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Who We Are

Green Community Connections provides a place to tap into conversations about sustainability issues and to identify concrete steps you can take. We believe change is both necessary and possible and the best way to get there is together. Learn more About Us.

Aquaponics Projects to be featured in talk at Ascension School – Nov 20th at 2pm

Submitted by John Owens

New Development in Urban Agriculture

A new development in urban agriculture is surfacing just off the campus at Chicago State University and at selected high schools in Chicago’s West and South sides. Tilapia and Perch are being raised organically and symbiotically alongside crops of fresh vegetables. Chicago State professor Emmanuel Pratt is developing and promoting aquaculture in Chicago based on systems that he pioneered with Sweet Water Organics in Milwaukee. Follow this link http://sweetwater-organic.com/ for the Milwaukee story.

Learn about projects in the Chicago area

For the Chicago story please join us at 2 PM, Sunday, November 20 at the Ascension School Pine Room,   601 Van Buren, Oak Park. This presentation is sponsored jointly by the Ascension Catholic Church Community Garden Group, the Interfaith Green Network and the Shawnash Institute.  Event Flyer to share with others is attached.

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Oak Park Takes the Lead: Opting to Purchase Electricity from Renewable Sources at a Lower Price

Submitted by Earl Lemberger

Oak Park is first municipality in Illinois to offer residents 100% renewable energy program

Oct. 18, the Oak Park Village Board approved a plan making Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois to offer its residents and small business owners the option to choose a 100% renewable energy program.   This move will provide energy certificates, or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from green sources while saving customers 25% on the energy portion of their bill.  This will result in a projected savings to residents of about $4.5 million over the 2 year agreement with the supplier, Integrys Energy Services.

The current sources of Com Ed’s power were presented as 50% nuclear with the balance predominately coal and other non-renewables. While power will still be delivered to all residents by Com Ed, participating Oak Park residents and businesses will be purchasing power from Integrys which will be generated from 100% renewable sources, thus reducing the proportion of power supplied to the grid by conventional, non-renewable sources.

25% savings on energy portion of the bill will result in an average 15% reduction in overall electric bill

According to Village Manager, Tom Barwin’s post on this topic on his blog, MissionMainStreet, “Based on an average bill of $100 per month, the 25% savings on the energy portion of the bill will result in an approximate 15% reduction in the average resident and small commercial business overall electricity bills over the next two years. All bills will continue to flow through ComEd.”

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Growing Power CSA – Pick-up Available in River Forest

Submitted by Sue Crothers

What is Growing Power?

Growing Power transforms communities by supporting people from diverse backgrounds and the environments in which they live through the development of Community Food Systems. These systems provide high-quality, safe, healthy, affordable food for all residents in the community. Growing Power develops Community Food Centers, as a key component of Community Food Systems, through training, active demonstration, outreach, and technical assistance.

Will Allen, our Chief Executive Officer believes, “If people can grow safe, healthy, affordable food, if they have access to land and clean water, this is transformative on every level in a community. I believe we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy food system.”

Our goal is a simple one: to grow food, to grow minds, and to grow community.

Growing Power’s Chicago Projects Office officially opened in February of 2002 to manage resource development and the technical assistance needed to assist emerging Community Food Centers and urban and small farm projects in the metropolitan Chicago area.  By bringing together food related activities that are typically dispersed, an urban farm as a community food center allows for an integrated approach to addressing food security, ecological, nutrition and public health issues.

Pick-up for CSA deliveries from Growing Power is available in River Forest

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Neighbors connecting with neighbors

Green Connections Bike Tour
Over 100 people learned about sustainability projects at 15 homes, schools, community gardens and green businesses in Sept. 2011.

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Hundred Year Old House on the Green Connections Bike Tour

Submitted by Ginger Vanderveer

Green Connections Tour host shares impressions from the visitors to her home

Fifty or more engaged citizens visited the one hundred year old house at 824 Woodbine in Oak Park.  The first ten delighted in tasting fresh asparagus that was harvested as they watched.  Another group spied an infant American goldfinch munching on seeds from the prairie garden in the parkway.  Several gasped in surprise when the forty-foot oak in the parkway was described as twelve years old.  This Swamp White Oak was nourished for twelve years by the vegetation collected at the storm drain nearby.  The children that dropped by were most interested in the ‘Halloween Bugs’ clinging to the butterfly weed.

Everyone agreed they would come back next fall to help harvest the sweet potatoes that will be growing in the green roof at 824 Woodbine in Oak Park.  Maybe we can have a fire pit and roast them with some marshmallows.

Visitors questioned the rain barrel configuration and noticed that the barrel was raised to improve water pressure.  The modified green roof on this house uses deep flower boxes bolted to the outside wall.  As one visitor noted – the green roof is removable.  This manner of attachment protects the roof from bearing excessive weight.  The flower boxes were added to the porch roof to cool the black asphalt shingles that surface the roof.  The upstairs room whose windows overlook this roof has been cooled by as much as seven degrees since adding the green roof.  In discussing the green roof there were inquiries about the benefits around the color choice of asphalt shingles.  The consensus is as follows:  a dark colored roof keeps the house warmer (the house is less expensive to heat in winter); a light colored roof keeps the house cooler and reflects light (the house is less expensive to cool in summer and the reflection of light).

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Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors from the One Earth Film Festival.