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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.

It Takes a Village to Support a Community Garden!

Remarks by Charlotte Goldman, OPRF High School class of 2011 – at the Grand Opening Of the OPRF “Herban Garden”

Hi my name is Charlotte Goldman and I am one of the many leaders of the Environmental Club. Thank you again everyone for coming to share this important day with us. We have been waiting for this day for almost a year now. From the moment we started work on this project, we have had the help, support, and aid from the community. As some of you know, we first had the idea to build a roof garden, but because of legal reasons, this idea was passed by and we too passed the idea off for other dreams. But by chance, Donna Schuler from the OPRF Garden Club heard of our aspirations to build a community garden. We then received wonderful news over the summer of the gracious gift presented to us by the Garden Club, and we were back in business. This simple gift got us back on our feet, and rejuvenated our passions towards building an urban garden.

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Grand Opening of the OPRF High School’s “Herban” Garden

Remarks by Russell Trenary, OPRF High School class of 2011 – shared at the Grand Opening Ceremony:

This garden despite its small area, has a great potential benefit for the school.  First and foremost, this garden provides our cafeteria a readily available and free source of fresh, organic produce. While we must credit OPRF’s food service in their efforts to purchase produce from nearby farms, this garden takes local food to whole new level.  The industrialized food production system, from fertilization to transportation, is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. This garden is a step in the right direction — away from such a system.

In the coming years we hope to see the current garden be just one section of an expanding urban food production system at OPRF and in the community.  Moreover, the educational impacts of this garden should be fully recognized. The disassociating effects of the industrial food system can be greatly alleviated by the reminder that this garden provides — the reminder that food should come from soil, sun and not too much else.  And while the garden may be small now, it is at the forefront of a rapidly expanding movement in this country principled in the reclaiming of food, whole and simple.

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Composting Inside and Out: 14 Methods to Fit Your Lifestyle

June 20th, at 7pm, Chicago author Stephanie Davies will present a program based on her book, Composting Inside and Out: 14 Methods to Fit Your Lifestyle at the Oak Park Public Library.   The book includes in-depth instruction on the best composting methods for home, garden, and urban living. Plus special features on soil health, composting equipment, and stories from the worm world.

Since graduating from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2008, Stephanie Davies has helped install hundreds of residential worm bins throughout the country. According to the Urban Worm Girl web site, they provide worm composting solutions for everything from household bins for a family, to classroom bins and education for students, and commercial bins for offices and cafeterias.  More recently, she has been installing the first wave of commercial worm bins throughout the Chicago area to help manage commercial restaurant and office waste on a grand scale.

This program is co-sponsored by Ethical Eating, an Oak Park community organization. 7 pm Veterans Room, Second Floor, Main Library.

Charlie’s Gardening Tips – Now that Spring is Really Here . . .

By Charlie Ruedebusch, Head Gardener @ Cheney Mansion

If you haven’t had time to go out and prepare your gardens or planters for the year, don’t worry. The season is just starting!

If your garden soil is heavy and full of clay (and whose isn’t around here?), get yourself lots of compost and mix mix mix it into the soil. Hard work now makes for much easier gardening and happier plants for years to come. Add some slow-release, granular fertilizer into the soil as you mix in the compost (follow the package directions for amounts).

If you have planters and haven’t replaced the potting mix for a few years, buy new mix this year. Old potting soil tends to break down over the years (it is organic, after all). Some potting mixes have fertilizer already in them – if not, add your own slow-release fertilizer according to directions. Don’t use any topsoil in containers – it’s much too dense.

The weather we had this year reminds us that it does still get cold in Chicagoland in May!   While vegetables like peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots, and flowers like pansies don’t mind cold weather and could be planted back in April, many other veggies and most annual flowers need warm weather to thrive. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants hate cold weather and cold soil, and are best planted after mid-May. Many expert gardeners don’t plant their tomatoes until Memorial Day!

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Colony Collapse Disorder Threatens Honey Bees

“ If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.”  — Albert Einstein

Much of our food depends on the pollination of the bees.  “One out of three bites of food comes from the pollination of a honey bee,” so low numbers of bees mean fewer fruits and vegetables.

In recent years, beekeepers have been losing 25 percent of their hives each winter. Thirty years ago, the rate was 5 percent to 10 percent The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as: mites and insect diseases Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides, and migratory beekeeping.   “It could be a combination of all those factors weakening the bees’ immune system,” said David Burns, an Eastern Apicultural Society of North America certified Master Beekeeper.

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