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New Ordinance Encourages More Urban Farming

September 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jon Sedey

A new zoning code, approved at the last council meeting, will promote the expansion of community gardening and urban agriculture within the city boundaries.

The amendment, first introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in July, recognizes urban farming and allows citizens or companies to apply for building permits and zoning approvals to help establish foundations in the urban agriculture sector. The ordinance legalizes urban farming of vegetables, fruits and fish and will permit owners to sell what they raise.
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Chicago River Improvements Include New Boathouses, Pollution Controls

September 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Click to enlarge.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday a plan to enhance the Chicago River’s recreational appeal. The future development would be grounded by four new boathouses, several new boat launches, expansion of riverfront trails and pollution controls of the famed waterway.
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Green Building Goes Back to School

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary, which opened in the Avondale neighborhood last year, features a vegetated roof over half of the school.

That disappointing surrender of freedom that every child feels upon returning to school at the close of summer is generations old. School itself, however, is changing at an ever increasing clip as textbooks are giving way to computer tablets, chalkboards to whiteboards and spiral notebooks to flash drives.
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Local Wholesale Produce Distributor Aims to Reinvent LEED Standards

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jon Sedey

Situated in the Back of the Yards Neighborhood in Chicago’s Stockyards Corridor sits what many hope to be the pioneer in the food service distribution sector. Testa Produce, Inc., an independent wholesale produce distributor, opened its doors to their new, 91,000 square foot, $23 million facility.

On track to become the nation’s first LEED Platinum food distribution facility, everything from the parking lot to the food refrigeration system is a result of President and owner Peter Testa’s vision. “Part of being in the agricultural business is to have a responsibility to take care of the earth a bit better,” said Testa.
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Where are All the Green Jobs?

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

In the last decade, green jobs have been viewed as a panacea for this country’s ails. They have the power not only to curb climate change and shrink the amount of foreign fuel imported into the United States, but to create jobs that might not otherwise exist. And of course, all of these benefits are also the first lines of defense for national security.
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Emanuel Looks to Clean Up Chicago Recycling

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susanna Weatherford

The City Council adopts the goal of making regular recycling service available by July 1, 1993, to 100 percent of the households in low-density dwellings served by the City of Chicago.

So begins the section of the Chicago Municipal Code regarding regular recycling service. To put that in perspective, Chicago Bulls fans were wearing out the word “threepeat” in July of 1993, the Unabomber was still on the loose and David Letterman was preparing his switch from NBC to CBS.
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Nonprofit Lender Supports Energy-Efficiency

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Jon Sedey

Formerly known as Illinois Facilities Fund, IFF is a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant dedicated to improving other like-minded nonprofits and the communities that they serve. IFF is committed to the belief that the nonprofit sector is extremely influential in terms of changing our current society. “We only lend to nonprofits, so our whole business is understanding everything about them, their operating structure, governance structure and how financing helps or hurts them,” said IFF CEO Joe Neri.
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Lollapalooza to Feature Energy Playground

August 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are one of the quarter-million people expected to attend Lollapalooza this weekend, the three-day festival will feature more than just music acts. This year, fans will have a chance to engage with the Prius Playground, an energy-generating activity center on the concert grounds.
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Environmental Law & Policy Center Sets the Standard for Downtown Offices

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Operating under the premise that ecological progress and economic development are not mutually exclusive, the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) advocates for sustainability policies across the Midwest. Founded in 1993, the non-profit, public interest organization has notched a number of victories, especially lately. Illinois utilities, for example, must increase solar energy purchasing starting next year, legislation due largely to the efforts of the ELPC. They also helped broker the nation’s largest urban solar plant, which was installed in 2010 on the city’s Pullman neighborhood. The multidisciplinary staff is now focused on cleaning the Chicago River, installing controls at coal plants and bringing high speed rail to the Midwest.
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For the Uncommon Good

June 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Julie Henning

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, Uncommon Ground is a vanguard among restaurants seeking to feed Chicagoans seasonably, locally and sustainably.

The greenest restaurant in the city of Chicago, third-party certified by the Green Restaurant Association, Uncommon Ground has been a neighborhood favorite café, bar and restaurant for twenty years. Expanding from the flagship location in Wrigleyville, owners Helen and Michael Cameron opened a second location in Edgewater in 2007.
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