10th Ward Green Summit

This post was all prepared for publishing Sunday, but…what can I say.  I forgot to post it. So, let’s pretend it’s Sunday, May 10.

Yesterday I attended the 10th Ward Green Summit:  “Second annual event offering local residents information on green, eco-friendly and healthy initiatives designed to enhance the community’s quality of life and promote economic development.”

Alderman John A. Pope was there.100_0104


Neil Bosanko from the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce was there.100_0106


The young lady on the left was the keynote speaker,  Naomi Davis from Blacks In Green.100_0111

Here they’re getting ready to cut the ribbon on “Steel Millie,”  a 25 cents per ride trolly  that provides transportation through a four-mile area with the goal being “to keep retail dollars in the community by bringing shoppers to the shopping district.” 

It was nice.  They had live entertainment.100_0116

They had a live singer too (sorry, I didn’t get her picture, but I thought she was pretty good),  workshops, tours on the trolly, a health fair, a bike tour, arts and crafts with recyclables, corn husk doll making, and much, much more.

Freebies galore:  The representatives from the Citizen’s Utility Board gave away energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and surge protectors, a rep from Jackson Hewitt gave away coffee thermoses, free pine tree saplings were given out, resuable shopping bags, just to name a few.  They even fed us lunch.

I was there because Gregory Bratton asked me to help out Dinah Rameriz, the Coalition Coordinator from Healthy South Chicago.  

Here’s Stephanie, the other volunteer and Dinah.100_0113

What Dinah did was made salsa and gave away samples.  One of the focuses of Healthy South Chicago is making healthy food choices, and the salsa is made with nopales which lowers blood sugar and blood pressure. 

The salsa was really, really good.  So good, in fact, that Dinah got invited to appear on Cookin’ wit’ Tittle by LaDonna Tittle.  Cookin’ wit’ Tittle can be seen on CAN TV every Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 2 p.m. 

Here’s Dinah and LaDonna Tittle talking about the salsa.100_0118

Well, Dinah was saying that the salsa was good and everybody says she should bottle it.  Maybe this is step one.

Happy Gardening Green Healthy Living!!!


Missed Meetings

Looks like I missed another good meeting yesterday. The meeting was held at the Garfield Park Conservatory (where our Building Urban Gardens meetings are held) and given by the Advocates for Urban Agriculture. The AUA is a “network of organizations and individuals working to promote urban agriculture in Chicago.” According to Gregory Bratton, Master Gardener for Healthy Southeast Chicago(that’s just one of the hats he wears), there was a good turnout for the meeting and he was put on their steering committee.

The Advocates for Urban Agriculture has links to many of the Chicago gardening/food organizations and I’ve added their link under Interesting Info. If you have any kind of interest in urban gardening, there’s an organization you can become involved in.

Wish I could have gone, but …

  • It was”time to make the donuts”
  • I had to “bring home the bacon”
  • “baby needed a new pair of shoes”
  • I had to “make a little bread”

Well, you know what I mean. Hopefully next time the world I must live in (the one where you have to earn a living and meet deadlines) and the world I would like to live in (the one where work and fun live in blissful harmony) will be in sync with each other. Until next time…

Happy Gardening!!!

Your garden is the tip of the iceberg in the food world.

Last week, I was invited to sit in on what I understood to be a meeting about gardening. It turned out to be so much more than that. The handout was titled “Food Systems Plan for Northeastern Illinois.” The meeting was the last in a series of meetings that were held to address the logistics of implementing a plan wherein Illinois produces its own food instead of importing. Not only does growing locally address the green issue of cutting out the cost of transportation and the negative impact on the environment, but it addresses the bigger issue of helping our own economy here in Illinois. $48 billion is spent annually by Illinois consumers on food, and the majority of that money is not retained by the state.

The task force was charged with getting feedback from different sectors of the food production community to see how to start instituting that plan. Things like what’s available to you today and what you would like to see in the future.

The food production community includes everyone from the backyard gardener growing a salad garden all the way up to the grocery store that sells you the washed and chopped bagged salad at the store:

  • the farmer
  • the picker
  • the trucker
  • the restaurants that buy from the farmer
  • the person who sells the seeds to the farmer or the gardener
  • the school that buys from the company that prepares the school meals with produce bought from the farmer.

The list goes on and on, and at every level there is the potential for employment.

Sitting in on the meeting was an eye opening experience for me. Healthy Southeast is the organization that is sponsoring my attendance at the BUGs meetings, but I had no idea there were so many gardening and gardening related organizations in Chicago.

I stopped in on a meeting yesterday that was given by Angelic Organics Learning Center. It was held at one of the Chicago Public Libraries and the hours were from 12:00 to 2:00. I didn’t quite understand why they had middle of the day hours where working folks couldn’t attend, but when I got there I totally understood.

The subject was starting seeds indoors and outside. The room was filled to capacity, and the majority of the participants were seniors. They were served a nice healthy buffet style lunch, everybody had something to say, and the presenter was one of the BUGs participants. The presenter did a very good job of conveying the information to the group, and they even had parting gifts of packages of seeds.

As a result of the series of meetings that were held on the Food Systems Plan for Northeastern Illinois, a 48-page report was generated and put before the Illinois Senate General Assembly. Dinah Ramirez of Healthy Southeast is in Washington now to attend meetings on the subject. She’s a registered nurse, and she’ll be speaking on the health benefits surrounding community gardens. And Gregory Bratton, the gardens coordinator for Healthy Southeast, has been invited to Springfield to sit in on Senate hearings on the subject. His philosphy is, “One answer to the food problem is in our own back yards.” Gregory has started a number of community gardens on the city’s southeast side, and the produce is used to feed many residents of the community.

At the end of the day, I think we all can be instrumental in helping our local economy and the global economy, and it can start as small as opening up a package of seeds.

Happy Gardening!!!!


Gregory Bratton was invited to recruit State Representatives to sponsor Bill 3990 which is Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act.