Founded in 2007, Sure We Can is New York City’s only licensed, not-for-profit, homeless-friendly redemption center that provides canners a safe place to store, sort, and sell the cans and bottles they collect. But, it is much more than a redemption center, it is a community asset and resource. Despite their diverse backgrounds, the Sure We Can Community is united by the precariousness of their work and their desire to bring environmental awareness to the community at large.
Through a series of community and stakeholder workshops, the team at Sure We Can proposed a host of programs and resources to the community and asked for feedback, fresh ideas and insights. These workshops informed and strengthened Sure We Can’s vision of creating a place for learning and sharing for the entire neighborhood, from sustainability-based field trips for school children to income generation for the most vulnerable members of our city.
We worked with SWC towards a ‘Vision Plan’ that aimed to secure their current site at 219 McKibbin Street, but also introduce a large-scale composting initiative, a teaching garden, rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, a gathering space and a community learning center utilizing re-purposed and recycled materials and off-the-grid technologies. These innovative capital improvements would not only contribute to the canning community that it directly serves, but to the local community of Bushwick and New York City at large.
While the organization continues to work towards ownership of their site, they have achieved many of the goals they outlined by creating a teaching garden, greenhouse, composting center and chicken coup (among other things).