating parks, visit the following sites:
Charles River Conservancy: www.thecharles.org
Emerald Necklace Conservancy: www.emeraldnecklace.org
Esplanade Association: www.esplanadeassociation.org
Friends of the Public Garden: www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy: www.rfkgc.org

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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