I Know Chicago


Purveyor of all things interesting, amazing, unique, unusual + badass in Chicago.

The ReBuilding Exchange

Today’s awesomeness is a sneak peek inside the new headquarters for the ReBuilding Exchange! If you are not familiar with them yet think of this place as a cross between Architectural Artifacts and the Home Depot. This place is amazing not only because of what you can find (vintage stoves, windows, doors, mantels, light fixtures) but because of how they get the goods. 

Since 2009, the ReBuilding Exchange has diverted over 3,000 tons of building materials from landfills.  They have made over $2 million worth of quality building materials available to the public for reuse projects at super affordable prices.  And they launched Chicago’s first building deconstruction and reuse warehouse job training program and trained 24 people in emerging green collar sector jobs.  All in 2 years! 

The ReBuilding Exchange has just moved from the south side to the highly central and uber convenient warehouse at Ashland and Webster (across from the Green Dolphin). 

And you my friends are getting a sneak peek into the glorious new space right now.

They are hosting a grand opening party on March 12th with entertainment by Black Bear Combo and beer by Bell’s and Half Acre.  You can get your tickets on their website or at the door.

If you are in need of the completely random, then you need to go hang out at the Creative ReUse Warehouse on the South Side. 

What is it? - A HUGE Warehouse full of things you could never imagine.

In their words:

This innovative program locates and collects overruns, rejects and by-products that business and industry treat as “waste” and redistributes the materials as valuable educational and artistic resources appropriate for reuse.

Who are the recipients? Chicago schools and teachers, local cultural centers, social service organizations, summer programs, performance companies, museums, community organizations as well as individual artists. Recipients have used materials to teach classes, present art work, and to make possible exhibitions and productions.


Allow me to introduce you to some of the most amazing women in Chicago, the artisans and staff of WomanCraft

Who they are in their words:

WomanCraft, a social enterprise of Heartland Human Care Services, located in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, uses recycled office paper and reclaimed flowers to create unique, sustainable, handmade paper products, such as wildflower seed notecards, memory books, gift tags, frames and custom wedding invitations.

WomanCraft provides artisan positions and transitional jobs to women facing barriers to employment, so that they may earn income, improve job skills, build a work history and increase economic self-sufficiency.

WomanCraft is a winner of Mayor Daley’s GreenWorks Award for environmentally responsible products!

So, the next time you need invitations, holiday cards, announcement cards, gift bags, etc you should reach out to these amazing women! 

They will even take your wedding bouquet, dry it, and include the petals in handmade paper that you can use for your Thank You cards! 

Follow them on Facebook

Well this is, without a doubt the Earth Month event not to miss.  It’s like Green Fest but without the hassle of McCormick Place (did you know Green Fest is moving to McCormick this year?). 
It’s FREE with a non-perishable food item donation.  There will be hands-on family friendly activities, farm animals, composting, showings of the movies Vanishing of the Bees and Dirt! The Movie, and presentations on topics such as composting, car sharing, CSA’s and gardening. 
My favorite part is the retail market which will feature sustainable business vendors such as: Bright Endeavors, Green Genes, Greenheart, Katherine Anne Confections, Scrumptious Pantry, and Urban Worm Girl.
Oh don’t forget the food market that will include local restaurants like:  Drew’s Eatery, Falafill and Soul Vegetarian.
The Fair will be held at the Irish American Heritage Center and runs 10am - 4pm.  You can download a map and program here.
There is ample free street parking but you know you aren’t going to drive to an event like this so CTA users take the Blue Line to the Montrose Stop.  There’s a million bus routes to get there too.  For convenience click here to plan your CTA route.
The Green Metropolis Fair is brought to you by the brilliant and loving team at Mindful Metropolis Magazine.   Event Hashtag is #ChicagoGMF

Well this is, without a doubt the Earth Month event not to miss.  It’s like Green Fest but without the hassle of McCormick Place (did you know Green Fest is moving to McCormick this year?). 

It’s FREE with a non-perishable food item donation.  There will be hands-on family friendly activities, farm animals, composting, showings of the movies Vanishing of the Bees and Dirt! The Movie, and presentations on topics such as composting, car sharing, CSA’s and gardening. 

My favorite part is the retail market which will feature sustainable business vendors such as: Bright Endeavors, Green Genes, Greenheart, Katherine Anne Confections, Scrumptious Pantry, and Urban Worm Girl.

Oh don’t forget the food market that will include local restaurants like:  Drew’s Eatery, Falafill and Soul Vegetarian.

The Fair will be held at the Irish American Heritage Center and runs 10am - 4pm.  You can download a map and program here.

There is ample free street parking but you know you aren’t going to drive to an event like this so CTA users take the Blue Line to the Montrose Stop.  There’s a million bus routes to get there too.  For convenience click here to plan your CTA route.

The Green Metropolis Fair is brought to you by the brilliant and loving team at Mindful Metropolis Magazine.   Event Hashtag is #ChicagoGMF

City Provisions Deli - The spot for local yummy eats

If you have not yet been to City Provisions Deli in Ravenswood, I would highly suggest you get over there the next time you are hungry.

City Provisions Sustainable Food


The deli is a perfect manifestation of the fresh attitude and commitment to local and sustainable practices that we have come to expect from the catering company. As I waited in line for my locally sourced cheese, I rocked out to the Beastie Boys. Need I say more? 

The deli includes off the shelf items such as spices, pastas, sauces, and condiments; pints of tasty local ice creams, a grab-and-go case for your lunch on the run, a coffee bar, and homemade salad selections.

The two main, what I will call ‘focal points,’ of the deli include the raw meat case—with made to order cuts of meat (smoked on site)—which contains meat raised from within a 200 mile radius of Chicago, butchered on site, and the beautiful showcase of local spirits, beers and wines.

The space itself is a testament to green building practices. Designed by the delightful team at 2 Point Perspective, the deli features everything from reclaimed barn wood countertops to eco-paint and sustainable flooring. Heck the shopping bags are recycled burlap! The deli is clearly a sustainable enterprise from floor to ceiling.

Owner Cleetus FriedmanOwner, Cleetus Friedman, is a lifelong chef, entertainer and event planner who has been revolutionizing the local food movement in Chicago since City Provisions opened its doors in February of 2008. “I believe it is important to know where your food comes from and what goes into getting it to your plate. It is part of our mission and our business model that we focus on sustainability,” said Friedman. To that end, the deli plans to be a Certified Green Restaurant, per the guidelines of the Green Restaurant Association, by the end of the year.

What I am especially excited about is the carefully curated product selection. It’s so nice to find all of the local brands that I love in one spot. Nice Cream, Crop to Cup, Death’s Door Spirits, Half Acre Beer, Metropolitan Brewing, Katherina Anne Confections and my newest favorite, Local Folks Foods who make the best ketchup and mustard I’ve ever had.

Friedman commented, “We want to be a focal point for the community and be a source for education about the local food movement—but we also want to serve people something that they will enjoy.” Well my friend, done and done!

Their sidewalk dining is now open (although you might want to wait for this rain to stop before utilizing that option) sigh. 

City Provisions is located at 1818 West Wilson Avenue and is open Tuesday – Friday 6am to 9pm, Saturday 8am – 9pm, Sunday 8am – 7pm, closed Monday’s.

City Provisions is also a catering company and they run amazing supper clubs + farm dinners. 

Your Sustainable Backyard

PART I - WORKSHOPS

This summer, the City of Chicago will be hosting a series of Sustainable Backyard Workshops to highlight the many ways residents can create more environmentally-friendly landscapes in their back, front, and side yards.

The first two will take place: 

Tuesday, June 14

6:00-8:00pm 

Friends of the Chicago River 

28 E. Jackson, Suite 1800 

 

Tuesday, July 26

6:00-8:00pm 

Chicago Center for Green Technology

445 N. Sacramento Blvd.

PART II - REBATES

The City of Chicago is now offering rebates to Chicago residents for up to 50% off their next local purchase of:

TREES (up to $100 back)

NATIVE PLANTS (up to $60 back)

COMPOST BIN (up to $50 back)

RAIN BARREL (up to $40 back)

Residents are not required to participate in a Sustainable Backyard Workshop to receive a rebate form, but are encouraged to attend a workshop to learn more about how to install, plant, and maintain these green management practices. To download rebate forms, please visit www.cityofchicago.org/rainbarrel.

How the Rebate Program Works

  1. Pick up a rebate form from a Sustainable Backyard Workshop or download one at www.cityofchicago.org/rainbarrel. (Rebate forms may be available at participating local garden centers or hardware stores.)
  2. Purchase a rain barrel, compost bin, tree(s), or native plant(s) from your local garden center or hardware store. A list of participating garden centers will be available soon. Last year’s list of local rain barrel and compost bin retailers is on the website too.
  3. Be sure your receipt clearly indicates your purchase. Ask the garden center staff to write in any necessary information that is not obvious or clear on your receipt, like what native plant species were purchased.
  4. Carefully read through and complete the rebate form and mail it with your itemized receipt 
  5. Check your mailbox for a check from the City for up to 50% off your purchase. This could take up to 3 months (90 days). Thank you for your patience.

 

Rules and Restrictions (See rebate forms for more details

 Limit one of each rebate (rain barrel, compost bin, tree, and native plant) per installation address, per year. Residents are encouraged to purchase more than one tree and native plant, however you should submit all of your 2011 native plant and tree receipts at once.

 Products must be purchased between September 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011.


 Original receipt (clearly indicating purchase) and completed Rebate Form must be post-marked by December 31, 2011. The City of Chicago reserves the right to deny rebate applications with unclear receipts.

 

Funding for rebates comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Pollution Prevention Program and a USDA Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.

More Details Here on the types of Trees + Plants Eligible for Rebates 

 

The Indo Projects - Making this city look EVEN better!

Last night I saw that Lindsay and Crystal, collectively known as The Indo Projects, were featured as the Next to Know in Chicago in my favorite nightly newsletter Time to Sign Off.  <—-You must check it out. (Ps. Entrepreneur Magazine just named them as one of this years 100 Brilliant Companies…I knew I was on to something when I signed up for their newsletter).

Since I have worked with these two ladies multiple times and loved every minute of it, I thought I would give them an extra shout out here. 

These two create some of the most magical and inspiring site specific installations made from items that are diverted from waste streams.  They have created some of the coolest retail storefront designs this city has ever seen!  They also won the Wicker Park Bucktown Make Believe Project last summer, which at the time, awarded Chicago’s Largest Art Prize. 

Check out their work.  Hire Them.