A new site, whitehousefarmer.com, is taking nominations and votes for exactly what you think: A White House farmer.
The first family relies on chefs, butlers, staffers and a whole cadre of people that keep the White House going. But there's no farmer.
Imagine serving a head of state organic veggies grown at the White House? That says we're committed to making a better worlds and tightening our belts. You could see some great decisions being made over those veggies.
Voting is open till Jan. 31. Top vote-getters will be submitted to President Obama. (No, he's not the one soliciting this, so it could go in his garbage but why would it?)
Obama's from Chicago. We need to send an Illinoisan out there. We've got pride to maintain here. But, please, let's send someone from part of that state that knows corn and soybeans, not just city garden plots.
Make a nomination or pick a farmer to vote for.
Indecisive? May I suggest Vicki Westerhoff of Genesis Growers? Genesis Growers is a CSA in St. Anne that has a dropoff point in Mokena. Right now, without any new nominations, this is as local as it gets.
January 2009 Archives
A new site, whitehousefarmer.com, is taking nominations and votes for exactly what you think: A White House farmer.
Nearly a decade ago, I dated a guy who always raved about Whole Foods Market.
I didn't get it.
Now, with one in Naperville, I get it. Sadly for the ex-, it's 10 years too late for me to say, "You're right. It rocks."
My husband and I love to spend a few hours at Whole Foods on a Saturday. We can eat lunch (outside when it's not freezing) and generally while away the hours amongst healthful and organic products. It's 50,000 square feet of adult amusement park if you're into groceries. Plus, Saturday is a good sample day.
As if that weren't enough, Whole Foods offers various seminars and classes on site. This excited me and also helped to explain the little community room and kitchen tucked away in to one side of the store.
There are support groups, discussion groups, cooking classes, nutritional discussions, health events, sample giveaways and more. Some are free, some aren't. Some require you to sign up in advance, some don't. Just go to your local store's page at the Whole Foods Web site to see the calendar.
If you'd told me last year that I'd sign up for a class at my grocery store, I'd have laughed at you and told you that I already know how to saute, thank you very much.
But last week, I was calling Whole Foods to register for an event.
Right now, the two closest Whole Foods are in Naperville and Wheaton at
2607 W. 75th St., Naperville (630-579-7700) and 151 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton (630-588-1500).
Shop, sign up and enjoy!
As part of Barack Obama's preparation for the presidency, he created the Citizen's Briefing Book. It was a change for regular Joes like you and I to tell him what we wanted done in America.
But, this being a democracy, the site was open to voting. So more than 70,000 people took part, making suggestions, and voting up or down the ideas they liked or didn't like.
With voting closed now, Obama will see what ideas got the most votes to help guide his presidency.
It sounds a little scary, a little reality TV-ish. Could the citizens that kept Sanjay on "American Idol" for so long be trusted to guide the president.
Yes, we can.
Among the popular ideas:
- Commit to becoming the "Greenest" country in the world. (70470 points)
- Increase MPG requirements now! (46120 points)
- Let's make reduced-scale farming profitable! Less dependence on imported foods! (42070 points)
- More Stimulus Focus on Green Jobs (30470 points)
- Re-install the White House solar panels. (28910 points)
- A Manhattan Project-Style Push for Energy Independence (28210 points)
- Create long term local food initiatives. (25080 points)
- Help Homeowners become Energy Independent (21930 points)
- What is on our food labels and what is in our food? (13950 points)
- 4 Things To Jumpstart the Economy and Reduce Global Warming (9960 points)
Go to Citizen's Briefing Book to see the details of these and other suggestions and the comments other Americans posted to them. Or search for an issue near and dear to your heart (UFO disclosure, legalization of pot, whatever) to see what will end up on our president's desk.
I tried to be nice. I gave him an easy out that didn't involve environmental mumbo-jumbo, but he didn't take it.
Maybe you've recently received information on your doorstep from various lawn care companies? They're getting their clients lined up now, and are following up with phone calls.
I think my neighborhood gets more than it's fair share of door-to-door action. I've lived two places in Plainfield. In my first place, I got one guy at the door in three years, and he was from the Census. In our new home, we get people every week. I think they run the census info and find out that our street is full of octogenarians who might not think twice about buying from a door-to-door salesman. Yuck.
(If you have a similar problem, check your village or city's solicitation policy. In Plainfield, you must have a license to sell door-to-door.)
Anyway, the completely legitimate lawn-care company was following up on info left on our door. I was home sick so I actually got the call.
It went something like this:
Him: Hi, I'm calling from (lawn care company X). I left information last week and was wondering who your current lawn care company was.
Me (being super-nice): Thanks, but we're those terrible environmental people who do all the organic crap, so we're not really interested.
Him (just doing his job): What is your specific concern? Maybe we can address it?
Me (honestly): Well, the giant dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico created by fertilizer and pesticide runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Midwest.
Him: Have a great day. (click)
I don't hate telemarketers. They're just doing their jobs, and god bless 'em for having jobs in this market. I'm always nice. But if I politely decline without making them listen to a full-on explanation, and they persist, they're going to learn stuff they didn't want to know.
Who knows, maybe he'll learn about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In the mean time, I wish him luck with his would-be clients.
The Will County Forest Preserve wants your Christmas tree.
Put it on the curb and your trash hauler will dump it in a landfill. Plainfield's newsletter filled me in on that fact. I always assumed they went where the landscaping waste goes. Not so much.
When a tree is buried under compacted trash, it doesn't biodegrade very quickly. That means your tree could be propping up a landfill for years to come. Not very Christmasy, huh?
The Will County Forest Preserve District has the solution.
According to their Web site, their Recycle the Holiday Spirit event continues through Sunday at Isle a la Cache Museum, Monee Reservoir, Plum Creek Nature Center and Sugar Creek Administration Center.
Go to their Web site, find the day (and hours) right for you. Then, pick a location near your home. Pop your tree back on the car and bring it over.
"Your trees will take a new life path by becoming mulch used on our trails and for landscaping," the district says.
I thought they used to use them for fish habitats, but perhaps they have enough. Trails and landscaping works for me. (Pine needles make a rocking surface that few weeds can penetrate.)
Just in case there is a change of plans, you might want to call before you go. Call 815-727-8700.
Our tree is sitting in our backyard, because I couldn't stand the idea of it filling a landfill for god knows how long. Thanks to the forest preserve district, we can get it out of here, but still do some good. Thanks, guys!
A chain restaurant recently opened near The Herald News, offering more lunch options for my excited office brethren.
Editorial page editor Roy Bernard asked me if I'd been over there yet. I told him I can't because they use MSG.
Roy pointed out that they have a sign that says they don't use MSG. But I've read comments online from folks who had MSG reactions at another location of this chain and were told that no MSG is added on-site, but some might be in the food when it arrives.
The chain's Web site says they don't use food from suppliers that use MSG, but that glutamate occurs naturally in some foods.
Such is the frustration of having an MSG sensitivity.
Some people avoid MSG because they don't like the idea of chemical additives. Other people, like me, avoid it because it causes us pain, difficulty breathing, numbness and dizziness.
I don't want everyone to stop using MSG. If you want it and you like it, go to town.
It tastes gooood. All I want, is to know when it's there before I feel like I'm having a heart attack.
According to Saturday's poll results in The Herald News, a lot of you didn't make resolutions for 2009. Kudos to you.
I think 2008 taught us enough painful lessons that we don't need to further torture ourselves over that last five pounds.
It was a doozy of a year for my family. So far, 2009 seems a bit brighter, but that doesn't mean I'll forget the lessons that 2008 reinforced, no matter how trite.
So tell me, what did you learn in 2008? Comment below. I hope it's happy or has a green twist. If not, I understand -- it was that kind of year.
2008 reminded me:
- There's no place like home. I didn't lose my house in 2008, thank god. It's a good place to be, whether I'm crying or laughing. That's true of our planet, too. If you think we're going to swoop in with a new home, like a spaceship or undersea domes, don't be too sure. Dorothy's right; there's not place like home and we should protect it.
- "At least you've got your health" actually means something. It was a year of cancer, aneurysms and other things we can't even pronounce. When your family is healthy, it's easy to take if for granted. When they're not, you realize how much health really means. Ditto for the environment. The ocean will always be something we can swim in, right? There will always be drinkable water, surely. There will always be polar bears, not just in zoos, won't there? Maybe not. If we take these things for granted, we're going to have a harder fall when they're gone, and it's going to happen sooner.
- Money isn't everything. There's health, happiness, home and family. My mom reminded me when I met that man I was going to marry that some people have millions of dollars but go their whole lives without ever really being in love. You can do a lot with love, more than with money. I wish the green movement would take that to heart. Some folks have moved away from saving stuff we love, preferring to hawk expensive goods that claim to be green. Don't worry about the owls or the water, but this $50,000 counter that involves some recycled glass. Ditch the counter. Cut back on the water and do what you can for the owls.
- There's no such thing as credit that doesn't come due. That's the economic crisis in a nutshell, huh? If you can't pay for the pizza today, don't put it on the credit card. If you can't afford a down payment today, you probably shouldn't be buying a house. The chickens will come home to roost. That's what's happening with the environment. We're consuming and polluting, assuming we can save it all later, when it's more convenient. What makes us think it won't be too late, that we won't be in over our heads. No one is coming to bail out the residents of a polluted, abused planet. Act like you're the one who has to pay the bill when it arrives.
So, what did 2008 teach you? Or are you going with resolutions for '09. Comment below!
The Museum of Science and Industry will launch a six-week black creativity exhibit Jan. 15.
Interesting, but not usually our topic. Au contraire.
Part of the exhibit is Green Revolution, "an interactive experience that explores the contributions of African Americans to ecology, conservationism and other environmental issues."
According to the press release:
Guests will have the opportunity to:
- test soil samples to determine their nutrient levels and even take home their own planting kit;
- assemble mini solar panels to power a toy race track;
- identify their carbon footprint by playing a computer game that measures their impact on the environment and teaches simple ways to go green;
- build a "green" playhouse using recycled and sustainable materials;
- peddle a bicycle to power fuel cells to play a video game or MP3 player; and examine a worm-composting bin to learn how these creatures can turn scraps into nutrient-rich soil for plants.
I'm imagining a chance to try some of the stuff you want to do at home (like the worms) without having to invest in it right away. And this is another way to get kids excited about going green.
General admission is free from Jan. 5-31
Located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, the museum's hours are 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sundays. General admission (after the free period ends Jan. 31) is $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and $9 for children ages 3 to 11.