The Green Team takes charge

June 16, 2013

The Green Team takes over the show

I’m not here today. That’s what you need to know at the outset. Hey, I’m not taking weeks and weeks off like Jon Stewart! I’ll be back next week. Of course, if I had a film to direct, I would certainly take as much time as I needed to get the film done. But I don’t. So, on to the point I was going to make.

My intrepid crew, The Green Team, is handling the show in my absence. I’m talking about Lisa Albrecht, Sarah Batka, Rob Kartholl, Carol Brewer and Denny Schetter. They have lined up the guests and will handle the interviews and everything else.

I hope that doesn’t keep you from listening. In fact, I hope that more of you than ever will tune in, if only to support these great folks who show up almost every Sunday to help me spread the gospel of gardening, the environment and green living, and do it with very littlel reward…except maybe a chance to fill in for the boss when he takes a day off.

Soooooo….here we go….

A guide to local farmers markets…with Rob Gardner

Local Food enthusiasts are about to be in Farmers Market heaven as we move into full market season. And, it’s already shaping up for a great summer with more market options including Night Markets in Chicago and expanded choices across Chicagoland. If you haven’t discovered The Local Beet or are new to the Farmers Market scene, be prepared to learn things you didn’t know you didn’t know!

Editor and Publisher, Rob Gardner will be joining us to give an insight into local eating. A self proclaimed locavore, Rob and Michael Morowitz launched The Local Beet to provide a guide to local eating. It has evolved to become a key guide to CSA’s, farmers markets, food resources tips and community. It features

· 175 Farmers Market locations and growing!
· Extensive CSA listings to help you pick!
Tons of activities in the area – cooking classes including cheese and sausage making, info on local food issues such as GMO labeling, home canning – you name it!
· List of What’s in Season now so you can plan your shopping and your menu’s.

· Great blogs including:

For those that might not know, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is kind of like subscribing to a farm, paying in advance for weekly produce boxes throughout the growing season. One of the greatest joys and benefits in doing so is getting to know the farmer and the folks who actually grow your family’s food and among the best and most caring is Jessica Rinks of Purple Leaf Farms . Jessica is a true southern gal from Tennessee who chucked her urban planning degree in 2007 to pursue a degree as a Master Gardener. In 2010 she started growing food for restaurants in raised beds and Purple Leaf has just kept growing from there as she has moved to a full acre of farming in Elgin.

Purple Leaf focuses on sustainably produced vegetables, herbs and cut flowers and although not organic certified, uses chemical-free methods. There’s no miracle-gro here, just compost for soil enrichment, biodegradable cardboard mulch to prevent weeds and retain moisture, super efficient drip irrigation to conserve water, and the use of non-chemical pest management practices.

Sign up now if you would lie to join Jessica’s CSA. Delivery starts in July and runs through October.

And if committing to a CSA is tough for whatever reason, you can also find Jessica at the following Farmers Markets:

· Tuesdays 2pm – 7pm Columbus Park Farmers Market (Chicago)

· Thursdays 7am – 2pm Hines Veterans Hospital Farmers Market (Hines IL)

Biking in Chicago

Michael Bush is the Shop Manager at Ciclo Urbano, the full-service sales and repair shop of West Town bikes. He is also an avid gardener and homesteader, and is currently a Master Gardener Intern through the University of Illinois Extension program.

Anthony Cruz is 19 years old, and has been participating in West Town Bikes’ programs for the past three years. This summer, he completed his one year apprenticeship at Ciclo Urbano, and is now a full-time Junior Mechanic.

Michael and Anthony met at West Town Bikes two summers ago when Michael volunteered to lead a youth Urban Agriculture program, and Anthony was one of the participants. During that program, they rode bikes to and from community gardens and urban farms, hauled mulch, weeded, built compost bins and more.

Now they work together at West Town Bike to educate youth with a focus on under-served populations, and to foster and serve Chicago’s growing bicycling community. While maintaining headquarters and a workspace on Paseo Boricua in Chicago’s historic Humboldt Park neighborhood, WTB has become a city-wide service provider for youth programs in the city of Chicago.

Today they stop by the studio to talk about the just-completed Chicago Bike to Work Week, as well as WTB’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Tour de Fat in Palmer Square.

Get inspired at Inspiration Kitchens

Inspiration Corporation offers employment training and job placement services to Chicagoans hardest hit by homelessness and poverty, allowing individiuals to take action to improve their own lives. Michael Webb is the case manager at Inspiration Kitchens in Garfield Park, where students learn valuable skills to ready them for employment in the restaurant industry.

The restaurant features produce grown from its own garden, which is run entirely on organic and permaculture principles. In addition to being the case manager for Inspiration Kitchens, Michael Webb also oversees the garden, as well as several other community gardens in Garfield Park.

He has been a gardener since the age of 23 and reluctantly converted to permaculture after seeing these regenerative principles at work. Michael’s passion is soil biology — all of the interactions and organisms that go on unseen in the garden — and he believes that if you take care of the soil, the plants will be able to take care of themselves.

His strategy appears to be working, as his gardens are booming and the produce that goes into the meals at Inspiration Ktichens is about the tastiest that you’ll find anywhere in Chicago. Michael also trains others in sustainable gardening practices, and has been a speaker for Openland’s GardenKeepers Community Food Garden Network workshop series as well as offering his own workshops out of Inspiration Kitchens.

Bring Your Bag Chicago rally Tuesday at City Hall

Last week, I posted information about an initiative called Bring Your Bag Chicago.To see more about the consequences of our addiction to plastic bags–especially in Chicago, check out this video called Plastic Bags: Not an American Beauty.

In an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags, 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, along with six co-signers, has proposed legislation called the Chicago Checkout Bag Ordinance. It would require that Chicago retail establishments larger than 5,000 square feet would no longer be able to provide free single-use plastic bags to customers. This ordinance, which will be introduced in the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection on Tuesday, June 18, encourages a shift away from disposables and towards reusables.

There’s also a petition that has already garnered more than one thousand signatures. I urge you–whether or not you live in Chicago–to add your name to the list.

We (and I mean “we” because I have been working on this measure), encourage you to show up at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall, 121 N LaSalle Street in Chicago, this Tuesday to show your support for this initiative to rid ourselves of what is really just a nasty bad habit.

Climate Change is real! Teach others about it and make a difference

On last week’s hsow, we mentioned that Al Gore and team are coming to town in July to train new speakers for The Climate Reality Project. One of the people who was trained by the former vice president himself is our own Lisa Albrecht.

Lisa will be presenting The Climate Reality Program on Friday June 21st at the Peoples Church/Preston Bradley Center (941 W. Lawrence Avenue) at 7pm. Contact her,, if you would like to host a training for your organization–FREE! Learn the science, why there is confusion in the public and what solutios we already have at hand to be used NOW.