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by Lydia Krupinski

Tis the season for holidays, food, family and friends. As some people prep for the fellowship, reflections, and feastings of Thanksgiving, others around the country are already salivating at the midnight shopping promises of big box stores and retail chains. While the term Small Business Saturday may not be as catchy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving has been designated as such to encourage consumers to support the vendors in their own communities.

In the spirit of this week’s holiday and the upcoming shopping stampedes Sprout Chicago would like to highlight a group that’s launching a special campaign to remind Chicagoans to spend their dollars locally this holiday season. Urban Folk Circuit is a group dedicated to supporting and growing the handmade craft and music community in the city. Started in July of 2010, the team unites artisans from around Chicagoland in monthly traveling craft shows that highlight the diverse talents and skills of handmade business owners.

Sprout Chicago caught up with Kelli and Jess, super-crafter extroadinaires and founders of Urban Folk Circuit, to pick their brains about crafting in the city and their latest campaign: Shop Chicago for the Holidays.

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posted by Lydia Krupinski

The annual Chicago Craft Mafia craft extravaganza, otherwise known as the DIY Trunk Show, is coming to Edgewater this Saturday at the Broadway Armory! Set apart from other shows of its kind, this indoor fair pulls together talent from a 100 mile radius of Chicago – making it a locavores dream! And with the holidays so close, it couldn’t come at a better time.

Commute up to Edgewater early via the Red line and hop off at the Granville stop. Hit up M.Henrietta’s for an awe-inspiring brunch. Then take a brisk walk over to Metropolis to arm yourself with caffeine and take Broadway three blocks south to the show! There you’ll find indie handmade crafters, papermakers, artists, designers and more! And yes – Pierogi Picnic will be there too, selling seasonal wares and also doing craft tutorials and free eco-friendly gift wrapping.

So get your holiday shopping off to a good and conscious start by not only finding one-of-a-kind quirky gifts, but by also supporting the small businesses that keep the local economy afloat!

What: DIY Trunk Show

Where: Broadway Armory at Thorndale & Broadway

When: Saturday, November 19th 10am-5pm

See you there this weekend!

Famed Chicago chocolatier Vosges Haut Chocolate and organic skincare brand La Bella Figura are teaming up to bring local eco-verts an evening of cocoa indulgence and beauty insights.

Join other Chicagoans on Wednesday, October 12th for free tastings, biodynamic wine and skincare samples. Get their early as this mid-week shin dig will be sure to get crowded fast!

What: Organic Extravagance at Vosges

Where: 951 West Armitage, Lincoln Park

When: Wednesday, October 12th from 6-9pm

Cost: Free!

from Moving Planet

Moving Planet will be a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

On Saturday, September 24th, citizens from all over Chicagoland will unite on the International Day of Climate Action to call for an end to the toxic pollution from Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants and all other current plans for dirty energy projects. We will demand a swift transition to clean energy and jobs. On this day, we will call on Midwest Generation, owner of Chicago’s two outdated, polluting coal plants, to clean up or retire the plants and transition workers to clean energy jobs.

Join Sprout Chicago for this call to action. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

If you manage to get a head start on your taxes, and have the weekend of April 16th to get out of the house, then consider hitting up the urban-focused Green Metropolis Fair at the Irish Heritage Museum! This fest celebrating sustainability and city living will feature screenings of the films Dirt! The Movie and Vanishing of the Bees. In addition, a promising lineup of local vendors, including our pals Green Genes and Fair Earth, will be there promoting their goods and organizations.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day and Chicago!

What: Green Metropolis Fair

When: Saturday, April 16th 10am-4pm

Where: 4626 N. Knox, Chicago

Cost: Free! But canned food donation recommended.

November is here! My birthday month arrives with a crisp chill in the air and my favorite holiday in the distance. November also marks the ‘official’ or maybe unofficial beginning of the holiday season. So to give you a head start on things happening in Chi Town this month, we’ve compiled some of our favorite suggestions for what to do with your schedule before it goes totally mad!

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If you’re looking to try a vegan lifestyle, there is no time better than the present as World Vegan Week commences on Sunday. In addition to promoting the lifestyle itself, Chicago’s version of Vegan Week also challenges local restaurants to add vegan options to their traditional meat-centric menus.

Show your support for businesses who have chosen to take a step in a compassionate direction by visiting the locations below between October 24th and 31st. Thanks to local non-profit Mercy for Animals for putting this list together! Also – don’t forget to gorge on the delicious foods at some of Chicago’s finest vegetarian and vegan haunts that stay meat free year round! Visit our links page here for our favorites.

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