Choosing Food with Less Pesticides:  The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen If you choose 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day from EWG’s Clean 15 rather than the Dirty Dozen, you can lower the volume of pesticide you consume daily by 92 percent, according to EWG calculations. You’ll also eat fewer types of pesticides. Picking 5 servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day. If you choose 5 servings from the 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables, you’ll consume fewer than 2 pesticides per day.

If you are like me and can’t keep straight what is on which list, here’s a handy guide you can download PDF of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen and keep it handy!


Dirty Dozen -Buy these organic

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens


 Clean 15 -Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe – domestic
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Note:  Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.


2012 Best Planing Dates for Seeds

See this useful seed planting guide specifically tailored to this area (zip code 60302) from the Farmers Almanac



2012 Oak Park Farmers’ Market Reopens May 19th:

The Market is open the second to last Saturday of May through October. Market hours are 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is located at 460 Lake St., just one block west of Ridgeland Avenue.  For more information:


Community Gardens:

Root-Riot Madison 838 W. Madison. Oak Park, IL : Located almost on the northwest corner of Madison and Grove in Oak Park, this site will have approximately 47 4′ x 8′ plots, and 3 4×4 beds for children, available for one growing season rental. As this lot is being loaned to us for the year, we can’t guarantee the lot for more than a year, but we can hope that we will have it for multiple growing seasons.


Root-Riot:  Harambee! – 500 N. Waller. Chicago, IL

Located at the corner or Race and Waller in Chicago, this lot is ajoined by The Chicago Fire Department, St. Martins Episcopal Church, St. John Church and Fredrick Douglas Academy.This lot has been leased for 3 years.

For more information about Root Riot Community Gardens


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA):

Membership in a CSA is the practice of paying for a seasonal share of a local farm’s harvest. Participating members receive a weekly box of assorted fruits and/or vegetables – whatever is fresh from the farm that week.  For more information and a list of local farms that offer this service:


Organic & Local Food Delivery:

Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks

Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks offers year-round home delivery in the Chicago area of local and organic produce, meat, dairy and eggs. You can order online anytime to choose the specific items you want, or opt for a Fresh Picks Box that is automatically delivered to your door weekly or bi-weekly.   For more information:


Web Resources:

Blogs & Resources from local folks who are ensuring Local Healthy Food into their own lives and sharing their experiences with others: – The Squash Blossoms organized in 2009 after a six-session course exploring the connection between food and sustainability. We talked about  the dream of raising our own vegetables and thereby having some control over what happens to the food we put in our mouths. Six of us decided to make it happen and soon found available land behind a friend’s cafe. Our structure is looser than most community gardens. We share our plot of land instead of staking out separate beds. And together we agree on what to plant and how to design the garden. – This is a video blog by one of the co-founders of the Root-Riot Urban Garden Network.  It includes videos such as “Chicken Coop Chronicles” and “Sustainability:  Garden Raised Food.”


Backyard and Urban Gardening: (click on resources section) resource for heirloom garden seeds Pesticide Action Network promotes the elimination of dangerous pesticides and offers solutions that protect people and the environment


Sustainable Eating seasonal food charts for your state offers resources and encouragement for people trying to eat local encourages a diet based on whole, unprocessed, local, organically grown plant foods; contains useful FAQ page about food politics and eating well online source of sustainably raised meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy; enter your zip code to find healthful, humane and eco-friendly products from farms, stores, restaurants in your area lists local suppliers for grass-fed meat and dairy products Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture explores and cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes helps you connect with local farmers, CSAs, and farmers’ markets offers a variety of resources on local, sustainable, and community based food shoppers guide to pesticides in their food supply