Tune into WCPT 820 AM radio from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday for "The Mike Nowak Show." Vicki Nowicki, of Downers Grove, will be discussing the Liberty Gardens movement and the connection between food and oil (think: eating local.) Joliet's own Jeanne Phelan will be involved in the discussion.
Jeanne's been e-mailing me for a while with interesting things about sustainable farming and other green topics. She's a delight and really gets the food-green connection that I'm just exploring.
She deserves a lot more time than I've given her (it's been a busy couple of months), but I'm going to make amends by learning this stuff and hoping I can know a fraction of what she does about this.
I haven't had the pleasure of talking to Vicki, but in a presentation Jeanne previously invited me to, Vicki was talking about "the ideas that growing some of your own food, developing alternative food systems and eating locally are ways to re-establish our most intimate relationship with nature and rebuild a sense of community and connectedness." Sounds right up my alley.
Jeanne is no newbie to organic home gardening. She and Charlotte and Norm Codo, who own a farm in Frankfort Township, hoped to start a CSA a few years ago. But jumping into thousands of square feet isn't easy. So they scaled back to over 1,000 square feet of organic gardening. Yes, over 1,000 square feet. And that's the scaled back version.
For more on Jeanne and the Codos' work, read Karen Hanson's column on them from The Lincoln-Way Sun.
As for Vicki, Jeanne says she and her husband also are pioneers in the permaculture field.
Since I haven't read up on this enough, I'm going to have to quote Wikipedia to sum up permaculture:
The word permaculture, coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren during the 1970s, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture as well as permanent culture. Through a series of publications, Mollison, Holmgren and their associates documented an approach to designing human settlements, in particular the development of perennial agricultural systems that mimic the structure and interrelationship found in natural ecologies. Permaculture design principles extend from the position that "The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children" (Mollison, 1990).
Never heard of Mike Nowak? We should probably be tuning in. His Web site promises: Mike knows that good gardeners are good environmentalists and so he dives into green issues such as recycling, water conservation and renewable energy sources.
If you're not free, you should be able to download a podcast from a link on his radio Web site.
In the picture, Vicki is showing some children the produce their garden is kicking out. It's a crop of a shot Jonathan Miano took this month for our sister papers, the weekly Suns. (Good timing, Jonathan!) Vicki now has clients who let her tend to their gardens. They get homegrown goodness in their yards, without having to skip a major meeting for weeding or having to check out every book on organic options.