ReExchangeDIY Furniture? The allure of building home furnishings from reclaimed lumber and recycled hardware: whats not to love!?

These Rebuilding Exchange workshops cover the fun and fertile field of DIY projects including building bookcases, tables, planter boxes, repurposing old mirrors and adding an Arts & Crafts-y woodworking style to then all.

The new fall workshop schedule is now online! They’ve added another section of the ever-popular Woodworking 101 and are offering a few new classes, including Woodworking 102, where you will learn how to make a base for the table or bench top you made in 101.

In addition, check out the fresh crop of DIY lecture-style classes such as Wood Identification and Home Brewing 101!

Dear Friends and Members of the Empirical Opera-

Well, its been a while,…  After taking on a new job and a reorganization of my personal life there wasn’t much time left to keep the E.O. social & community activism blog and event meet-ups active last year. But all good things must come to a…rebirth?! At least we’re going to try it here and now.  You can expect to find some new content posted to the E.O. on a probably less frequent but still hopefully active basis, In that vein, please feel free to submit your own events for E.O. updates or send inquiries  by emailing me,  Jason Greenberg:  artworksdesign@ameritech.net. As maestro of the E.O. I’ll try to post up relevant community events and opportunities as they come across my desk…and hope to see you out in Chicagoland soon at some of these great social and local community events.

Let the grand Opera continue!

EmpiricalOperaHeaderBar

Tell Congress to Suspend Bee-Toxic Pesticides

The House “Save America’s Pollinators Act” would suspend the approval of bee-toxic pesticides.

Click here to urge your Representative to support this crucial legislation today!

macro beeRepresentatives John Conyers (D, MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) have taken a major step to protect pollinators. They have recently introduced the Save America’s Pollinators Act, calling for the suspension of a certain class of systemic pesticides that are killing bees: neonicotinoids (“neonics” for short). Now it’s your turn.

You may have heard of neonics before – neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, and exposure to neonics has become a key culprit in bee population losses.

Just last month, 50,000 bumblebees were killed in a parking lot in Oregon by these very chemicals. This past spring, the European Union placed a two year ban on most neonics. We need to take similar swift action by suspending the use of these chemicals until proven safe to our critical pollinators.

Thankfully, the Save America’s Pollinators Act seeks to do precisely that. This bill calls for the suspension of neonics on plants attractive to bees until a full review of scientific evidence indicates they are safe and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators. This much-needed legislation also requires our government agencies to monitor the health of native bee populations, and to identify and publicly report the likely causes of unusual bee kills.

Tell your Representative to support the Save America’s Pollinators Act and protect our bees!

Click the link here to sign the petition

Article Source: Center for Food Safety, http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

image: Center for Food Safety   contact: office@centerforfoodsafety.org

TreeGrowsInBrooklyn.jpgTreeBrooklyn.jpg

 

Remember that book / film / musical, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

Well now an orchard grows in Logan Square!

(or at least the potential for one, marches toward realization…)

We have blogged about the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP) before. Its a great opportunity for urban greenspace revitalization. Click here for that introductory post.

Here is the latest development as an announcement from CROP…

Since the last big community meeting in August all us CROPsters have been looking forward to this day:

Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development will host the…

Second-Stage Community Meeting Presenting Proposed
Logan Square Community Orchard Project

Wednesday, April 27th
6pm-9pm

at the Logan Square Auditorium
2539 N. Kedzie Blvd.

Please join us to see how your ideas and suggestions from the last meeting have been incorporated into the current plan. CROP could never have come as far as we have in the last two years without the support of our community. We need your voices now more than ever.

Let’s end this lot’s four decades as a forgettable patch of gravel and build our own community orchard. This space has the potential to become a haven for biodiversity, a living testament to the local food chain, and an utterly unique classroom. In addition it will provide all the social and economic benefits of programmed public space.

You can make this vision a reality by participating in this meeting. All you have to do is be present and ready to share your thoughtful opinion.

If you have any questions about the project or the meeting, please check out our website at www.chicagorarities.org

Thanks for your support thus far, and we look forward to seeing you in April!

Sincerely,

Your Neighbors at

The Chicago Rarities Orchard Project

Please come join us as Empirical Opera members present in this conference panel & discussion session at the Family Farmed Expo-

Teaching and Eating in the Garden:

Enabling educators to utilize the school garden in their curriculum and find new models for nutrition education.

Teaching and Eating in the Garden at the
6th Annual CFPAC Summit Food Policy Breakout Session

March 18, 2011 from 11:30am-1:00pm

At the UIC Forum — University of Illinois at Chicago
as a part of the three-day Family Farmed Expo

Location: UIC Forum / 725 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60607. Click for directions/map.
Purchase tickets (for single event, full day, or three-day pass) at the Family Farmed Box Office.

Join this Breakout Session panel presentation and community discussion-
Teaching and Eating in the Garden: Enabling educators to utilize the school garden in their curriculum and find new models for nutrition education.

Breakout Session Goals:
Establishing and incorporating gardens into schools’ curriculum is a priority. Nutrition education must embrace a broader understanding of the ecological, personal and social impact of the foods we eat. School gardens provide an unparalleled opportunity for engaging in the food system and illustrating it’s complexity.

    Participants will come away with:

  • Motivation and inspiration to begin growing edible plants as educational
    tools in a way that can scale to their needs, be that small herb plants in
    the classroom or a larger in situ garden.
  • Recognition of the school garden as an opportunity to teach a wide variety
    of subjects and skills including: biology, history, team work, math, writing…
  • Strategies to encourage student, parent, community and teacher
    involvement in the school garden.
  • Ability to instruct students in Taste Education.
    Session goals, discussion issues & possible policy changes:

  • Funding allocated for establishing school gardens.
  • Healthful cooking instruction included in curriculum.
  • Professional development for teachers to learn gardening skills, garden based curriculum and cooking curriculum.
  • Require nutrition education to include instruction on of food systems (ie.where food comes from, environmental impact, social impact, etc.) in addition to personal health issues.

By presenting this session, we hope to establish a community of people with a
commitment to school gardening and nutrition education who can share contact
information (on a voluntary basis). Creating this access to each other’s passion and skills will bolster success in projects inspired by this session. The hope is that this group will then
begin their own educational gardening and cooking projects and share their
experiences and discoveries with each other.

The session will also provide a take-away “tool kit” that will assist participants in moving forward with policy action in their community.

    The tool-kit will include:

  • example curriculum from several teachers and schools
  • planning and growing advice for establishing a school garden
  • classroom ready recipes
  • sources for gardening materials
  • possible funding sources
  • resources for gardening advice
  • resources for curriculum
  • a list of professional development opportunities

Panelists/Discussion Guiders:

Megan Larmer is a board member with Slow Food Chicago and the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project. In 2010 she was selected as a delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference. Currently, Megan is training as a Master Gardener. Megan is the facilitator & organizer for this CFPAC breakout session.

Lynn Hyndman on retiring from teaching took on the challenge of starting an edible school garden at her former school. The Dawes Garden of Eatin’ begins its eighth year of operation this spring. At the heart of the program is Taste Education along with helping children understand that their food choices effect not only their health but that of the planet.

Patricia Holdredge is a special subject handwork teacher at the Chicago Waldorf School. She is also the master gardener for the school who was instrumental in developing the Sophia Garden for over 10 years and now maintains the school’s beehives and plots in the Ruby Garden in Schreiber Park. In 1999 and 2000 Mayor Daley presented the Sophia Garden with 1st place awards in the City of Chicago’s Landscape Competition.

Jason Greenberg is parent and staff at the Chicago Waldorf School. He teaches sustainable design. As an activist educator he founded the Empirical Opera, the Spring Green Bike Tour, and has collaborated with Angelic Organics Learning Center, Heifer International, Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP) and other locavoure and slow food advocacy organizations.

Jennifer Sandy became involved with Slow Food Chicago through the preSERVE project, a community garden in North Lawndale.

Announcing Chicago Catalog Choice -

A Free Mail Preference Service

The City of Chicago has joined forces with Catalog Choice to offer Chicagoans a free service to reduce unwanted mail. Any resident or business can create an account at  https://chicago.catalogchoice.org to reduce unsolicited catalogs, phone books, credit card offers, coupons and other marketing material received at home and in the workplace. We encourage you to participate and ask for your help in spreading the word.

    You can help us spread the word about the new program: 

  • Forward this as an email to your neighbors, colleagues, family, and friends.
  • Link to the program from your website: https://chicago.catalogchoice.org.
  • Comment about the program on Twitter and/or Facebook.
  • Write about the program in your organization’s newsletters and blogs.

Hey Chicago!
Did you know that Chicagoans send more than 360,000 tons of paper to landfill each year? That’s enough to fill up City Hall three times. Help stop waste at its source with Catalog Choice.

 

“We’ve identified waste reduction as a crucial strategy to meet the goals of our Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP),” says Chicago Department of Environment Commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna. “The mail preference service with Catalog Choice will cut paper waste at the source and offers an ease of use that we know Chicago citizens and businesses will appreciate.”

Annually, Chicagoans send more than 300,000 tons of paper to landfills; material that could be diverted instead. By eliminating or recycling this material, the City can make serious gains towards the CCAP goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through our waste management strategies.

This program is supported by the Chicago Department of the Environment. We appreciate your participation and assistance with spreading the word. If you have any questions about the service, please call (312) 744-5702 or email doecommunications@cityofchicago.org.

Knowledge is Power
Want more information on what Chicagoans throw away and what they recycle? Go to www.chicagorecycles.org to view the full Waste Characterization Study and Waste Diversion Study Results.

Submitted by Kimberly Worthington, Deputy Commissioner
Urban Management & Brownfields Redevelopment, Chicago Department of Environment

Watch The World According to Monsanto,

a FREE movie screening & discussion

Saturday, March 19, 2011 1:00 PM

at the Chicago Public Library – 310 West Division Street Chicago IL

A film by Marie-Monique Robin, The World According to Monsanto focusses on Monsanto’s controversial past with regard to genetically modified foods and toxic products. This movie combines secret documents with first-hand accounts by victims, scientists, and politicians.
Some review comments about this movie-

“Devastating expose … Will freeze the blood in your veins.” The Gazette
“Extraordinary Documentary.” Le Monde
“Scrupulous, thorough, and damning.” Montreal Mirror

The movie is 109 minutes long. Here is a trailer of the movie http://www.nfb.ca/film/monsanto-trailer/ The movie will be succeeded by introductions and discussion. This is a joint event between Chicagoland Green & Eco-living (CGE), and Chicagoland Independent & Documentary Films (CIDF).
The venue is very close to the Brown line Sedgewick stop and the Red line Clark/Division stop.
Any question or comments? Car-pooling arrangements? Please use “Talk about this Meetup” section on the event page.

Only 75 seats available.
Reserve you seat now by signing up on the meetup website.
Click Here to reserve your seat and for more info.

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