Green Event

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.

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

Any teens looking for job opportunities? Here is a social event (& job fair) focused on teens.

Submitted by Empirical Opera member, Sean Shaffer

Celebration at Millennium Park

Tuesday, August 10
Live Entertainment at 7pm
Film Screening at 8pm

Open to the public for free.

7:00-8:00 p.m.: Performances, music, fun activities and speeches
8:00-10:00 p.m.: Screening of Carbon Nation

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave and Columbus Ave

The City of Chicago will host a Carbon Nation Celebration to celebrate the power of every-day climate change solutions for families, businesses and citizens. The event will include:

  • Performances by comedian Hal Sparks and the Happiness Club
  • Family activities and exhibits from the Museum of Science and industry
  • Celebrity appearances on the green carpet by the star of SHREK THE MUSICAL
  • Speeches from Chicago Department of Environment & Carbon Nation director
  • The world premiere and free screening of Peter Byck’s Carbon Nation film

Celebrity attendees include:

  • Mayor Daley–invited
  • Bill Kurtis, acclaimed documentary host and producer
  • Hal Sparks, actor and comedian
  • Suzanne Malec-McKenna, commissioner, Chicago Department of Environment
  • Peter Byck, director and producer of Carbon Nation
  • Star of Broadway in Chicago’s SHREK THE MUSICAL
  • The Happiness Club

Attendees also include those featured in the film:

  • Van Jones – Founder “Green For All” – Green Jobs Activist
  • Bernie Karl – “Crazy Alaskan” Geothermal Pioneer
  • Cliff Etheredge – West Texas Cotton Farmer turned Wind Farm Organizer
  • David Etheredge – Son of Cliff and Partner in Wind Farm
  • Dan Nolan – US Army Col. Retired
  • Art Rosenfeld – Energy Efficiency Pioneer and Retired Commissioner of the California Energy Commission
  • Michael Dunham – from JACO – “Fridge Guy”

This event is to celebrate the city’s commitment to environmental leadership and tackling climate change. In 2008, the city launched the Chicago Climate Action Plan which focuses on five major strategies—from energy efficient buildings and renewable energy to transportation, waste pollution and adaptation—to reduce Chicago’s greenhouse emissions 25 percent by 2020.

Here are some film stills:

Here is more info about the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

This event is promoted by Empirical Opera member, Samantha Mattone.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 1:00 PM

Sulzer Regional Public Library
4455 N. Lincoln Ave (just north of Montrose Avenue)
Chicago, IL 60625

The 2009 documentary “Home” is almost entirely composed of aerial shots of various places on Earth. It shows the diversity of life on Earth and how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. The movie was released simultaneously on June 5, 2009 in cinemas across the globe, on DVD, Blu-ray, television, and on YouTube. By opening in 181 countries, the film broke the world record for the largest film release in history.

Here is a short (2.5 min) trailer:

The movie is about one-and-half-hours long and will be followed by a discussion. Then we will have some socializing/networking and some food samples donated by Loving Hut restaurant!

Free movie, interesting discussion, and free food – anything else to wish for?

Empirical Opera is is inviting its members to attend this event that is being sponsored by Chicago-land Green & Eco-Living (CGE), ChicagoVeg, and Chicago-land Documentary and Indie Films (CDIF).

Please RSVP at CGE meetup, so they can track attendance as the number of seats is limited. Please respond early to make sure you get your seat and please be responsible with your RSVP.

Here are some stills from the movie:

Join us for a symposium on All Things Bees, (& worms too) for this Mother’s Day weekend!

To Bee or Not To Bee

Saturday May 8th from 1pm – 5pm
North Park Village Nature Center
5801 N. Pulaski Road

A number of folks (including many Empirical Opera members) will be running workshops and presenting lectures and activities about maintaining bee hives, harvesting honey and the latest info from experts within the Bee-keeping community.

Come to The North Park Village Nature Center this Saturday to learn more about bees. Hear experts in the field lecture on the latest knowledge in the field. Tour the Nature Center’s own hives and more…

Also Vermicomposting Workshops (that’s worm farming) will train you to start your own worm composting bins.

Prizes of free composting earth machines, worm bins and other things will be raffled off to participants.

Organized by E.O. member, Hazel L’Auria Ginsberg
Presentations by E.O. members, Sean Shaffer, Roberta Schmatz, Karin Brennan, Jason Greenberg and more. Supported by the Chicago Conservation Corps and the North Park Village Nature Center’s educational programming.

For more info click here (or the image) for a larger, more readable version of the poster.

Or  email Hazel with questions or call the Nature Center at 312.744.5472.

Fermentation Workshop

w/Ben Walker

Sunday, May 9, 2010  /  1-3 p.m.
3459 W. Diversey, Apt. 3

$10 per person (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
Snacks provided

Hello all and happy Spring!

Ben Walker will cover the basic how-to’s and what’s-it’s of fermentation and it’s history, and focus on the dairy cultures this time. There will be samples of, and instructions for, making a number of simple milk-based ferments, along with some delicious dairy-free alternatives. These will include herbed yogurt cheese, kefir, creme fraiche, coconut milk yogurt, and more. Small starter cultures will be available, so bring your own container with a lid if you can.

Though not dairy ferments, some extra kombucha mothers will also be available (Ben and his roommates are up to their eyes in them). Representatives of two local businesses will be offering discounts to workshop participants. Qa’id Hassan of Whole Earth Meats ( will deliver any pre-orders to the workshop free of charge and will also be giving away 15% off coupons for his selection of local grass-fed meats. Emily Hildebrand of Essential Acupuncture Chicago will be offering 20% off the first acupuncture treatment for participants. Some delicious light fare will be provided by Jen Breckner, our host-extraordinaire.

The workshop will be led by Ben Walker, an urban farmer, beekeeper, and student of traditional Western herbalism. The location is 3459 W. Diversey #3 (Diversey & St.Louis), near several buses and the Logan Square (Spaulding exit) Blue Line stop. There is also plenty of street parking nearby. Any questions? Ben- 815-257-6007, or

Hope to see you there!

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