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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.

Marion Street Cheese Market Chef Shares his Vision & Challenges

Article written by Ellen Lipo, OPRF HS Environmental Club based on an Interview with Marion Street Cheese Market Executive Chef, Leonard Hollander

In March, the Marion Street Cheese Market, located at 100 S. Marion Street in Oak Park, became a green-certified restaurant, receiving three out of four stars from the Green Restaurant Association. It is the only green-certified restaurant in Oak Park, and one of only a handful in the Chicago area. The rating is based on 60-70 categories, ranging from floor tile to composting. The rating given then translates to a number of stars.

One of the people responsible for achieving the level of sustainability that led to the certification is Leonard Hollander, the Cheese Market’s Executive Chef.   Mr. Hollander has worked at Marion Street Cheese Market for two years, and together with the owners, Eric Larson and Mary Jo Schuler, has helped create and maintain a green vision for the business. He said that the vision of having a restaurant that operates in as sustainable a manner as possible is something he shares with the owners, and they have since entrusted him to handle many of the food sourcing decisions and day-to-day supply issues of the restaurant.

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Fall 2011 TreeKeepers Classes begin September 10th

Forest trees can live for over 100 years, but urban trees, forced to contend with pollution and limited space for growth, usually survive for only about fifteen years unless they receive special attention—approximately 1,000 trees die in Chicago every year due to neglect. That’s why, since 1991, TreeKeepers have worked throughout the city to keep its trees healthy, administering proper care and promptly recognizing and reporting harmful pests, such as the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle from Asia that targets and kills ash trees.

Fall 2011 TreeKeepers classes begin September 10, at the American Indian Center, 1630 West Wilson Avenue, in Chicago. For complete information on the classes, and to view and download a copy of the Fall 2011 TreeKeepers brochure go to the Openlands website.

Participants in the seven-week program meet every Saturday morning for three hours of hands-on instruction in topics that include basic tree planting and care, species identification, and how to recognize diseases and pests. A low fee of $100 covers the cost of class materials. Financial assistance is available. Classes are taught by professionals from Bartlett Tree Experts, The Care of Trees, Chicago Bureau of Forestry, Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Environment, and the Morton Arboretum, as well as other expert arborists. After completing the coursework, TreeKeeper trainees must pass field tests and a final exam—some institutions grant college credit for the class.

TreeKeepers classes are sponsored by Openlands.  Founded in 1963, Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.

In addition to conserving land and waterways, Openlands conducts thoughtful research, advocates for sound conservation policies, and helps individuals and communities care for their open spaces.

Harambee Barter Day – July 31st, 4-7pm

Shared by Seamus Ford

I  invite you to spread the word about a unique Barter event that Root-Riot is going to be hosting at Harambee Garden.  “Harambee Barter Day” will bring people together to discover the unique resources possessed by the community around them.

The Event will be held on Sunday July 31st from 4-7PM, Location: Root-Riot Harambee, (Race and Waller 500 N Waller in Chicago). We are inviting anyone from the community to come out that day and join us.  The only thing people need to bring is pot luck dish and an idea of what kind of product or service they can trade with another person.   Here are just a few of the kinds of things that people might barter.

Child Care-Music lessons-gardening-house cleaning-drawing a picture-self defense-peas-VCR programing-canning-preserving-drywall-raising goats-raising chickens-eggs-fermenting-squashcompost-handyman–job search coaching-fung shui-Senior Care-airport pickup-bike repair- security consulting-baking cookies-plant identification-furniture moving-organizing-computer repair-dog walking-snow removal-story telling-reading a book to children-resume writing-kayaking lessons-tomato recipes-grocery shopping-building a website-exercise buddy-meal cooking-carpet installation-flying a kite-

When it comes to the people around us, there is no shortage of talent, knowledge and connections.  This event is designed to celebrate and expand that.  Barter Day Info and Link to Flyer and Trading Form

Electricity Aggregation Public Hearings Scheduled & Survey Underway

From K.C.. Poulus, Village of Oak Park Sustainability Manager

Oak Park is holding public hearings July 18 and August 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall to obtain public input into the aggregation planning process.   We encourage you all to attend, but if that is not possible, please consider taking the very quick (less than 5 minutes) survey:   click on the survey tab.  We want to hear about your level of interest in terms of cheapest rate verses cheaper rate and greener power, or the ability to have a choice.  Residents and business owners are both encouraged to take the survey.

The purpose of the public hearings is to accept comments from citizens on the Village’s draft plan of operation and governance for its proposed municipal electric aggregation program, a plan that would bundle – or aggregate – residential and small commercial electric accounts and seek competitive bids from potential suppliers.

The overall goal of the Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Program is to seek a cheaper, and possibly cleaner, energy supply than is currently available through Exelon. A cleaner power source can include options such as eliminating coal-fired power plants and increasing the percentage of renewable energy such as wind and solar included in the power source mix.

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July Garden Photos — Please Send Us Yours!


Root-Riot – Harambee Garden

Root-Riot Madison Community Garden

OPRF High School “Herban” Garden

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