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.


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 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.

What were some of the successes and surprises for the sustainability movement in 2010 ? Where will the movement take us in 2011? Attend the annual State of Sustainable Chicago to gain a wide-angle view on important local initiatives and learn ways to connect with organizations that match your interests.

These panelists discuss the State of Sustainable Chicago:
Randy Blankenhorn, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Jack Darin, Illinois Sierra Club
Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace
Karen Lehman, Fresh Taste Initiative
Graciela Robledo, Claretian Associates

Wednesday Jan. 12th
5:30-8:30pm (panel discussion 6:45-7:45)

Jefferson Tap & Grille
325 N Jefferson St

Foresight Design is sponsoring this event. See their calendar for more event details.
Register here for the event.

Photo of an earlier Green Drinks Chicago event, by Mark Raulston, LEED AP

To any backyard/community gardeners, urban agriculture enthusiasts, or “newbies” interested in starting your own garden:

You know the foundation of a good garden is cultivating a diverse and excellent seed bank. Germinating seeds can be a unique and rewarding experience. Ever set up a seed nursery before? How do you get access to heirloom seeds and other specialty seeds? Connect with other gardeners to trade info, advice, resources and yes, SEEDS!

Every year the Kilborn Park Organic Greenhouse supports local gardeners in kicking off the growing season by hosting an enormous Organic Plants (Seedlings) Sale in early May. Well, now they are extending that support and knowledge by offering this 2-day workshop for gardeners interested in sharing, germinating, and care-taking seeds in the planning for this Spring’s new garden crops.
The event kicks off at 9am with a free Seed SWAP at the greenhouse, followed at 10am by an educational workshop (requiring a small materials fee) in preparing your own seed nursery.

Explore Urban Agriculture:

With A Seed Starting Workshop

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse
3501 N. Kilbourn
RSVP: Kirsten Akre 773-685-3351

Craving unique vegetables? Want those old fashioned French marigolds? Like the delicate herb chervil? Want to show your children the wonders of plants? Sometimes, to get the plants you want–when you want them–you just have to grow them yourself.

Master Gardener and organic advocate Nancy Benjamin will show you the basics of seed starting. Discover seed sources, trays, growing mediums, lights as well as germination tips and times for a whole variety of vegetables and flowers.

This 2-day workshop will be lead by Nancy Benjamin, Master Gardener.
Saturday, January 22 & February 12.
CASH ONLY. Cost: $10
More info about the Kilbourn Park activities is on their calendar.


Here are some more thoughts on the Reform of Education that we have been touching on in the last few weeks.


Sir Ken Robinson has become an inspiring critic and promoter of new “BIG ideas” in education. Here are two of his lectures:

Emphasizing Imagination


Changing Paradigms


And yet another Bee-Keeping Workshop. This one is free.

Explore Urban Agriculture:

Beekeeping in Chicago Workshop

Saturday October 23
Chicago Center for Green Technology
445 N. Sacramento

Backyard beekeeping is on the rise. From rooftops to backyard gardens, Chicagoans are in love with bees and their delicious byproducts.

Backyard beekeeping supports access to local food, provides ecosystem support and job training; however, small scale beekeeping is a part of a larger effort to protect bees from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), resulting in large scale bee loss. Bees are responsible for much of our agricultural food production. Backyard beekeeping can help keep bees healthy and protected from CCD and the suspected causes.

Learn from CCGT’s Green Tech University resident apiary expert John William Christman, M.D. with a hands-on demonstration of equipment, techniques and a generous supply of honey to consume! Even better, this workshop is completely free.

Register soon. Space is limited!
To register call (312) 746-9642, or email your desired class and contact information to with “Green Tech U” as the subject line.

Submitted by E.O. members: Britt Wiley, Kristen Pratt, Sameera Savarla and Sam Mattone (The C3 Team)

Fermilab Lecture Series presents:

“The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate”

Dr. David Archer, University of Chicago
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 8 p.m.
Tickets – $7

Location: Ramsey Auditorium
Fermi National Accelerator Labratory
Batavia, IL 60510
Ph. 630-840-ARTS

When fossil fuel CO2 is released to the atmosphere, it enters the cacophony of the global carbon cycle. Over the centuries the extra CO2 will spread out between the atmosphere, the ocean, and the land surface. After this equilibration is complete, there will still be a fraction of the new CO2 that remains in the atmosphere. This excess CO2 awaits slow chemical reactions with dissolving rocks on land, called weathering reactions, to carry the carbon back into the solid earth in the form of CaCO3. The “lifetime” of fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is a complicated question because there are multiple processes operating, but in general the CO2 concentration will be higher than natural for hundreds of thousands of years. Some components of the climate system, such as the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, will respond most strongly to the “long tail” of the fossil fuel CO2, ultimately raising sea level by 10’s of meters, something like 100 times more than the IPCC forecast for the year 2100.

David Archer is a professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, publishing on Earth’s carbon cycle and its interaction with global climate. Dr. Archer has written a series of outreach books on climate change, including Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, a text for non-science major undergraduates; The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate; and The Global Carbon Cycle, a primer in climate science. He teaches classes on global warming, environmental chemistry, and global biogeochemical cycles, and is regular contributor to the climate science blog site

This lecture is sponsored in part by C2ST Established in 2006, C2ST brings together Chicago’s scientific leaders to provide a form for the discussion of current issues of scientific interest.

CLICK these links for:

Fermilab Gallery image from

Next Page »