When Sophie Gardner, now 17, was attending second grade at Hatch Elementary School in Oak Park, her physical education teacher, Sandra Noel, wanted her students to understand that buying and eating locally grown food from farmers was healthy and a more sustainable lifestyle choice.
A couple of years ago, when "city farmer" Carolyn Ioder began baking bread for her family, her aim was to match the taste and texture of a homemade loaf in which the baker used only fresh ground flour as the base ingredient.
In their new, all electric, LEED-registered (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), Prairie-style, American Four Square home in Oak Park, the Garcia Doyle family is living their "American green dream."
Just as migrating monarchs tend to light on milkweed plants to feed and grow, so did roughly 35 or so home gardeners land at Green Home Experts in Oak Park last month to learn about butterfly gardening.
Months ago, when I heard that Sugar Beet Co-op was staging its 2nd Annual Edible Garden Tour on Saturday, July 27 in Oak Park, I was intrigued. Frankly, I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to answer the question of our times: "What the heck is permaculture, anyway?"
Driving past Pieritz Bros. Office Supply and Stationery in Oak Park, it's not difficult to wonder if the 118-year-old, third-generation family-run store is patronized - or even open. It looks a little like the Ghost of Storefronts Past.
My "big backyard" spreads across many topics, but lately it has become literal and green. Enter the season of pests. Being a progressive-leaning tree hugger who won't annihilate pesky plant-eaters with anything unfriendly to planet earth, I'm left with the slow and steady practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which requires work, repetition and patience.