Technorati Tags: eating local, factory farmed food, From Farm to Fork, Green Parent Chicago, Healthy Child, Healthy World, infographic, safe food supply U.S., U.S. food system, what are our children eating
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Dear EarthTalk: I was wondering how toxic chlorine is, because my well water was just chlorinated yesterday and today the smell is still strong. I have a 4-year-old daughter and I’m concerned. -- Rose Smith, via e-mail
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chlorine levels of
four parts per million or below in drinking water—whether from a
private well or municipal reservoir—are acceptable from a human
health standpoint. Inexpensive home drinking water test kits (from $5
on up) that can detect levels of chlorine and other elements in water
are widely available from online vendors. Administering the tests is
easy and can provide parents with a way to involve kids in science
for a practical purpose right at home.
Chlorine was first used in drinking water to reduce waterborne infectious diseases in Jersey City, New Jersey more than a century ago. It was so effective at destroying potentially harmful bacteria and viruses that the practice soon spread far and wide. Today some 98 percent of water treatment facilities in the U.S. use some form of chlorine to clean drinking water supplies. The American Water Works Association (AWWA), a trade group representing water utilities across the country, credits the presence of chlorine in drinking water with a 50 percent increase in life expectancy for Americans over the last century. Indeed, some consider the chlorination of drinking water to be one of history’s greatest public health achievements.
But others aren’t so sure that any chlorine in drinking water should be considered safe. Opponents of chlorination point to studies linking repeated exposure to trace amounts of chlorine in water with higher incidences of bladder, rectal and breast cancers. The problem lies in chlorine’s ability to interact with organic compounds in fresh water to create trihalomethanes (THMs), which when ingested can encourage the growth of free radicals that can destroy or damage vital cells in the body. Besides cancer, exposure to THMs has been linked to other health issues including asthma, eczema, heart disease and higher miscarriage and birth defect rates.
Those with their own private wells who are skittish about chlorine have other options for disinfecting their water. One baby step would be to replace chlorine with chloramine, an ammonia derivative that doesn’t dissipate into the environment as rapidly as chlorine and has a much lower tendency to interact in bad ways with organic compounds in the water. However, traces of chloramine in the water may not be to everyone’s liking either, because it causes rashes after showering in a small percentage of people and can apparently increase lead exposure in older homes as it leaches the heavy metal off old pipes.
Another option, though somewhat costly, would be to purchase a machine to purify the water. Ozonation units, which disinfect by adding ozone molecules to water and leave no residues, start at around $9,000. Another choice would be a UV light treatment machine—at $6,000 or more—which cancels out viruses and bacteria by passing the water through UV light rays. The Clean Water Store is a reputable vendor and good online source for such water treatment equipment.
Perhaps the most sensible and affordable approach is to filter the water at the faucets and taps. Carbon-based tap- or pitcher-mounted filters can work wonders in removing impurities from drinking water. They can even be installed on shower heads for those with sensitive skin.
-photo credit: iStockPhoto
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Technorati Tags: alternatives to tap water, chlorine in drinking water Chicago, chlorine in drinking water safe, chlorine in drinking water U.S., chlorine safe to drink, EarthTalk, filtered tap water for kids, filtering tap water, Green Parent Chicago, kids and chlorinated water, safety of chlorine in drinking water, safety of chlorine in tap water
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Parents of infants have an excellent opportunity to introduce healthy eating habits at an early age. By making your own baby food, instead of relying on jarred or boxed varieties, you don't have to doubt that what goes into your baby's tiny tummy is good, wholesome nutrition.
"Real Smart Baby Food" (ReadFood Doctor Press 2013) is a new book by Lisa Barrangou Ph.D that features a simple method for making homemade baby food using a 3-step process.
Barrangou, a personal chef, has an extensive background in food science and nutrition. Her detailed writing style conveys this experience well. With brilliant full color high definition photographs and over 70 recipes for unique flavor combinations, the book's logical layout makes it an easy read.
The book is divided into 3 sections:
Section 1 provides recommended guidelines for when to begin feeding baby solid food and special consideration of safe food preparation for infants.
Section 2 introduces the "The Real Smart Strategy", which is the core method of making 3 months of homemade baby food in 3 one-hour blocks of time. This section also contains a handy "Flavor Compatibility Chart" with ideas for which fruits and vegetables compliment one another best.
Section 3 lists recipes and ideas for combining puree recipes, as well as advice on shopping for and storing whole foods.
Bonus chapters include detailed information on nutrients and a handy conversion chart."Real Smart Baby Food" is a parent-friendly guide to making a 3 month supply of fresh, homemade baby food in 3 one-hour blocks of time.
Available in print and Kindle edition: http://realsmartbabyfood.com/
-photo credit: Lisa Barrangou
Technorati Tags: books on feeding infants, books on making baby food, feeding infants homemade baby food, Green Parent Chicago, guide to making homemade baby food, how to freeze homemade baby food, how to make baby food, how to make homemade baby food, Lisa Barrangou, making frozen baby food, making homemade baby food, making organic baby food, Real Smart Baby Food, recipes for homemade baby food, whole food nutrition for infants
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If it's May in Chicago, then you know it's time for the mama and the papa of eco living events: Green Festival Chicago.
For one weekend only at Navy Pier, this Saturday and Sunday, the Green Festival will host DIY workshops, discussions and speakers, a Green Marketplace with the latest sustainable businesses and vendors, an Organic Beer and Wine pavillion, test drives of electric and hybrid vehicles, vegetarian and vegan food, and a Green Kids Zone with free activities for all ages of kids.
Definitely bring the kids and teens to Green Festival because 18 and under are free.
I'm very excited to check out the Green Festival this year, as I learn something new each year as I get discover all the great new local eco offerings around the Midwest and the country.
I'm also thrilled to tell you that Green Parent Chicago readers can get a special FREE weekend pass to the Green Festival. Just visit the festival website here and enter GREENPARENTCHICAGO for a free weekend pass good for both days. (A $20 value!) But, don't wait, it's a limited offer.
Posted on May 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM in Arts and Entertainment, Biking, Books, Buy Local Spotlight, Car Free Living, Film, Food and Drink, Global News, Green Business, Green Celebrations, Green Living, Learning and Education, Local News, Music, News, Progressive Politics, Recycled Crafts, Recycling, Simpler Living, Things to Do | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: discount Green Festival Chicago, eco fest Chicago, free pass Green Festival Chicago, Global Exchange, Green America, green events Chicago, Green Festival at Navy Pier, Green Festival Chicago, Green Festivals, green kids events chicago, Green Parent Chicago, sustainable living events Chicago
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Organizers for the new Bellwether cultural fest just announced the performer line-up and schedule for the June date of the 2-weekend fest, and dropped a few hints about which vendors, workshops, and demos to expect.
Workshops and demos will include terrarium-making classes from Logan Square's Fleur, a make-your-own sculpture table workshop by Rebuilding Exchange, and yarn-spinning classes hosted by Michigan based Videnovich Farms.
The June 8 and 9 Bellwether fest will feature performances outside The
Hideout and in the street plus DJ sets. Full line-up is posted here (times subject to change).
in The Hideout’s back room, film footage from the
Chicago Film Archives will be screened, as well as "rarely-seen amateur sound shorts" from the
vault. Saturday night's after-hours programming from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. includes
sketch comedy show "NED Talks" and a special unannounced film screening. Sunday features the kid-friendly "Adventure Sandwich" and the adult-friendly
"Drunken Spelling Bee."
Sunday morning, Bellwether will host an additional beer and brunch feast at Ada St. Restaurant with Revolution Brewery pairings. A limited number of feast tickets will go on sale May 21.
ADMISSION: For day hours June 8 and 9: suggested is donation $10, kids under 12 are free. For June 8 after-hours: $10 suggested donation.
Sunday feast: limited number of $50 tickets for sale online on May 21.LOCATION: Outside The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, along Wabansia (Elston to Throop) and N. Ada St.
WHEN: June 8 from noon to dark with after hours 8 to 10 p.m., and June 9 noon to dark.
photo credit: Hideout Chicago
Posted on May 13, 2013 at 09:35 PM in Arts and Entertainment, Buy Local Spotlight, Film, Food and Drink, Green Celebrations, Green Living, Learning and Education, Local News, Music, News, Things to Do | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Ada St. Restaurant, Bellwether, Bellwether June line-up, Bellwether schedule, Chicago cultural festivals, Chicago Fall fests, Chicago Film Archives, Chicago local food fest, Chicago local music fest, Chicago summer festivals, Death's Door, Fleur, Green Parent Chicago, Oliver Winery, Rebuilding Exchange, Revolution Brewing, The Hideout, The Renegade Craft Fair, The Vintage Bazaar, Videnovich Farms
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Mothers Day is a pretty big day at my house, not just because I believe that parenting is one of the most important jobs an adult can take, but also because I get a day to celebrate being a proud mom to my two wonderful kids. Whether we decide to picnic just the 4 of us, or I take a day off to read, nap, knit, draw, write, etc, it's sure to be a break from the norm for me and that's always just the thing a busy mama needs.
So, when thinking about what type of gifts I would most appreciate for Mother's Day and what I could recommend for our Green Parent Chicago Mother's Day Gift Guide, I thought along those same lines: something out of the ordinary. Then, I realized there are a number of incredibly awesome local businesses around the city that sell and create the most unique items: things I would actually buy for myself.
It's exciting to see local manufacturers and designers popping up around town, especially those that promote ethical manufacturing and supply chains, as well as local artisans and crafters.
Po Campo, headquartered in Chicago, is an innovative maker of bike bags, yoga bags, travel bags, and diaper bags founded by Chicago designers Maria Boustead and Emily Taylor. I especially like their line of bike bags that look so chic and work so practically. Their multi-function "Connect" system attaches their bags to strollers, bikes, yoga mats and luggage without any ugly bulky hardware. Check out their assortment of great styles, like this much needed update on the fanny pack, yes you heard me fanny pack.
If you love Chicago like I do, then you love its sights and sounds. But, do you love the smells of Chicago? Not Chicago style dogs, deep dish pizza or the lake breeze, how about spring flowers and plants grown right here in Chicago? Well, now you can have a fragrance grown from those very gardens.
Tru Blooms, is a new limited edition perfume created by plants and flowers grown in Chicago's public gardens. A partnership between Tru Fragrance, the City of Chicago and several local nonprofit organizations, the first edition of the perfume is now available for sale and the second edition will be made from the "oils and essences" of flowers grown throughout the city of Chicago in spring/summer 2013. Since the growing conditions and the gardens themselves can never be "perfectly duplicated" each edition is said to be "one-of-a-kind", according to manufacturers.
For a further assortment of entirely local gift options this Mother's Day, check out Local Goods Chicago, a new store in Edgebrook. I was so thrilled to learn how Local Goods Chicago promotes artisans in and around the city with their wide assortment of handcrafted foods, coffee, soaps, confections, art, home decor, toys and more.
I recently got in touch with the owner of Local Goods, Laura Guenther, to learn more about the history of her store. Here's what she said:
"...I was working in a completely different area of work as a mobile app designer. Whenever there was a holiday, birthday or even as a treat for myself, I'd head over to my old neighborhood, Lincoln Square or down to Ukrainian Village to shop for gifts at the small independent stores. Shopping small and shopping local have always been important to me and I found it challenging to find locally made gifts.
I also was frustrated that my current neighborhood, Edgebrook on the NW side was lacking a nice little shop to pick up a gift. Hence, I became obsessed with opening a shop in Edgebrook with locally made handcrafted goods. After nearly a year of planning, I opened Local Goods Chicago in December 2012. We now have over 75 local artisans selling in our shop - both food and craft artisans....in addition to the local goods, our artisans also teach workshops such as card making, canning, knitting."
Local Goods Chicago is currently having a Mother's Day Wish List event now until Saturday where moms can fill out a card of items they like in the store. They are entered for daily prizes and the store keeps their wish list handy in case anyone (hint, hint, dads stumped for what to get their wives) stops in to shop for them.
So, this Mother's Day, don't forget to remember your mamas and grandmas and give them your appreciation for all the hardwork, support and love they've given you. If you're still looking for a little special something to make their day, how about making it a local and green gift this year. Happy Mother's Day!
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Combine food, farm, vintage, collectors, crafters, and artists and what do you get: Bellwether, a new cultural fest and the brainchild of the folks behind local indie favorites The Vintage Bazaar and The Renegade Craft Fair.
Organizers of the fest, to be held on 2 separate weekends at 2 locations describe Bellwether as "a roving Market + Happening + Feast all in one that brings together the finest purveyors, pickers, makers, and doers, as well as curated films, live performances, killer DJs, and food gatherings."
Date, locations and hours for the all-day event are:
June 8 and 9
noon to dark
after hours: 8-10 p.m.
Garfield Park Conservatory
September 21 and 22
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
after hours: Saturday 6 to 9 p.m.
Posted on May 01, 2013 at 10:58 AM in Arts and Entertainment, Buy Local Spotlight, Film, Food and Drink, Green Celebrations, Green Living, Learning and Education, Local News, Music, Recycled Crafts, Recycling, Theater, Things to Do | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Technorati Tags: Bellwether, Chicago cultural festivals, Chicago Fall fests, Chicago local food fest, Chicago local music fest, Chicago summer festivals, Garfield Park Conservatory, Green Parent Chicago, The Hideout, The Renegade Craft Fair, The Vintage Bazaar
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Dear EarthTalk: I hear the term “greenwashing” a lot these days but am still not sure exactly what it means. Can you enlighten? -- Ruth Markell, Indianapolis, IN
In essence, greenwashing involves falsely conveying to consumers that a given product, service, company or institution factors environmental responsibility into its offerings and/or operations. CorpWatch, a non-profit dedicated to keeping tabs on the social responsibility (or lack thereof) of U.S.-based companies, characterizes greenwashing as “the phenomena of socially and environmentally destructive corporations, attempting to preserve and expand their markets or power by posing as friends of the environment.”
One of the groups leading the charge against greenwashing is Greenpeace. “Corporations are falling all over themselves,” reports the group, “to demonstrate that they are environmentally conscious. The average citizen is finding it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those companies genuinely dedicated to making a difference and those that are using a green curtain to conceal dark motives.”
Greenpeace launched its Stop Greenwash campaign in 2009 to call out bad actors and help consumers make better choices. The most common greenwashing strategy, the group says, is when a company touts an environmental program or product while its core business is inherently polluting or unsustainable.
Another involves what Greenpeace calls “ad bluster”: using targeted advertising or public relations to exaggerate a green achievement so as to divert attention from actual environmental problems—or spending more money bragging about green behavior than on actual deeds. In some cases, companies may boast about corporate green commitments while lobbying behind the scenes against environmental laws.
Greenpeace also urges vigilance about green claims that brag about something the law already requires: “For example, if an industry or company has been forced to change a product, clean up its pollution or protect an endangered species, then uses PR campaigns to make such action look proactive or voluntary.”
For consumers, the best way to avoid getting “greenwashed” is to be educated about who is truly green and who is just trying to look that way to make more money. Look beyond advertising claims, read ingredient lists or ask employees about the real skinny on their company’s environmental commitment.
Also, look for labels that show a given offering has been vetted by a reliable third-party. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Organic label can only go on products that meet the federal government’s organic standard. Just because a label says “made with organic ingredients” or “all-natural” does not mean the product qualifies as Certified Organic, so be sure to look beyond the hype.
Even some eco-labels are suspect. If you see one you don’t recognize, look it up on Ecolabel Index, a global directory tracking 400+ different eco-labels in 197 countries across 25 industry sectors. The free online resource provides information on which company or group is behind each certification and whether or not independent third-party assessments are required.
EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: email@example.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.-photo credit: iStockPhoto
Technorati Tags: certified organic labeling, EarthTalk, false advertising, Green Parent Chicago, Greenpeace, greenwashing, how to spot greenwashing, stopping greenwashing, truth in labeling, what does natural mean
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-How did the City of Chicago celebrate Earth Day? By making a pact to brandish citywide recycling bins with Coca-Cola adverts. Seriously, read all about it here. Big bucks=big time ad space. Speak out for ad free public space and just say no.
-Bad news again for meat eaters: The researchers at Environmental Working Group analyzed tests of supermarket meat and found that "superbugs"(antibiotic resistant bacteria) are now very common in U.S. meat sold in grocery stores. Find out the numbers here (hint, eww...ground turkey.)
-The FDA would like your opinion on a proposal to change milk bottle labels. Dairy industry groups would like to change the labeling on milk bottles so milk that is artificially sweetened or reduced calorie would not be easily identifiable. Any additives, such as artificial flavors or sweeteners could in effect be hidden at first glance, though still found in ingredient lists. Public comments will be accepted until May 21.
"The two groups asked FDA to amend the standard of identity for flavored milk and 17 other dairy products (including nonfat dry milk, heavy cream, eggnog, half-and-half and sour cream) so that non-nutritive sweeteners are among the standard ingredients. The products would then not require any additional description on the label."
Freebie of the week:
Gardening is finally getting underway in our neck of the woods. How about trying to compost some of that yard and kitchen waste into good, healthy compost you can reuse in your outdoor garden, indoor pots and landscaping? Here's a handy free guide to help you get started.
Thanks for reading!
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With the bright light of spring now shining in our windows, it's no wonder we feel the urge to do a little nest maintenance. Have you spotted that greasy mass of dust bunnies hiding behind your oven all winter yet?
How about that freezer filled with Tupperware® from last spring or that cabinet of spices you haven't organized since you moved in?
What better place to begin than in your kitchen. If your home is like mine, your kitchen is your command center. It's also where you need to prepare healthy meals for your family. I personally like to feel confident that it's clean and safe.
Yvonne Maffei, author of the popular halal cooking blog, "My Halal Kitchen", has written "Clean Your Kitchen Green" to help you freshen and organize your kitchen once and for all from top to bottom in a green, non-toxic and economical way.
This concise little volume is perfect for tucking in your apron pocket and guiding you through a series of step-by-step checklists in your quest for a sparkling kitchen.
In addition, Maffei includes her recipes for making your own stock of green cleansers; ones you can use without any dangerous fumes, chemical residue or second thoughts about safety. A helpful list of Maffei's favorite eco-friendly cleaning ingredients and products is included at the conclusion of the book with links and information on where to buy.
"Clean Your Kitchen Green" is available in print at My Halal Kitchen.
Technorati Tags: Clean Your Kitchen Green, green cleaning, Green Parent Chicago, greener cleaning, how to spring clean without chemicals, My Halal Kitchen, non-toxic spring cleaning, spring cleaning book, spring cleaning green, Yvonne Maffei
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