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by David Downs

Late last month Lydia and I headed to Ravenswood to meet up with a group of artists for the Ravenswood Art Walk (RAW). The Lillstreet Art Center was our meeting place to begin the event.

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On the first floor of Lillstreet, next to the shop, is First Slice Cafe. Being the “sweet-tooths” we are, a visit to the cafe was just as important as seeing the artwork. First Slice is a fully functioning cafe with your common assortment of espresso drinks – from lattes to mochas. They also offer lunch items, cookies, scones and other fare.

What they are best known for are their super delicious gourmet pies! Probably the best in the city, their assortment includes chocolate peanut butter, apple, pumpkin cheese cake, the decadent chocolate mousse and many, many others. They offer pies by the slice or you can purchase the whole thing, and they do catering too! But First Slice goes well beyond creamy puffy pastries. Read the rest of this entry »

Each year people around the globe ditch the petrol and hit the streets on bikes and buses in observation of World Car-Free Day taking place on September 22nd. This year you can join the international community in its effort to reduce our dependence on oil by ditching your car-centric commute.

This Thursday leave home early and try walking to work. If you live too far consider public transit options like CTA, Pace, and Metra. Let’s say you’re completely out of reach – then make new friends by joining a local carpool via Rideshare. On September 22nd you can let the world know about your creative commute by taking the “Car-Free Day” pledge on the Active Transportation Alliance’s website. So start planning as the first day of your autonomous autoless life begins this week.

How do you commute to work each day? Will you be participating in Thursday’s international event? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

In commemoration of Earth Day this Friday, Lowes, the home improvement giant, is handing out 1 million trees for customers to snatch and plant all over the country.

My sincerest hope is that this green-thumbed event will encourage carpenters and DIYers to  investigate the source of their lumber and materials and to also consider the impact they may have on the environment.

I would also encourage Lowes to take an additional step in the right direction and look at their suppliers – then we’d have something to really celebrate. But until then it’s important to acknowledge this altruistic attempt to positively impact our environment.

Show your support and swing by a local Lowes store this Saturday, April 23rd to receive a free sapling to plant in your community. The more trees the merrier we’ll all be!

Interview and photos by Lydia Krupinski

As our food becomes frequently outsourced to other regions and countries, groups are taking a stand and resurrecting a time-honored tradition: the victory garden. While some movements set to re-invent the wheel, others look back to previous generations for inspiration and to empower their communities. One such group literally broke ground on the far North side of Chicago a few weeks ago. The Peterson Garden Project sets to connect Chicago residents with the earth, their food, and each other. Located just west of Western on Peterson Avenue, this incredible space is changing the way residents are looking at food, community, and empty lots.

By renting a plot, experienced and novice gardeners can share in the satisfaction of growing their own food, which in turn cuts down on both their ecological and economic footprints. For only $45 a season, growers receive a 24 square foot plot, access to the gardening forums, and unlimited advice from their fellow gardeners. For those unable to tend their own land, the Project’s volunteers can nurture a crop for a reasonable donation. The only requirements: Visit your plot 2-3 times a week, commit to using organic gardening methods, and pay your dues. It’s that simple!

Sprout Chicago had the honor and privilege to visit the newly tilled space and speak with the garden’s founder, LaManda Joy, about the Project and more. Read the rest of this entry »

ecoandersonvilleStreet side recycling…a staple across both coasts that has somehow managed to allude Chicago, the purportedly “greenest” city in the Midwest.  But slacking city  trends aren’t stopping individual communities from taking action.

On November 1st, 2009, Andersonville is literally rolling out a new program that will install recycling bins on its busiest street corners. This hustling and bustling neighborhood is already home to some of the most successful and diverse local businesses in Chicago. With Green Sky,  The Galleria, Green Genes, and more, Andersonville is giving the city’s greening efforts a run for their money.

Sprout Chicago would like to proudly salute the Andersonville Development Corporation and the neighborhood’s residents for taking up their own action!

To learn more about this endeavor take a peek at Edgewater’s Community Buzz Blog and the Eco-Andersonville website.

Tomorrow, October 24th, is International Day for  Climate Action. A day for world leaders,  activists, and citizens to come together and demonstrate the need for change NOW! There are events being held all around the world!

For a list of Chicago area events, click on this link. David and I will be heading up to the Carbon Green Festival in Rogers Park to show our support  of this incredible international  movement.

To learn more about 350 visit  the site here.

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