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MAY 2012



PUBLISHER Kevin McKinney


Doom & Bloom

EDITOR Jim Poyser


Watts and Whatnot

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Alexis Boxer (West Lafayette) Jaclyn Goldsborough (Fort Wayne) Jennifer Troemner (Indianapolis)


College Activism


Ask Renee


The PANIQuiz


The Last Row


Life is an Egg by Joe Lee


CONTRIBUTORS The ApocaDocs, Heather Chastain, Stephen Godanis, Angela Herrmann, Lynn Jenkins, Carrol Krause, Joe Lee, Mark Lee, Shawndra Miller, Maria Smietana, Stephen Simonetto, Taylor Smith, Renee Sweany, Julianna Thibodeaux, Jennifer Troemner



9 Child’s work

This month we present a quaternity of stories about how our children are being introduced to eco-consciousness from a variety of approaches, including Marian University’s EcoLab, Martindale-Brightwood’s Felege Hiywot Center, St. Mary’s Child Center and a goat farm near Bloomington. + cover photo by mark lee

On the cover: Thanks to David Yosha for the world; plus our talent, (left to right) Mason King, Elena Alvarado-Dobie and Noah Smith.


Indiana Living Green is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Published by NUVO, Inc. ©2012





15 A ‘green’ meal with Chef Orr

Three-star chef Daniel Orr has made sure his restaurant, FARMbloomington, is as sustainable as possible. + BY CARROL KRAUSE

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22 Saving the wayward weed, Part 2

No farmer wants to become famous for being the one to encourage the latest invasive species to take up housekeeping in Indiana.

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MAY 2012




doom & bloom with Jim Poyser

To Breed or Not to Breed

A recent news story caught my eye about how the Chinese government, long advocating a one-child policy, has begun to alter its slogans. According to the communist party paper, People’s Daily, the government is doing away with such horrific exhortations such as: “We would rather scrape your womb than allow you to have a second child!” … in lieu of sweeter, kinder messages like: “Caring for the girl means caring for the future of the nation.” Thus far, the Chinese government estimates their one-child policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since implemented in 1979. Horror stories abound regarding this policy, like people doing away with female infants; if you can only have one child in China, a boy is more sensible from a wage-earning standpoint. Thus the new policy contains slogans that encourage “caring for the girl.” You gotta wonder what the Chinese think of the Duggars, the American family whose brood is so prolific they have their own reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. By “Counting,” producers mean to suggest the Duggars are still adding even more carbon emitters to the planet. Their twentieth spawn was heralded for sometime in 2011, before Michelle miscarried. It’s hard for me not to react to the Duggars with a measure of disgust — and don’t even get me started on Octomom! Last November, planet Earth received its sevenbillionth human. This number, according to some scientists, far exceeds the carrying capacity of the earth’s resources. When you factor in what’s needed to feed, house, transport and entertain that number, you fall far short. According to Global Footprint Network, “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste.” For those who believe these challenges are sur4



MAY 2012



mountable with better distribution, technological advancement, etc., consider the UN’s World Meteorological Association’s just-released report: 20012010 was the warmest decade in human history. In fact, nine of those ten years were in the top-ten warmest years ever recorded. Chilling, ain’t it? Even if earth’s inhabitants could work together as a planet, keeping up with the chaos of our climate change will be challenge enough. No wonder the Duggars educe my negative judgment. They’re like the Hummer drivers of parenthood. People who have just one or two kids are akin to Smart Cars or Priuses. Some people I know of reproductive age are adamant they won’t have children. Those folks, to follow my metaphor, are tantamount to opting for public transit or bicycles. I am reminded here, given the title of this piece, not of Shakespeare, but of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Slaughterhouse-Five. Late in the 1972 novel, there’s a passage where the protagonist’s friend Bernard V. O’Hare is sharing information about population growth: “The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world’s total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000.” Vonnegut responds (and oh how I love this): “I supposed they will all want dignity.” Dignity, yes. And food and shelter and transportation and entertainment. And offspring. But take comfort. Thousands of industrial chemicals now inhabit our environment, from bisphenol-A lining your soup can or baby bottle or credit card receipt, to estrogen flushed into the groundwater, to flame retardants in your clothing and furniture. These endocrine disruptors permeate our ecosystem, leading to hermaphroditic fish and amphibians, defective reproductive organs, sperm damage and other reproductive challenges. Who knows? It may be our way of keeping ourselves in check. That’s not birth control, but close enough.


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Greening the Heartland Indy to host major eco-event As the city of Indianapolis enjoys a newfound appreciation for all things green, we are modeling what Americans do best, according to Jeremy Rifkin. The internationally recognized president of the Foundation on Economic Trends is a prolific writer on scientific and technological changes to the economy, workforce, society and the environment. Rifkin has written more than 20 books. “The one thing about America is that once we get the story, no one can move as quickly,” Rifkin said in a telephone interview. “We can transform our country overnight.” Rifkin is among the keynote speakers headlining the upcoming Greening the Heartland conference, where he’ll discuss his vision for the Third Industrial Revolution — also the title of his most recent book. European political leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced Rifkin’s vision while leading a robust economy and adopting new distributive energy technologies that include wind and solar power. In Indianapolis, scores of green projects, including the new Wishard Hospital construction and the energy-efficient retrofits made to the 50-year-old City-County Building, seem to suggest the city is moving quickly into a less fossil-fuel dependent future. “Momentum for green building is growing in our city and our office is thrilled to be part of these efforts,” said John Hazlett, director of the city’s Office of Sustainability. Greening the Heartland Web site U.S. Green Building Council-Indiana Chapter About the U.S. Green Building Council The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through costefficient and energy-saving green buildings. Participating Midwest chapters of the USGBC Illinois, Iowa, Ohio (Central, Northeast, and Cincinnati Regional Chapters), Central Plains Chapter (Kansas and N.W. Missouri), Michigan (West Michigan and Detroit Regional), Flatwater Chapter (Nebraska), Minnesota, Missouri Gateway, Wisconsin Green Building Alliance. Official Greening the Heartland partners City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability The Nature Conservancy of Indiana The Lugar Center for Renewable Energy (LCRE) at IUPUI 6



MAY 2012



As the city evolves into what many hope will be one of the greenest in the Midwest, it seems appropriate that, after being held in several surrounding cities, the ninth annual Greening the Heartland conference will finally land in Indianapolis from May 16-18. For officials at the new Wishard/Eskenazi Health, who are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for their project, Indianapolis’ selection as host city reinforces the progress the city has made. Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, wrote in an email that he is thrilled to be part of the Greening the Heartland conference. “Eskenazi Health will be a national leader among hospitals in sustainability, efficiency and design, and Greening the Heartland is the premier conference on sustainable and energyefficient building practices in the central United States,” Gutwein wrote. “We are pleased … to highlight the architects, planners and designers on our project who’ve made our sustainable construction possible; and to interact with and learn from leaders in sustainability including the Indiana Chapter of the USGBC and leaders from across the country.” According to Mac Williams of Inverde Design, who is conference co-chair and a board member of the Indiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), more than 1,000 green building and sustainability practitioners are expected to attend the building community-themed conference. “Greening the Heartland will have continuing education value for professionals who need CEUs,” said Williams, as he described the four educational tracks offered for those seeking continuing education units. They are Building and Design, Green Tech and Infrastructure, Ecology and Resources, and Community and Residential-Scale. Organizers expect the program offerings will reinforce the conference tagline — “Watts, Water, Waste and Wheels” — by exploring the interdependent elements of sustainability. “We envision this to be the largest gathering of ‘green professionals’ ever in Indiana,” Williams said. That’s no small feat, given that Indiana

By Angela Herrmann historically has not been a model of sustainability and that the USGBC is not familiar to most people around the state. “The (Indiana Chapter) is not as strong as we would like it to be,” Williams said, noting it was established in 2004. “Holding this conference will help increase awareness for our organization.” More than 150 organizations, including educational institutions, contractors, real estate companies, builders, professional organizations and nonprofits are members of the Indiana chapter. Additionally, Indiana is home to some 1,600 accredited LEED professionals. The USGBC is a non-profit organization

“We can transform our country overnight.” — Jeremy Rifkin

dedicated to sustainable building design and construction, serving as a third-party green building rating system. LEED provides a common framework for practitioners to identify and implement measurable solutions in green building design, construction, operations and maintenance. The conference, which will be held at the Indiana Convention Center, seeks to attract LEED professionals from around the Midwest. Williams anticipates that Greening the Heartland will have a broader appeal. Drawing from the “triple bottom line” tenets of sustainability, each of the three days of the volunteer-driven conference will feature a theme — environment (ecology), technology (economy), and community (equity). Keynote speakers will expand on the themes. Environment day will feature Charles Fishman, senior writer at Fast Company and author of The Big Thirst. Rifkin will keynote technology day, and Wishard officials, including Gutwein, will keynote community day. This year’s conference will include a special Keynote + Lunch registration for Fishman (Wednesday) and Rifkin (Thursday) for $55 each. It includes access to the exhibit hall and book signings. Friday’s session does not include lunch and costs less. Williams said these sessions are for those who may not be interested in the full conference or breakout sessions.


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Environmental ed EcoLab unearths historical and ecological outreach Story and photos by Heather Chastain Nestled in the heart of one of Indianapolis’ liberal arts universities is a wildlife oasis. EcoLab was designed and installed in 1912 by famous landscape architect Jens Jensen. It went unnoticed for nearly 90 years until a Marian University professor went searching for an outdoor ecology lab. In 2000, restoration of the EcoLab began. The 55-acre laboratory is made up of Indiana native plants and 20 acres of wetlands. It serves as a place where students can help the environment and learn outside the classroom. The university developed a Indiana academic quality standards based hands-on programs for students K-12, college and community organizations. Since 2000, more than 5,000 students have come through the EcoLab. The EcoLab has an outdoor classroom immersed among the trees. “Being there, when you’re underneath the structure, you feel like you’re more outdoors than if you’re in a park pagoda,” says Jody Nicholson, EcoLab outreach coordinator. “You can see the trees and the wetlands. … Sometimes a bird flies through. It’s not invasive to the nature around it.” The directors stress that their goal is to raise awareness so kids can make a difference in their own environment. “The kids love the hands-on portion and the ability to get their hands dirty,”

Nicholson says. “You’d be surprised the number of kids who have never planted a plant before. It’s a whole new experience for them.” “One kid even yelled during a visit, ‘this is better than recess!’ ” says Dr. David Benson, EcoLab director and Marian University biology professor. He said kids need multi-sensory stimulation and that is why the EcoLab is such a necessary resource. “All of our biggest problems today are environmental,” Benson says. “EcoLab teaches kids our options are not just ‘be bad to the environment’ or ‘be less bad.’ We can also do something positive to improve it. Something that’s good for the environment is good for us too,” he says. Getting others involved in the restoration is a high priority. The project has been ongoing since 2000, when a $250,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust allowed EcoLab to put trails in place and complete the honeysuckle removal.

Contact with ‘the living green’

To visit: The EcoLab is open to the public from dawn until dusk. The area has about two miles of hiking trails. Schools can have programs tailored to their specific programs. The staff can broadcast programs across the country. Go to ecolab to learn about upcoming events

“The honeysuckle was so overgrown you couldn’t walk out there. You had to crawl,” Benson says. “I started looking into restoration work and came across the old planting and realized we had a great history. It’s just amazing we can do a historical and ecological restoration all at the same time.” After removing the invasive, non-native plant, they uncovered a one-of-a-kind landscape. The landscape includes wetlands. Benson says wetlands are essential to watershed health and water quality by providing habitat for wetland species, modulating flood events, and filtering pollutants. Unfortunately 85 percent of wetlands in Indiana have been converted to other uses. Benson says he hopes that increased awareness of EcoLab will help educate people about the functions of natural wetlands. Jensen, who was an immigrant from Den-

mark passionate about Midwestern landscape, championed his core conviction: People must have some contact with the “living green” — flowers and plants native to their home. “He (Jensen) started restoration ecology 60 years before the idea of restoration ecology was born,” Benson says. Jensen used native plant species in ecologically sensible locations. James Allison chose Jensen, a master landscape architect, to design the grounds for his 64-acre estate, including the area now known as the EcoLab. According to Benson, EcoLab’s history revealed itself after a contractor laying trails saw exposed concrete and unearthed a massive rock bridge with huge limestone pavers. “We realized all of the roads are drivable and were traveled by Allison himself,” says Nicholson. Allison, a businessman who was one of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, formed the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company to engineer racecars for the Indianapolis 500. It eventually became the Allison Division of General Motors.

Want to get involved? May 19, 9 a.m. - Noon Occurs every third Saturday of the month. EcoLab Volunteer Conservation Day Join Jody Nicholson for a fun and physical introduction to the hands-on field of restoration ecology. Activities include planting native vegetation, removing invasives, or light trailwork. These fun and educational activities will be followed by a tour of the EcoLab where Nicholson will point out what is new. Bring work clothes, gloves, and water. Meet at the St. Francis colonnade just west of Allison Mansion on the Marian University campus. ILG


MAY 2012






a neighborhood

The MartindaleBrightwood’s Felege Hiywot Center By Julianna Thibodeaux

The Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis has had its share of ups and downs over the years. From the early days of railroad-driven prosperity, to the more recent era characterized by declining jobs and property values along with attendant poverty, crime and gang violence, a restlessness here reflects the hopelessness of so many decades of struggle. As resident Aster Bekele puts it, “Everybody in this area is waiting to get out. They shouldn’t have to wait just to get out. They should be able to figure out how to make it beautiful here.” Bekele, founder and executive director of Felege Hiywot Center — a locus of hope for the neighborhood — not only believes they can, but she’s helping to make it a reality. Felege Hiywot Center, or FHC, is the project Bekele set in motion about a half dozen years ago. It comprises nearly a block on Sheldon Avenue off 16th Street, just before the 1-70 overpass — a reminder of one cause of the neighborhood’s decline. FHC accomplishes its goals through a multi-layered mission: to serve the urban youth of Indianapolis and orphans in Ethiopia, while providing a sense of community to second generation Ethiopians in Indianapolis. This is done primarily through using gardening as a tool to teach science and a means to connect children and others in the community to the food that sustains them. It also reveals a different reality — genuine poverty, and too often, starvation — experienced by many children in Ethiopia. This contributes to a different sort of culture in the neighborhood, one of giving rather than taking. And for Ethiopian-born Bekele, it’s a matter of faith. “This place taught me who was in control,” Bekele says. The center’s work is founded on a Christian sense of mission. But its reach is broad and all faiths are welcome. Bekele moved from her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at age 18 to attend college in the United States. She worked as a chemist at Eli Lilly & Co. for 27 years, retiring to run Felege Hiywot full time — now with the help of additional staff.

A way of helping others

FHC is a thriving center of activity. During the summer, neighbors purchase produce that is grown by volunteers and children from the 10



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neighborhood who participate in its summer day camp program. The program offers learning experiences that extend beyond the garden. “When we have camp, we always have a week we set aside to do kind of like a mock type of school, Bekele says. “The children will sit either on the ground, or on a two-by-four, and I will tell them, ‘Now you are in Ethiopia, and this is the school system … Why aren’t you taking notes?’ And they say, ‘Well, you didn’t give us anything.’ And I say, ‘You see the sand in front of you?’ ” The lesson includes a conversation about nutrition and starvation — and the kids start to understand. When Bekele was a child in Africa, she slept on a dirt floor, along with her seven brothers and sisters. She continues to witness the ravages of AIDS there, one of the hard realities that drive so many children to the orphanage that Felege Hiywot supports. When Bekele’s own children were just 4 and 7, she took them to Ethiopia to see just how good they had it back in the United States. Although her family in Ethiopia no longer sleeps on dirt floors, Bekele made sure her kids had that experience. “We stayed three months. You’re talking about a complete conversion of my kids.” You could almost say the center was started more than three decades ago. That’s when Bekele was earning her chemistry degree at IUPUI, at that time located at the Indiana State Fair-

grounds. Bekele lived in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood and walked everywhere. On her travels, she encountered school-age kids who were not in school. She decided to help them. “I said, why aren’t you going to school?,” Bekele says. “And they’re actually telling me they’re poor. And I’m like ‘No, you’re not poor. I’m just going to have to show you where I came from.’ ” She’s been doing that ever since. Before she started FHC, she began helping out in IPS schools. She talked about science to kids who never imagined they would understand it, let alone think of making a living doing it — like Bekele. After those early years as a college student — helping kids in the neighborhood with their homework, when transforming an “F” to a “D” was a cause for celebration — she came back to the neighborhood so she could work with kids again. This time she helped them learn about science, where our food comes from and why it’s so important to treat the earth well. Growing one’s own food is not just a way out, but a way of helping others.

Felege Hiywot Center 1648 Sheldon St. Indianapolis, Ind. 46218 317-545-2245


Discards find

new life

At the hands of preschoolers On any given day in a certain preschool class at St. Mary’s Child Center, you might find small children wielding sharp tools and paintbrushes like tiny journeymen. They drill pilot holes in reclaimed wood to make a clubhouse, or paint flowers on sections of cardboard saved from shipping boxes or hot-glue bottle caps to old CD cases to make a train set. This is Christopher Nunn’s class, and his students, ages 3 to 5, are learning by doing. They’re also internalizing the notion that creativity can find expression in the humblest of materials, and that reuse trumps recycling, hands down. Nunn brings a repurposing ethos to every classroom project. His degrees in art and education serve him well at St. Mary’s — not to mention his experience as a graduate student in need of low-cost art supplies. But keeping classroom costs low is just one incentive for creative reuse of other people’s castoffs. “There’s so much around us that has such richness that we can use as material,” he says. “The kids will ask, ‘What is this?’ We’ll talk about what its last life was. The best thing about reusing materials is that everything has its history. It’s bringing meaning of its own to the piece. St. Mary’s is part of the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, which is informed by the Reggio Emilia educational approach. Here teachers are seen as collaborators and co-learners with their students, and the school emphasizes investigative learning. The Reggio approach also champions an engaging learning environment — and this particular classroom is filled with stunning artistic pieces that could only come from

the unfettered minds of the very young. A prime example: During the study of botany, a bicycle wheel becomes an enormous dandelion, its spokes interwoven with strips of orange and yellow plastic newspaper bags. It boasts a cardboard tube stem and leaves made from newspaper colored by the children. Its seed pod is made out of a waste stream-escapee French fry basket; its roots are strings from a mop head. When a donation of bright plastic lids and bottle caps from a recycling neighbor coincides with the study of colors, Nunn sets the children to sorting them by color. The class works on “color wheels” by affixing these recycle-rejects to appropriately circular objects: deli trays salvaged after a staff meeting, old Frisbees, that sort of thing. Nunn keeps a “materials box” stocked with landfill refugees and found objects. It’s a never-ending source of inspiration for children and teacher alike. At any one time it might contain a hundred or so disparate items — game pieces, an odometer, plastic bottle tops, wood scraps, marker caps, beads, fabric pieces, cardboard tubes, rocks. “You name it, really anything I can find,” Nunn says. Much of the stuff comes from the Goodwill Outlet where wares are sold by the pound. Finding new lives for these end-of-the-line items is one of the things that delights him. In his quest to give the children space to create their masterworks, he has reused his own art school canvases, as well as cheap thrift store paintings. “Reprime those babies and you’ve got a brand new canvas.” Nunn is modest about the impact his efforts

by Shawndra Miller

are having on the environment. “It’s only one classroom; we’re not diverting that much stuff from the landfill,” he says. And he typically doesn’t bring up environmental issues with the children, though there is a recycling project underway in the room. “Recycling isn’t one of my hot buttons,” he says. “To me it’s about the potential for reuse and the excitement that goes along with it.” The reverberations are far reaching, when you consider the impact this excitement has on the 30-odd youngsters who pass through his door daily in three sessions. These children will never see “trash” in the same way again. Ryan Flessner, who teaches at the school and whose children Abel, 5, and Adelyn, 3, are in Nunn’s class, regularly gets stopped in front of the recycling bin at home with protests like: “Dad, why are you recycling this — we can reuse this!” The children’s mother, Courtney Flessner, adds, “Then there are days they go right to the recycling pile (after school) and take things out and start making things out of them.” Nunn is slowly expanding his efforts and building relationships, both with material sources and other teachers. A studio artist provides stacks of cardboard, and industrial businesses like a Greenwood bottle manufacturer provide usable “waste” material, including cardboard barrels and tubes. His garage is stuffed to the gills with items waiting for reuse, many of which he passes along to his growing network of teachers. He embraces this new role as a “one-man freecycle.” “I enjoy taking things from a factory that would otherwise go to the dump and distributing them to other teachers.” ILG


MAY 2012





The farm as school

Jacob Phillips goes from LA cop to Indiana farmer By Taylor Smith • Photos by Lynae Sowinski

The thermometer in the car reads 12 degrees and the sun barely illuminates the iced tops of the barren tulip trees, but Jacob Phillips is outside, clearing out the bed of his blue Ford truck. The tractor is frozen, so the day’s work will have to be done on foot. Phillips’ children shuffle out the door in neon pink and blue snow pants. Rather than watch Scooby-Doo cartoons on television or sleep in, they’re up, helping their dad move their herd of 20 Boer and Spanish goats from the pasture across the road to the one next to their house. Three years ago, Phillips and his wife decided they wanted to leave California, so they went online and purchased eight acres in rural Bloomington. Phillips didn’t grow up on a farm. He is a 36-year-old, former Los Angeles police officer who lived in the suburbs. But after too many injuries, he was forced into early retirement,




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transitioning from cop beats to corn reports, clipped hedges to clumps of hay. Now, Phillips is a contractor at Crane naval base. He’s also a Marine Corps reservist. But on Saturday mornings, he’s a goat farmer. For Phillips, farming is a chance to live off the land, something that wasn’t part of his mindset when he lived in LA. What started with five chickens that he purchased on Craigslist has morphed into a small family-run farm, Liberty Pastures. After researching the health benefits and marketability of various meats, Phillips decided to raise the most widely consumed meat in the world: goat. When Phillips went to the Profitable Meat Goats Conference in Indianapolis in 2010, he had been raising goats for two months. He was the only farmer there who was raising 100 percent pastured goats, which means that the goats consume only what they can graze off the land. Phillips said raising the

goats this way is more economical, sustainable and ethical. He isn’t harvesting goats to run up a profit and his life goal isn’t to be a commercial goat farmer. While he sells goat meat to individual customers, his primary reason for raising the goats is to help teach his children about responsibility at a level he never knew existed when he was their age. The farm is their classroom. Along with being home-schooled, the work on the farm provides the children with handson learning opportunities. When they build things with measuring tape, they learn about fractions. When they log farm-work hours on an Excel spreadsheet, it helps teach finances. Lessons on leadership are learned during goat rotations. Because goats are grazing animals, they naturally move to new patches of land in search of brush to feed on. To mimic this process, Phillips and his children rotate the goats among their

various pastures. It’s muddy; it’s slippery; it means waking up on cold mornings to walk around in the snow. But the rotations help keep the pastures from being over-eaten, allowing the goats to find new food, in a new place where they might never have thought to look.

A day in the life

At 8:07 a.m., Phillips peels back the wire fence in front of the goat shelters. The silent, pink sunrise is interrupted by the crunching of fresh snow under rubber boots. Phillips tosses his green coffee thermos on the ground. “Where are the goats?” Sticking his head into one of the black plastic shelters, his son, Justin, shouts, “They’re inside!” Huddled beneath the shelters, the goats are lying together, forming a patchwork of red, cream and chocolate-colored fur. Faith, one of their oldest goats, rolls off her knees and shakes her head. Justin, age 12, and Julia, age 10, rub Faith’s back. Justin does most of the work on the farm by himself. Besides brushing his teeth, his morning routine includes driving the tractor over to the goats’ paddock to

give them water. But Justin can’t do the goat rotations alone. It takes a family effort. Phillips nods at Justin and begins walking away from the shelters. After a few paces, Phillips turns around and lets out a call that sounds like a rooster, “Doodle, doodle, doodle, dooo!” The goats have heard Phillips’ call before. They immediately spring into a trot, their small hooves flinging up flecks of white powdered snow. Their bleating cries wash out the sounds of Justin and Julia’s clapping. “Go! Get!” The children follow at the rear of the herd, pushing the goats that run off to the side. One goat bolts from the group, veering away from the paddock gate. Justin lunges. As he falls to his knees, his gloves brush the goat’s rear, snow spraying as they hit the ground. He misses. Jumping back to his feet, he looks from side to side, then runs to catch the goat and brings it back to the group. Phillips, marching ahead, sloshes through a small creek. The goats are stopped at the water’s edge.

Goats hate water. “Doodle, doodle, doodle, dooo!” Phillips calls. The goats stare. A few bend their necks to nibble on a patch of grass. Phillips crosses back over the creek. He reaches down and grabs Faith, her four stubby legs squeezed together in the folds of his thick jacket. With her white fur smooshed against his mouth, he walks through the water and sets her on the other side. Phillips says it helps to get a few of the herd over, to help inspire the others to cross. Like her dad, Julia picks up

one of the smaller goats, trying to keep a tight grip by squeezing it between her arms. The little goat squirms, writhing its body against her chest. After a few steps, the goat breaks Julia’s hold and lands on the ground. “Nice try, honey,” Phillips says as he returns for another goat, this one named Millie. He carries her across the creek and comes back for a third. Faith jostles from foot to foot. She looks along the edge of the snow-covered creek, finds the narrowest part and jumps back over to join the rest of the group. continued on pg. 14

Expires May 30, 2012 ILG


MAY 2012




continued from pg. 13


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MAY 2012



Millie stands alone in the snow, bleating. Phillips folds his arms and shakes his head. Justin and Julia come to his side. The creek presents them with a spontaneous lesson on problem solving. “What about using plywood as a bridge?” Justin suggests. “The goats could walk across that.” Phillips bites his lip and glances around the perimeter. “Good idea, but the wood is back up at the house.” “Maybe the goats need to be carried over one-by-one,” Julia says, shrugging her shoulders. Phillips shakes his head. No, he knows the goats can do it on their own. Breaking into a jog, Phillips runs up with side of the creek toward a more narrow section, urging the goats to follow. Justin and Julia begin clapping, pushing them behind their dad until the whole herd is standing along the bank. One of the goats paws at the edge of the creek. Her head twitches. Her knees bend. She arches her body over the two feet of creek bed, which once seemed like a mile-long roadblock. The group erupts into a mass of springing across the creek. The runt of the herd wades through the cold water. But Faith, once the alpha female of the group, still refuses to cross. Phillips heaves her into his arms and carries her, again. “We’re finally getting there,” Phillips says, wiping his forehead with the back of his glove.

A new home

A fine layer of snow rests on the tin roof of the 100-year-old wooden barn that will serve as the goats’ new shelter. Phillips opens the metal gate and hollers one final call, “Doodle, doodle, doodle, dooo!” In a single-file line, the goats rush across the asphalt road between their old pasture and their new one, their hooves clinking on the road, sounding like a woman walking in heels on a cobblestone street. They nudge the dark tufts of grass with their noses, exposing a tasty reward that survived the storm. This will be their new home — at least for the next few months. Phillips tilts back his hat and stares across the road they just crossed, past the bowing fence posts that line the frosted grass, to the iced shelters where they started the rotation. While it didn’t go quite as planned, they had worked together to solve the creek-crossing problem. Justin kneels in the snow, ignoring the spots of mud that dotted his pants. He looks up at his dad. “We must have looked a bit ridiculous carrying those goats,” Phillips says. Justin and Julia pull at their jackets and get on their feet. As Phillips drives back up to the house to get more supplies for the morning’s work, his children wave. From the rear-view mirror, he looks back at them, the lines around his lips deepening into soft creases. Although the thermometer in the car still reads 12 degrees, there is more farm-work to be done — and his children to do it with.

food & drink by Carrol Krause

A “Green” Meal: Restaurants are not generally noted for being “green.” Think of their stacks of plastic carryout containers, daily shipments of high-carbon-footprint produce and meat shipped in from afar, and, of course, the inevitable piles of discarded food. But three-star chef Daniel Orr has made sure that his restaurant, FARMbloomington, is as sustainable as possible. Virtually all of FARMbloomington’s food waste is diverted for re-use elsewhere, even meat. Fat is rendered into suet blocks for birds; pigtails are salted and used to cook tangy bean dishes; and every remaining animal part is used in a variety of ways instead of simply being thrown out. Produce scraps are carefully sorted. “Tea bags are great for ferns, and coffee grounds are great for blueberries,” Orr explained. “Eggshells can be crumbled and put out to repel slugs in the garden. Banana peels are good for adding potassium to the soil.” Choice vegetable peels are set aside for making stock. The rest is neatly placed in the alley behind the restaurant where it is removed by prior arrangement with local composters. And when the deep fryers are cleaned each week, a local grower removes the oil to convert into biodiesel to heat his greenhouse. Depending on the time of year, 50 to 75 percent of the menu at the restaurant (including protein) comes from Indiana or other regional sources.

FARMbloomington 108 East Kirkwood, Bloomington 877-440-FARM

with Chef Orr

“This soy sauce is made in Louisville,” Orr pointed out. “And I got this salt down there too: it’s been smoked over a fire of bourbon barrels, which gives it a wonderful flavor.” Chef Orr’s locally raised bison “Lugar Burger” was rated #1 in Indiana by Bobby Flay’s Food Network. The restaurant makes its own mozzarella from local milk from grass-fed cows. It makes its own flavored vinegars infused with flavors like wild onion and juniper berries. The majority of the restaurant’s greens and herbs are raised by local growers, yearround. Even the bar at FARMbloomington stocks an Indianaproduced bourbon and a vodka. Chef Orr’s own garden in Columbus is the source of the bundles of dried fennel stems that are for sale at the front counter. “Local chicken cooked over local fennel sticks is a really great sustainable local meal,” Orr advised. “I’ve done special dinners for Oliver Winery featuring wild venison shot on their premises, smoked over cuttings from their grape vines, and served with a wine reduction jelly from their wines. It’s wonderful.” Running a green restaurant is more expensive, undoubtedly. The compostable carry-out containers alone cost 50 percent more than conventional plastic. But Orr’s business plan has a strong appeal to customers, who are glad to know that their meals are sustainable and benefit the local economy. “I’m extremely proud to be doing this,” Chef Orr summed up. “My personal passion turned into a good business decision.”



MAY 2012




college activism with Stephen Godanis

IUPUI: Ingredients come together Last month, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a distinguished staff member were honored by the White House as one of five “Champions of Change” for leadership on campus. They were specifically honored for their work with permaculture, which seeks to transform green lawns and forgotten landscapes into edible, educational and ecologically designed gardens. This progress is amazing, but we do not have to look to the East Coast to notice that amazing and innovative things are happening here in the Midwest. Many Indiana universities are pioneering and experimenting with different concepts and interpretations of sustainability and environmentalism. My university, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), is one of those places. Early 2011 marked the moment I was recruited by DIGS (Developing IUPUI’s Gardens Sustainably) to assist with the campus gardens. Our original plot contained some two dozen raised and experimental beds to grow and donate organic produce to local food banks. As last summer progressed, however, we understood that our work had a higher calling. Quite simply, we seek to change attitudes about urban agriculture. Through education, outreach, collaboration and cooperation, DIGS works to integrate new types of urban agriculture by challenging the way people interact with their surroundings on IUPUI’s campus. We are heavily influenced by the IUPUI Common Theme Project, which invites all to discuss social entrepreneurship, and calls for collective action across varying disciplines to address social and environmental change. In an effort to alleviate the burden the grounds department faced with the massive IUPUI campus, initiatives led by myself and other DIGS members ad16



MAY 2012



dressed large planters in front of and behind University Library. Discussions with the university enabled us to cooperatively grow peppers, herbs, squash, lettuce, beans and edible flowers, all of which were donated to Global Peace Initiatives. The Library Green Team provided daily watering and DIGS members performed maintenance. Consultation with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs for sustainable policy matters and organizational structure enabled us to expand our staff. Cooperation with Herron Visual Communication teams is enabling us to rebrand and market our organization, while providing them with an opportunity for local application. Our proudest moment occurred last fall when DIGS was permitted to expand to a new site on campus, adjacent to the White River Trail at the intersection of Lansing and New York streets. Utilizing generous support from numerous student organizations, namely the strength of 120 Honor College Scholars, we transformed an unused plot of land into a vibrant, productive site for a new farm. This addition to the urban agricultural initiatives will triple our production, enabling us to provide food for campus cafeterias and another location for education and outreach. Drawing on social entrepreneurship for inspiration, DIGS addresses environmental and sustainability concerns by using the resources of university departments and programs to solve problems and find new solutions. This trans-disciplinary approach is critical to our success. IUPUI has an opportunity to become a leader in environmentalism and sustainability. The formation of an Office of Sustainability, the development of numerous campus organizations geared to environmental issues and a willing community are all ingredients to achieve that goal. Stephen is a senior at IUPUI majoring in Urban and Environmental Studies.



Got a question for Renee?


URBAN LEGEND: Do not recycle credit card receipts?

Not all receipts are created equally. You’ve got your plain paper receipt printed with ink and you’ve got your thermal paper receipts. You can tell the difference because the thermal paper is shiny from embedded chemicals. You’re wise to ask if these potentially toxic receipts are recyclable. Not all municipalities/recyclers will take thermal paper receipts; however, Republic in Indianapolis will accept thermal paper as long as it’s not on the roll. If you’re outside of Indy, I recommend contacting your public works office or recycler to ask before unloading your Costanza wallet into the recycle bin. Some cities may not want it to contaminate or decrease the value of higher grade recycled fibers. Both Greenwood (Best Way Disposal) and Fort Wayne (Republic) recycling programs accept thermal receipt paper. Plain paper receipts are always welcome. Unless you’re a freak about balancing your checkbook (who does that anymore?!?!), you may also try to get in the habit of letting store clerks know that you don’t need a receipt.


May 4, 9 a.m. The small farm and local food movements have been on the rise for the last few years, but it hasn’t come without its share of problems. Fresh local food is healthier, cleaner and can put a stopper in our diabetes and obesity epidemics. On the other hand, most urban gardeners don’t have the FDA breathing down their necks to enforce regulations. At the Campus Center at IUPUI, a panel of speakers will discuss encouraging local food while ensuring safety, and using local food in schools and universities. Registration: $20, parking and lunch included.


May 5, 7 a.m. Start your engines, folks! As the Indy 500 draws near, we’re getting ready for a whole different kind of race— the 36th Running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. After crossing the finish line, racers and their families and friends will get the chance to relax in Military Park, recharge with refreshments, and enjoy live entertainment at the Post Race Party. As the nation’s largest half-marathon has sold out for the past 11 years, the Mini has already sold out, but there’s still room to sign up with the Finish Line 500 Festival 5k. Registration is $35, and the Post Race Party is free and open to the


May 9-11 Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally here: the IRC Conference and Exhibition. It’s the state’s biggest event on all aspects of waste reduction, from compost to construction to everything in between. Meet and mingle with fellow recycling superstars and explore new ways to help keep our earth healthy and our resources in good supply. There’ll be special presentations about the Super Bowl, legislative updates, plus exhibits and speakers from all over, covering the full spectrum to help you Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Register:


May 12, 9 a.m. The season’s warming up and there’s no better way to enjoy the sunshine than to spend a little time outdoors

doing some volunteer work. Keep Indiana Beautiful, INDYCOG and the Office of Sustainability are joining forces to host a tree-planting/bike-riding event. Join our volunteers in planting 50 trees along the Illinois street bike lanes between 16th street and Fall Creek. Volunteers will meet up at City Market and take a leisurely 2-mile bike ride to the planting site on Illinois street. 


May 12, 10:15 a.m. This Mother’s Day, show Mother Nature that you love her by bringing her flowers — local flowers, that is. The Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society is at it again, showing off the stunning beauty that’s native to Indiana, while helping Hoosiers bring out the best in their gardens through local plants. The selections will come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they’ll be organized depending by their need for sun or shade for your convenience. The official sale will be happening in Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, but check with your local chapter for regional auctions and sales across Indiana. Admission is free. 

Q: How do I plan

for my funeral while being green?

You’re in luck. Assuming you make it this long, Indianapolis Green Congregations is hosting a Green Funerals workshop on May 15 at 7 p.m. at Washington Park North Cemetery Funeral Center. According to the IGC web site, the average cemetery buries 100,000 gallons of embalming fluid, 97.5 tons of steel, 2,028 tons of concrete, and 56,250 board feet of high quality wood in just one acre. Not to mention the lifetime of mowing and maintenance. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that the amount of fossil fuel used to cremate in the United States would fuel a trip to the moon and back 84 times each year. It kills me that we could be so hard on the planet even in death. Aside from burning patchouli incense at your funeral, find out how you can take your treehugging ways to the grave. Full details for the workshop are at www.ikecoalition. org/GreenCongregations.

PLANET INDY TALK: ZERO-WASTE IS SEXY May 17, 7 p.m. If you ever thought you had to sacrifice fashion for environmental friendliness, think again. People for Urban Progress director Michael Bricker and fashion designer Timo Rissanen of Parsons School of Design are heading to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to change your mind. Together they’ll be presenting clothes that waste literally nothing in their production and urban design that takes the city’s landfill-bound waste (like colorful stadium seats) and repurposes it into bold new statements that are as useful as they are eye-catching. 5$ for non-members, $3 for members.


June 3, 5 p.m. It’s been 40 years since the IMA’s Horticultural Society was founded, and they’re celebrating with A Garden Affair — a benefit to support the IMA’s beautiful gardens and grounds. There will be silent and live auctions, where you can stock up on supplies, services, and rare and valuable plants. Get to know gardening and cultural enthusiasts from across Indiana as you enjoy a delectable locally sourced dinner. This is sure to be a night to remember. ILG


MAY 2012




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Products & Services

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Geist Farmers’ Market Come visit us starting May 3rd Thursday 2:30 - 6:30 p.m. Holy Cross Lutheran Church 8115 Oaklandon Rd.

Carpet Cleaners - Carpet Cleaning Indianapolis/Metro 4 Rooms only $79 Natural Solutions-Safer Cleaning. Angie’s List award winner 2011 Ecological Babies Call us Today! 317-538-0020 Offering retail sales of cloth pers and accessories, gift sets, baby slings, and natural parenting products. We provide oneon-one diaper consultations, local workshops, and on-line gift registries.

Olry Photography Eco-Friendly Wedding, Engagement & Event Photographers Proud to be certified members of Greener Photography’s Supporting locally grown and Leadership Circle produced foods for over 15 years! Opening Saturday May 5 for the 2012 season. Find us at Every Tuesday from 4pm-7pm, May 22- September 25, at the intersection of South Meridian and McCarty, across the street from Shapiro’s Delicatessen

Endangered Species Chocolate Endangered Species Chocolate is committed to providing premium, ethically traded, all-natural and organic chocolate bars. 10% of net profits are donated to support species, habitat and humanity. Indulge in a cause. 62nd and Binford Boulevard (Hawthorne Plaza) Saturdays: April-Oct and holidays, 8am to 1pm Convenient ECONOMICAL and ECOFRIENDLY! parking and lots of variety! Our environmentally friendly countertop resurfacing system gives you a whole new look using your existing countertops. Call 317-431-5198 to schedule your free in-home estimate. Reface, don’t replace! Energy Outfitter has the home performance experts to improve the comfort and reduce the energy waste in your home. Specializing in attic and foundation insulation and solar electric energy systems. Call today for a free estimate 317-797-3500



MAY 2012


Spotts Garden Service Organic. Sustainable. Earth first. We design, install, and maintain beautiful, earth-friendly gardens. Love your garden. We do. 317-356-8808


“EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE” An Indy Food Co-op store, Pogue’s Run Grocer is a full-service natural and organic grocery featuring affordable, fresh, healthy, and locally-produced products. Green Turtle Botanical Sanctuary Medicinal Herb Classes with Community Susan Clearwater RN. Enjoy the sanctuary gardens. Learn to identify and cultivate herbs ~ Create tinctures and salves ~ Use herbs holistically. Go to:

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Earth Day Indiana Festival Saturday, April 28 • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. White River State Park 801 W. Washington St. Downtown Indianapolis


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Gardening Services

Litterally Divine Toffee and Truffles Natural chocolates made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Found at Indy Winter Farmer’s Market. The Wellness Company..... Switch Stores and SAVE$$. Shop Directly With the ManuWe’ve moved to the McCords- facturer. Better Value/Better ville United Methodist Church. Products since 1985. See the Open Wednesdays June 20 thru “Unique Difference” That Only Sept. 5, from 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. We Can Offer. Over 450 Wellness and Beauty Products able. Order Online or by Phone. Contact Us Today AT 317-748-0134

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Organic Foods

EARN MONEY, Being Green! with Shaklee “Get Clean” Non-toxic, Non-polluting cleaners. Creating Healthier Lives since 1956. 317-695-1047, Unique atmosphere, vendors and producers North United Methodist Church 38th and Meridian Thursdays 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Opens June 2 heartland-family-farm-M9428

Farmers’ Markets

Barbeaux Formulaire is passionate about aiding their clients skin conditions such as: eczema, dry skin and problematic reactions to medical aliments through the use of organic spa treatments. Barbeaux offers a hand-poured jojoba lotion, bath powder and olive oil lip balm. Visit or 1-800738-1003. Esoteric Healing Manual Therapies including craniosacral therapy. Esoteric Healing. Serving clients since 1985. Lynne Hirschman, MS, PT. 317-205-9020

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WITH NATURE by Lynn Jenkins

While records tell that the average last frost date for Central Indiana is May 10, who knows whether we will be coping with 90 degree days or facing sudden spring snow. All bets are off! I’ve weathered some very short springs, some wet springs, a few beautiful drawn-out springs in my many gardening years, but never have I seen a spring come so early and persist. Although many rejoiced in the warm days, we gardeners are concerned about the possibility of increased pests due to the mild winter. However, according to Timothy Gibb, Purdue’s Extension entomologist, we probably won’t see more insects, just their earlier appearance. But before you grab any pesticide, remember that Mother Nature has a plan for all the bugs she produces in her spring flash mob. Almost all backyard birds (notable exceptions include goldfinch and doves) feed insects to their nestlings. Even confirmed seeds eaters like cardinals feed soft-bodied, high-protein insects to their young. So, don’t go spraying the bugs with chemicals; there’s a reason for the flurry of early season insects — to feed baby birds! If you are already tired of mowing, mowing, mowing (especially with gas prices so high), don’t fertilize your lawn in spring or summer! The plan for four or five fertilizer applications was hatched by the fertilizer manufacturers to keep them in business. Grass just doesn’t need that much. In fact, Purdue agronomists agree that a single fall fertilization in September will yield an acceptable lawn with a minimal amount of time and money for upkeep. One more lawn tip: when mowing, don’t bag it… let the grass clippings lay. They add both nitrogen and organic matter to the soil as they decompose. It’s a mistaken belief that grass clippings contribute to thatch. Excess fertilization and frequent irrigation create thatch and a playground for grubs, fungus and lawn disease. Got clover in the lawn? Violets? GREAT. Clover gives our stressed honeybees another great source for pollen. Violets are a favored food for the fritillary butterfly to lay her eggs. Increase nature’s odds; go natural in your gardening and enjoy nature’s wildlife. Got a gardening question, comment or tip to share? Contact Lynn at 20



The ApocaDocs’ Pre-Apocalypse News & Info Quiz (PANIQuiz) tests your knowledge of current environmental news. Brought to you by the ApocaDocs, Michael Jensen and Jim Poyser. Check your results (at the bottom), then see to find out more.

1. What is “Kulluck”? __ a. The affectionate nickname David Koch gives to his brother, Charles. __ b. A new, Ebola-like virus, raging in Africa. __ c. The name for the Shell oil rig headed for the Arctic. __ d. The affectionate nickname David Koch gives to his left nut. __ e. A Japanese movie monster — as metaphor for global warming.

2. What was unique about the crude oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010? __ a. The fish actually enjoyed the oil spill — and it made them healthier. __ b. It was the first spill pouring into a river that started with the letter “K.” __ c. The offending spiller took FULL responsibility. __ d. It was so destructive, authorities permanently shut the river down. __ e. It was the first major spill into water of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands.

3. What did an IU geophysical experiment detect during recent Midwest tornadoes?

7. What surprising finding did a study reveal about young people? __ a. Young people don’t like to be studied. __ b. Young people don’t like being young. __ c. They use social networking to feel “worthy.” __ d. They are not actually young, but old people pretending to be. __ e. They are not so green as you might think!

8. What recent event has devastated countries advocating for swift action on alternative energy? __ a. The rise of PETS: People for the Ethical Treatment of the Sun. __ b. There ARE no countries advocating for swift action! __ c. The Fukushima meltdown. __ d. The explosion of a biofuel factory in Argentina. __ e. Sudden subsidy cuts for solar energy in Europe.

9. What recent event has devastated countries advocating for swift action on climate change?

__ a. The screams of victims __ b. Radioactivity __ c. Seismic activity __ d. Evidence of global warming __ e. The tornadoes were spinning the opposite way.

__ a. Recent solar activity fueling global skeptics. __ b. The rise of Rick Santorum. __ c. There ARE no countries advocating for swift action! __ d. The sudden reversal of the earth’s polarity. __ e. The “resignation” of Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.

4. What may the entire nation of Kiribati be forced to do — the first instance in modern history?

10. According to some experts, why is EPA delaying the release of rules for greenhouse gases, coal ash, etc.?

__ a. Replace cars with bicycle and public transportation. __ b. Evacuate due to rising sea levels. __ c. Give up all incandescent bulbs. __ d. Evacuate due to toxic spills. __ e. Cannibalize each other due to food shortages.

__ a. It’s politically advantageous for Obama to procrastinate. __ b. The P in EPA = procrastination. __ c. EPA’s now headed up by Secretary Tai Chi. __ d. Don’t “etc.” me! __ e. They’re trying to get it TOTALLY right.

5. What does new research say about industry claims that tar sands mining damage can be restored? __ a. It’s bogus __ b. It’s greenwashing __ c. It’s bullshit __ d. It’s half-Koched __ e. All of these answers are flippin’ true.

6. What did a recent report reveal about the Great Lakes, since 1973? __ a. Ice is reduced 71 percent. __ b. Quagga mussels are up, 400 percent. __ c. There are the same number of lakes over that span of time. __ d. The Great Lakes are less great, by a factor of 4. __ e. Water level is down, 2 meters. MAY 2012



Correct Answers: Answers:1 (c) The name for the Shell oil rig headed for the Arctic. (Los Angeles Times); 2 (e) It was the first major spill into water of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. (The Tyee); 3 (c) Seismic activity. (Indiana University); 4 (b) Evacuate due to rising sea levels. (London Daily Telegraph); 5 (e) All of these answers are flippin’ true. (PNAS, via Treehugger); 6. (a): Ice is reduced 71 percent. (Traverse City Record-Eagle); 7. (e) They are not so green as thought. (Associated Press); 8 (e): Sudden subsidy cuts for solar energy in Europe. (Washington Post); 9 (e): The “resignation” of Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed. (BusinessGreen); 10 (a): It’s politically advantageous for Obama to procrastinate. (Politico).

All bets are off

The Lugar Center invites you to attend

LUGAR CENTER RENEWABLE ENERGY FORUM “Waste to Energy, Chemicals, Fuels and Heat”

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2012 University Place Hotel and Conference Center 850 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

KEYNOTE SPEAKER David Gair, CEO, Pacific Oil Products

ALSO FEATURING John Hazlett, Director, Indianapolis Office of Sustainability and The new Lugar Center Director, Dr. Peter J. Schubert

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN Please visit for more details.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. - Tom Zart Also check out Greening the Heartland,, May 16-18 in Indy!



Saving the

wayward weed

I had hoped that the extra-early spring and the resulting urgency to get my crops in the ground would take some of the stuffing out of my new obsession with collecting a sampling of Indiana’s prettiest flowering weeds, but I’m afraid the opposite has happened. (For some background on the logic behind my weedcollection madness, you’ll need to dig out last month’s issue or see Between frantic bouts of hoeing and sowing, I can’t resist short rambles down our lane and beside the woodland creek, where I’m noticing new weeds I’ve never seen before. No doubt some of them have been beckoned here by the hardiness-zone shift that has made central Indiana a warmer place than it was a few years ago.

weeds, I’m exercising a sterner approach. No farmer wants to become famous for being the one to encourage the latest invasive species to take up housekeeping in Indiana. In any case, there’s no shortage this spring of the already-known weedy residents of wood and field that were candidates for my collection. You might call them “shovel-ready.” But first, I had to replace the mullein specimen, which didn’t make it through the winter. A fine ersatz candidate reared up out of last year’s legume patch, practically begging to be dug up. I obliged with an extra-large shovel before it could change its mind. I won’t know its true character till it sends up its flower stalk later in summer, but if it doesn’t measure up, there won’t be any shortage of betterendowed relatives to take its place. Among my first collectees this season were two irresistible, yellowflowering weeds that looked quite similar before I really started to pay attention. They tended to mingle in the same places, and even displayed public affection with each other, which didn’t help. One proved to be black mustard, the source of the seed that humans grind up to make the condiment with which we decorate our hot dogs. The other is plain old ragwort, a member of the very big aster family. Seems ragwort pollen is a food source for countless insect species,

No farmer wants to become famous for being the one to encourage the latest invasive species to take up housekeeping in Indiana. Others may have washed down the creek in seed form from farther upstream, and found a hospitable welcome in my bottomland. For now, I’m leaving these newcomers alone, at least until I know who they are and what they want. I generally treat new acquaintances as friends until proven otherwise, but with 22



MAY 2012



Part 2

including a number of endangered moths. Since I like moths, that attribute alone just raised its cache in my collection hierarchy. It’s anyone’s guess what may catch my fancy later in the summer, but two “musts” are on my collection list for this year: ironweed and cat’s ear. Ironweed is tall, with striking dark-green leaves and uniquely deep-lavender flower heads, a plus in my (so far) largely yellow, mediumheight collection. From a distance, the clustered flower heads look like overworked feather dusters, the closest simile you’ll find to this cleaning implement anywhere near my house. The yellow flower of cat’s ear is a dead ringer for the dandelion, which is probably why it’s also called “false dandelion.” But its botanical name, Hypochaeris radicata sounds so much cooler, especially if you can squeeze it into cocktail party patter without a stutter. Despite some trepidation from my Steadfast Spouse, I’ve now determined the perfect place for the Wayward Weed Museum. There’s an ideal spot on the side of the drive that forms a low, meandering bed backed by a slightly rounded berm. It has reasonably workable soil and gets sun part of the day, and dappled shade the rest. It drains well, gets plenty of moisture by way of driveway run-off, and has room for expansion should the collection ever be in danger of getting out of hand. Best of all, anyone who visits will have to drive right past it, and I’m already having fun imagining the conversations that will start about the sanity of a farmer purposely saving plants that are unwelcome just about anywhere else they show up.

Over 35 years of expertise with 20 years of water design!

Look for the June issue of ILG on stands May

Travel and Destination Issue. “Highlight places you can go to on a tank of gas.”

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MAY 2012




May 16 - 18, 2012 INDIANAPOLIS TO BE SITE OF THE LARGEST REGIONAL GREEN BUILDING AND SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE Hear Charles Fishman- author of The Big Thirst and Jeremy Rifkin - economist and author of The Third Industrial Revolution ... Tickets: $55 (includes keynote, lunch panel and trade expo) REGISTER TODAY!

Indiana Living Green - April 30, 2012  

Child's Work: Saving the planet.