Exhibitions & Conferences

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.


Celebrate the opening of this photo art show focusing on ecological themes within the city.

How do artists feel about the environment? Come find out…

Submitted by E.O. member, Sean Shaffer

Please come join us in celebrating a night of creative exhibitionism (literally!)

Click here to see a larger–more readable–version of the poster’s information.

Apply your creative, designing mind to making a sustainable eco-friendly home…

Design a customized, artistic, ecological Birdhouse for TWEET HOME CHICAGO
This design competition promotes the value of bird communities in our urban environment.

Chicago is a great city for birds and over 80 native species of birds nest here. Two hundred more use our city as a resting stop during migration every spring and fall, finding vital protection and food in the city’s parks, river ways, lakeshore, school grounds, street trees, and backyards.

Birds are an important part of the web of life — controlling insect populations and other pests,
pollinating flowers, and bringing nature into people’s lives.

Professional designers, carpenters, and artists, along with students and novices are encouraged
to design and build a house for one of the eight species in the competition and be inspired by the bird-friendly habitats in Chicago.

Application registration is due by April 16th

Finished Birdhouses submitted (with entry forms) to the Chicago Center for Green Technology on April 29-May 1st.

Printable Info & Application Forms:
Competition Guidelines
Bird Species Categories & Specifications
Entry Form
Competition Facts Poster

Join us at the 5th FamilyFarmed EXPO
March 13, 2010 10am – 6pm
And enter for a chance to win amazing foodie prizes

You won’t want to miss this year’s Local Food Festival! There will celebrity chef demos, be fun and engaging workshops about local food, urban agriculture, growing your own food and even raising chickens in your backyard. You can also meet farmers, sign up for a CSA and learn how to eat local year-round. Round out your day by checking out the Kids’ Corner, Local Food Court and EXPO bookstore.

We’re also celebrating our 5th year of the FamilyFarmed EXPO with a Contest! Enter for a chance to win dinner for 4 at Frontera Grill & meet Chef Rick Bayless, a year’s worth of dairy products from Organic Valley, or a Burrito Party for 50 from Chipotle!

Get your tickets today!
Saturday March 13, 2010 10 am – 6 pm
UIC Forum
725 W. Roosevelt, Chicago IL
Produced by Familyfarmed.org

2010 Contest Bug

Some Reflections on the Locavore Movement

Why Eat Locally?

Our food now travels an average of 1,500 miles before ending up on our plates. This globalization of the food supply has serious consequences for the environment, our health, our communities and our tastebuds. Much of the food grown in the breadbasket surrounding us must be shipped across the country to distribution centers before it makes its way back to our supermarket shelves. Because uncounted costs of this long distance journey (air pollution and global warming, the ecological costs of large scale monoculture, the loss of family farms and local community dollars) are not paid for at the checkout counter, many of us do not think about them at all.

What is eaten by the great majority of North Americans comes from a global everywhere, yet from nowhere that we know in particular. How many of our children even know what a chicken eats or how an onion grows? The distance from which our food comes represents our separation from the knowledge of how and by whom what we consume is produced, processed, and transported. And yet, the quality of a food is derived not merely from its genes and the greens that fed it, but from how it is prepared and cared for all the way until it reaches our mouths. If the production, processing, and transport of what we eat is destructive of the land and of human community — as it very often is — how can we understand the implications of our own participation in the global food system when those processes are located elsewhere and so are obscured from us? How can we act responsibly and effectively for change if we do not understand how the food system works and our own role within it?

Eat Locally!

Can we stay within a 100 mile radius? While corporations, which are the principal beneficiaries of a global food system now dominate the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food, alternatives are emerging which together could form the basis for foodshed development. Just as many farmers are recognizing the social and environmental advantages to sustainable agriculture, so are many consumers coming to appreciate the benefits of fresh and sustainably produced food. Such producers and consumers are being linked through such innovative arrangements as community supported agriculture and farmers’ markets. Alternative producers, alternative consumers, and alternative small entrepreneurs are rediscovering community and finding common ground.

Above reflections excerpted from the website Locavores.com

What’s coming to town bigger, better and more diverse than last year’s 1-day event?

Saturday & Sunday March 20-21

This year, over a full weekend (with an opening DIY Eco-Fashion Show & Launch Party on Friday), the Swap-O-Rama-Rama offers a broad range of workshops, booths, demonstrations and opportunities for you to take on DIY projects and make stuff from pre-existing stuff,recycled clothing and etc. This years ethos: “Creators, Not Consumers” says it all; Use your creativity to extend the life-value of materials and objects/ Make objects that are cool, fun, functional while conserving energy and natural resources. Go green by reclaiming, refashioning and repurposing old objects and materials rather than buying new and thus driving up the demand for a “disposable goods” culture.  Learn how to knit, sew, silkscreen, weave, make hand-made jewelry and more! Personalized, independent production has never been so much fun!
More info at swap-il.com.

Promoted by E.O.member, Anne Cousino

Dear Teachers & Supporters of the Chicago River,
It is my pleasure to invite you to the 2010 Chicago River Student Congress. It’s a special conference where students have the chance to shine while learning more about the Chicago River and its watershed. Students will share their knowledge, experiences and enthusiasm with their peers and environmental professionals. Students attend informative workshops and view displays created by other students and by professionals from local non-profit and
government agencies.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
Amundsen High School 5110 N. Damen Ave., Chicago

This Year’s Theme: Cleaner Water for All! This year’s Congress will highlight the importance of water quality in the Chicago River watershed. From chemical measures, to the disinfection of the river, to biological factors such as dissolved oxygen and macroinvertebrates, we all have a vested interest in improving water quality. Workshops and exhibits should highlight your students’ varied experiences in improving water quality. We all play a vital role to safeguard the health of the river’s ecosystems, for all plants, animals, and people.

For more info visit the event page on the Friends of the Chicago River website.

And attached is a PDF with application form and more details about the event.