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Power Tripping Is the age of electric cars finally here?
The energy to save…
At Philadelphia Gas Works we’re developing new ways for residential customers to save more money and use less energy, without sacrificing comfort. That’s why PGW rebates of up to $2,000 are available for homeowners, landlords and even renters who replace their old furnace or boiler. Find out how to save green by being green at: www.PGWEnergySense.com
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The strong appeal of the electric car
hen I sold my car seven years ago, I wondered if I would survive. The astronaut from the 2001: A Space Odyssey, jettisoned from his rocket, floating helplessly through space. That was the image I regularly imagined while pondering my car-free life. Laugh, if you like, Philadelphia natives. You grew up with the excellent—though frequently maligned—SEPTA, in a highly walkable city. My upbringing, just a hundred miles north in Wilkes-Barre, was quite different. There, it was absolutely unthinkable to be without a car. My dependence on a car was so ingrained that, for the first few months I lived in Philadelphia, I drove from my Rittenhouse apartment to my Chinatown office. Boy, that’s embarrassing to admit. Though I relied on my car so heavily, I was not emotionally invested in the vehicle itself. It was unwaxed, unwashed, generally unloved and, quite frequently, sported a lapsed registration. So, even though selling my car was a leap of faith, the promise of being relieved of the burdens of car ownership was very appealing. Once I overcame the weirdness of not being able to drive somewhere whenever I wanted—I began to relish the freedom that comes from having fewer responsibilities. Which is why I was surprised that, in the process of putting this issue together, I found myself craving an electric car and I started to wonder: How can I justify owning the unbelievably cool Tesla S? The monthly payment would be about the same as my mortgage. I’m sad to say I haven’t yet constructed a rationale for it. Once I do, I’ll embark upon convincing my wife, which will test my skills of oration. The much more affordable Nissan Leaf would be an option if it didn’t leave me 20 miles short of a trip to visit my folks in Wilkes-Barre. The Chevy Volt, with its electric battery backed by a gas tank … well, that might actually work for me. I hold out hope that I can remain car-free, but some personal circumstances might make owning a car necessary, at least for a while. If that’s
BEYOND BIG BUSINESS. hia’s
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the case, I’ll take some comfort knowing that this is a viable technology, especially if it’s paired with renewable energy. At the very least, it is incredibly heartening to see what industry can create when they set their minds on conservation. For now, I’ll continue to walk the few blocks down to the anchor of my neighborhood, the wonderful Mariposa Co-op. They’ve been coming on like gangbusters since they moved to their new location in June of 2012. One Sunday night while doing some grocery shopping, I bumped into Mariposa’s Bull Gervasi, who had the same exhausted and euphoric look that you see at a marathon’s finish line. I told him that I could tell they were busy because they were out of onions. He couldn’t believe it, but after arching backwards and looking down the aisle, he confirmed with a shaking head that, yes, they were sold out. Given Mariposa’s explosive growth—their staff has jumped from nine to 46 since the move—it’s certainly understandable. Part of what made their staggering success possible was a helping hand from The Merchants Fund. I’m pleased that the occasion of The Merchants Fund’s 160th birthday has given us the opportunity to produce an editorial insert, Beyond Big Business, which showcases some of the local entrepreneurs who have benefited from their help. To make things clear, when I say “help,” I mean “free money.” We profiled grant recipients in Philadelphia’s sustainability movement, but anyone who has a business in Philadelphia that’s profitable and has been in existence for at least three years should investigate The Merchants Fund. This is an organization that predates the internal combustion engine, and it’s my hope that they’ll still be helping small businesses when gas stations are a relic of the past.
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Theater-Going A driving snowstorm was no deterrent for the Friends of the Boyd, who held a rally to save the Boyd Theatre on December 10, 2013. The Boyd, designed by the Hoffman-Henon firm, which specialized in theaters, opened in 1928 as one of Philadelphia's art deco movie palaces. It stayed in operation until 2002, when it was known as United Artists' Sam Eric 4. Since then, the old palace has languished, but that may soon change. Florida-
19th & chestnut
based iPic Entertainment plans to restore the faรงade, but demolish the interior and replace it with eight screens in a new "luxury theater." While the building is designated historic by the Philadelphia Historical Commission, only the exterior is protected from demolition. The Friends of the Boyd hope to also preserve the exquisite interior, the last remaining movie palace in the city. For more on this story, visit the Hidden City Daily, hiddencityphila.org .
Interior of the Boyd, the last remaining movie palace in Philadelphia
In partnership with Hidden City, Plain Sights highlights historic structures with compelling stories hiding in our midst.
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Exterio r p hoto by Ben L eech/ in terio r p hoto by Chan d ra La mprei c h
Park Service John Boyce protects and defends Roxborough’s ‘Central Park’ by emily brooks
If it weren’t for people like Roxborough native and Gorgas Park champion John Boyce, things EVERYDAY HERO wouldn’t get done. So says David Bower, the volunteer coordinator of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, who has known Boyce for more than 20 years. “They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Well, John is that squeaky wheel, and I mean that in the best sense possible,” he says, laughing. “John is sheer energy, sheer magnetism. It’s impossible to leave a room with John Boyce and not feel energized.” Boyce’s roots in the area run deep. In 1910, his grandfather bought a home on Lyceum Avenue— better known as “the Wall”—in Manayunk. His mother still lives there today. Born in 1958, Boyce has spent his entire life living and working in Roxborough and Manayunk. As a postal worker, he knew the neighborhood and the stories of the people better than most. But he noticed the streets just didn’t seem as safe as they had been. The once-popular community spaces like Gorgas Park—the “Central Park” of Roxborough—had fallen into disrepair and become home to trash, broken bottles and empty drug vials. When many of his peers began a mass exodus
John Boyce has made it his mission to revitalize Gorgas Park.
to the suburbs, Boyce remained. “I stayed because I like it here,” Boyce says. “I live and work here. I grew up here. I grew up on the playgrounds. I love the Wissahickon. I love the river. Roxborough is a unique place with a lot of character.” Boyce knew action needed to be taken so Roxborough could remain the neighborhood he loved. He began cleaning up the trash, pulling out the weeds, and getting involved in the local civic association and development corporation. He spearheaded efforts to plant 50 new trees in the park and 80 new trees along Ridge Avenue. In 1997, Boyce and a group of like-minded individuals founded the nonprofit Friends of
Gorgas Park. A grant from then-Councilman/ now-Mayor Michael Nutter started the ball rolling. Throughout his 20 years of service, Boyce has seen the park re-landscaped; the parkhouse, entryways and World War I Memorial restored; and the playground and Victorian-style gazebo replaced—an estimated $1 million worth of restoration and revitalization. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s been worth it,” Boyce says. “It helps to be plugged in and to be persistent. "I love seeing the park and the community come full circle. It’s reinvigorating to see new faces each year who love this park and this neighborhood as much as I do.”
Bike Tandem Cycling groups combine forces to help youths by samantha wittchen The Bicycle Coalition recently announced that they have combined forces with the Cadence Cycling Foundation (CCF). According to their website, the Cadence Cycling Foundation, founded in 2007, "is a nonprofit youth development organization that uses the sport of cycling as a means to connect with underserved youth to help them grow into healthy, happy and responsible adults." CCF co-founder and Executive Director Ryan Oelkers will be transitioning to a new advisory role, and will continue to work as a coach. Meanwhile, the Bicycle Coalition will be welcoming back one of their alumni, Cy Maramangalam, who will serve as the new program manager of Cadence Cycling Foundation.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia shares bicycling skills with area youths, like these Girl Scouts.
Visit bicyclecoalition.org to learn more.
b ot tom p h oto by A nne Du tl i n g e r
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Natural Selection Local conservation center wins design award by lauren mandel
hester county’s contemporary architecture continues to gain recognition for environmentally responsive design rooted in historic context. The newly constructed Lenfest Center, designed by Archer & Buchanan Architects, Ltd., exemplifies this sensitive design approach by drawing inspiration from agrarian “bank barn” structures. Built into a slope, the Natural Lands Trust building minimizes its building footprint while welcoming abundant natural light.
“I see the building as secondary to the beautiful site,” says architect Dan Russoniello, winner of a Society of American Registered Architects award for the project. “The building interior is designed to connect occupants to the outside,” he adds. And it does so artfully through exposed timber framing and preserved viewsheds, or special views visible from specific vantage points. Learn more at archerbuchanan.com and natlands.org
Exposed timber framing and abundant natural light connect occupants to the outdoors
The envelope, please
Hugh Lofting earns passive house certification People often think the most important component of heating a home is the furnace. But sometimes, the furnace is secondary to other aspects of the homeheating equation. Passive homes use smart design, precise construction and techniques such as orienting the house to take full advantage of the sun, using natural ventilation and high levels of expertly applied insulation. The results are buildings that rely less on active systems such as heaters or wind turbines and produce energy savings of 60 to 70 percent on average compared to traditional houses. Hugh Lofting, founder of Chester County’s Hugh Lofting Timber Framing,
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The air barrier is a paper wrap that goes on before the rain screen
Inc., has been building passive homes since 1974. In September, his company became one of only seven construction companies in Pennsylvania—and 58 in the nation—recognized by the Passive House Institute U.S. as certified PHIUS builders. “We’re committed to building super-insulated houses with simple, efficient designs,” Lofting says.
The rain screen system is composed of vertical boards over two layers of rigid insulation
Builders gain the PHIUS certification by taking a four-day course and passing an exam that proves their understanding of the principles and techniques associated with passive house construction.—Lauren Mandel To learn more about Lofting’s company, visit hughloftingtf.com .
Electricity is created by the vertical motion of the float relative to the stationary spar. This drives a mechanical system coupled to generators.
Generator compartment Heave plate
Undersea substation with other powerbuoy cables
Wave of the Future
Department of Energy awards $1 million to New Jersey company to improve their ocean-harnessing technology by courtney sexton
f you’ve ever felt the earth shake from a crashing wave or come up a bit green after being tossed around on a boat, you have an idea of how powerful ocean waves and currents can be. The founders of Pennington, N.J.-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) have developed technology to harness and convert wave energy into a clean, renewable power source. The mainstay of their technology, the PowerBuoy, is an offshore wave energy converter. The buoy sits mostly below the water’s surface and contains a piston-like structure that moves up and down with the waves. That movement drives a generator, producing electricity that is sent to shore by a cable. Wave energy is more predictable than wind energy, and approximately 1,000 times more dense, meaning waves have the potential to generate much more energy than wind. And with an estimated 44 percent of the world’s population living within 93 miles of a coast, it is an energy source that exists largely where it is needed. “This presents a compelling point because much of the [electricity] transmission and distribution infrastructure is already there,” says Charles Dunleavy, OPT’s chief executive officer. “This makes [wave energy] better than wind in
that often wind energy requires that infrastructure be built to transmit it to where the population centers are.” In September, the company was awarded $1 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to fund design changes that will reduce overall capital costs, improve output and enhance the technology’s commercial viability. “[Support] from the U.S. Navy and DOE helps enhance the commercial viability of OPT’s PowerBuoy wave energy systems for both on-grid and autonomous wave energy generation systems,” says OPT vice president Debbie Montagna. “Funds from the DOE grant will also enable the company’s engineers to evaluate alternative designs for the PowerBuoy, optimizing the system’s geometry, materials used, power output, manufacturability, durability and handling, and thus, overall efficacy in harnessing the energy of the ocean’s waves.” Dunleavy sees the grant as an important step in making the technology more available. “Getting to economies of scale will help bring the cost of wave energy down,” he says. It may not be long before some of the energy powering your home is coming from the sea. Learn more at oceanpowertechnologies.com .
Making a Mark
Benchmarking law shows how Philadelphia building owners use energy and how they can use less The first rule of energy efficiency is a simple one: To reduce energy consumption, you need to know how much you are using. That’s why this past June, Philadelphia became the sixth city in the country to enact an energy benchmarking law, which requires owners and operators of buildings with 50,000 or more square feet of indoor space to report annual energy expenditures. “There’s really a twofold goal,” says Alex Dews, policy and program manager for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “We get building owners to understand where they are using the bulk of their energy, which provides them with opportunities to become more efficient. It also provides consumer transparency to people who want to support a more sustainable community.” By understanding how energy is used, businesses can save both energy and money. This is especially important to Philadelphia because, as Dews notes, “Sixty percent of building energy use in [our city] is commercial.” In the long run, according to Dews, this creates further incentive for other businesses and property owners (both large and small) to do the same. The reporting deadline was November 25, and Dews reports compliance covering 60 percent of facilities and 70 percent of the relevant square footage, which he calls “very good for year one.” Also good news is that the respondents’ mean score of 61.2 out of 100 is 20 percent higher than the national average. As for the respondents who scored much lower, they provide excellent opportunities for the city to meet Mayor Nutter’s target of reducing the city’s energy consumption by 10 percent in 2015. The next reporting deadline is June 2014, and if saving money and energy wasn’t incentive enough, those results will be made public. —Courtney Sexton
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Fighting the Current
Environmental advocate makes sure that nobody crosses the Delaware by shaun brady
aya van Rossum has been passionate about the environment since she grew up playing in and around Ithan Creek in Villanova. But it wasn’t until she was studying law in college and asked a professor if there was any career path that could combine her two passions—law and the environment—that she first heard the term “environmental law.” Van Rossum graduated from Pace Law School in 1992, and, while earning her Master of Laws, went to work for the Widener Environmental Law Clinic, which then represented the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) in litigation. In 1994, she went to work for the DRN, and two years later, she was appointed as Delaware Riverkeeper, a position she still holds. The job gives van Rossum the daunting responsibility of overseeing the entire Delaware River watershed, including all of the streams that feed into the river, from its source in the Catskills in New York, through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, to where it flows into the ocean at the Delaware Bay. “The goal of the organization is to give the river and all of the communities that depend upon the river a voice at the decision-making table,” van Rossum says, “and to make sure that protecting the river is a priority.” With that expanse comes an equally imposing set of issues—including pollution, over-harvesting of species and fracking—that can be individually harmful
and cumulatively devastating. “The sad truth is that there’s no one hotbutton issue that, if it were fixed, all would be right with our river and our world,” van Rossum explains. “There’s an accumulation of harms. Just like with the body of a person, when your system’s been compromised by one injury, another injury has an even bigger effect and becomes even harder to heal.” While the river is healthier than it has been in decades past, van Rossum worries that the successes of environmental organizations such as the DRN may result in a complacent public: “People have the misimpression that everything is okay and they don’t have to continue to be vigilant to protect the river.” One of the organization’s most important missions is mobilizing citizens to get to the polls and to confront their legislators with their concerns. “The most important strategy that we’re focused on right now is getting people to understand that electronic communications are fine and helpful, but what we really need are bodies and people,” van Rossum says. “Politicians think they can get away with green rhetoric, but when it comes time to cast a vote, they think that people aren’t paying attention, so they can get away with saying the right thing while doing the wrong thing. We need people to change that.”
Clean Delaware Riverkeeper Network's impressive 25-year history The Delaware River watershed covers hundreds of square miles in four states, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) protects all of it, advocating on behalf of the entire Delaware River watershed and its surrounding communities. In its 25-year existence, DRN has secured Special Protection Waters designation for the Lower Delaware River from the Water Gap to Washington Crossing, the highest level of protection offered by the Clean Water Act. It also claims numerous successes in habitation preservation, prevention of hazardous discharges (including a 2006 lawsuit to prevent the U.S. Army's plan to dump nerve agent waste into the river), and the halting of dam and development projects predicted to have negative impacts on the region and its water.—Shaun Brady See how you can help at delawareriverkeeper.org .
Grant Land Conservation and recreation projects across Pennsylvania recently got a boost after it was announced that $38 million in grants will be distributed among 62 counties through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Through the grants, 201 project proposals will be funded, including 36 trail projects; the protection of 2,718 acres of open space; 77 community parks; five river conservation projects; and 35 projects for regional and statewide heritage area, park, greenway and trail initiatives.
To learn more about the grants, visit dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/grants/.
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p hoto courtesy o f Delaware Riv erkeep er Network
Historic Pier 53 transformed into public park
by shaun brady
t the end of October, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) broke ground on the next phase of Washington Avenue Green, the waterfront park at the former Pier 53. The park enhancements will combine public green space with river views and access, as well as educational opportunities, ecological improvements and public art acknowledging the pier’s history. From 1873 to 1915, Pier 53 was the city’s main immigration station, a history that will be acknowledged by the “Land Buoy,” a beacon and spiral staircase designed by local artist Jody Pinto. “We would have built the park here anyway, for the ecological and public access reasons,” says DRWC president Tom Corcoran. “But the historic aspect of it makes for a richer project with a larger story to tell.” While part of the same network of trails and parks as Race Street Pier, located a mile and a half to the north, Washington Avenue Green is more concerned with restoration than transformation. Scheduled to be completed next summer, the improvements to Washington Avenue Green focus on ecological enhancements, maintaining a sensitivity to the ecological advantages its ne-
A Upper Riparian/Upland: above daily tidal inundation, flooded by larger storms. Habitat for migratory and resident songbirds and raptors, small reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates.
glected state have provided. The design not only maintains the pilings and overhangs in which the local fish like to hide, it turns them into an educational opportunity through signage, interpretive elements in public art and possibly even a mobile app. “Philadelphia has these post-industrial piers that are returning to nature, and we realized that they were beneficial for fish species which seek relief from predation there,” says Joseph A. Forkin, DRWC vice president for operations and development. “So, this ties into our attempts to educate the public about the environment, river health and fish species, and native plantings.” For more information about developments on the Delaware River Waterfront, visit delawareriverwaterfront.com
B Lower Riparian: occasional tidal inundation and flooded by smaller storms. Habitat for migratory and resident songbirds and raptors, small reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates.
Image cou rt esy o f A p p l i e d Eco lo g i ca l S e rv i ces
C Intertidal: Inundated by daily tidal cycle. Habitat for fish; reptiles; mollusks (mussels, clams) and other aquatic invertebrates; migratory waterfowl and wading birds.
Each time you use SEPTA, you make a choice that improves the environment. Leave the driving to SEPTA. For more info visit ISEPTAPHILLY.com
by bernard brown • photos by christian hunold
Pennypack on the Delaware, home of the Philadelphia eagles
Nest, Eagles nest Bald eagles make a comeback in Pennsylvania
s i write this, the philadelphia eagles could actually win the NFC East, which makes every Sunday an emotional hazard. For my emotional self-defense, I hedge with other, more reliable activities—like picking up a pair of binoculars and checking out some real Philadelphia eagles. ¶ The eagles that have actual wings and talons start building or rehabbing their nests in December in order to have them ready for eggs in January. On land, everything might be cold and dormant, but if the water isn't frozen, bald eagles can fish. That’s enough to keep them—as well as gulls, cormorants and other waterfowl—active and visible in Northeast Philadelphia, at the mouth of Pennypack Creek, also known as Pennypack on the Delaware. 12
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The football Eagles last won an NFL championship in 1960, right about when bald eagle populations were bottoming out from hunting and, more devastatingly, the insecticide DDT, which weakened their egg shells so that the parents crushed their babies before they could even hatch. With DDT banned in 1972, the stage was set for the return of the eagles. In 1973, the Pennsylvania Game Commission started releasing young birds from Canada. Bald eagles now breed on their own across the state, and even on the Delaware River, but it took a little help to get them there. The same is true for Pennypack on the Delaware. The land had long belonged to Fairmount
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Park (now part of the Parks and Recreation Department), but a lack of infrastructure and an unsanctioned fence erected by neighboring prison facilities kept the public out. According to Clyde Croasdale, who was vice president of the Friends of the Pennypack Park in the early 1990s, it took a sustained advocacy effort to reclaim the land for the park. That effort culminated in the official opening of Pennypack on the Delaware in 1998. On a crisp Sunday morning, I headed out to see the park and the eagles for myself. A light mist clung to the surface of the Delaware as I walked the path along the river. Ring-billed gulls kept me company from the air. In the past, I had
come to the park to check out great cormorants hanging around the buoys in the river, but this time I followed the paved path back inland a little to a marshy basin. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted red warning signs to keep us from getting too near the eagles and spooking them, but this was still plenty close to see one of the pair hanging out in their nest. Numerous songbird nests were tucked into trees along the path, but the eagles had built theirs with a commanding view in a tall white sycamore, easily visible above the reeds as we rounded a berm to our left and approached the opposite side of the basin. Bald eagles don’t need to hide.
No other bird looks like a bald eagle, but I’m so used to its depictions—on money, Muppets, football uniforms—that I had to remind myself that it was the real thing. Our founding fathers made this majestic white-headed raptor with a brutal yellow beak our national symbol for good reason. Nothing else in the Philadelphia sky radiates such power and dominance. Go see for yourself. You’ll have something to celebrate no matter what happens in the playoffs. bernard brown is an amateur field herper, bureaucrat and founder of the PB&J Campaign (pbjcampaign.org ), a movement focused on the benefits of eating lower on the food chain. F E BRUary 20 14
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Resurrection ALE HOUSE
Raising the Bar Grays Ferry alehouse offers both creative cuisine and comfort by emily teel • photos by albert yee
eeting up at a neighborhood pub for eats and drinks doesn’t mean wings and burgers are your only option. Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida are the duo behind four of our favorite beer drinkeries, each boasting bar menus beyond the expected. In addition to Memphis Taproom in Kensington, Local 44 in West Philly and the recently opened Strangelove’s in Center City, the pair owns Resurrection Ale House, a charming pub in Grays Ferry, where they strive to keep the menu innovative yet approachable. “The rule,” Maida says, “is that Brendan’s dad has to be able to walk in and order comfortably off the menu.” [>]
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W HAT A DI SH ! Try this the next time you visit Resurrection Ale House
CUSTARDY SHIRRED EGGS WITH ROASTED CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS For those seeking comfort and familiarity, there's a burger with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese, and for the adventurous, there's a beef tongue toast with red onion soubise and braised mustard greens. Alongside the more expected veggie options of falafel with beets and jalapeño are some real standouts that don’t include a shred of bacon to keep them appealing and beer-appropriate. Custardy shirred eggs with roasted chanterelle mushrooms are perfect cold weather food, but the bed of tomato confit and slow-cooked greens that they conceal is the star, packing an amazingly savory umami punch. Roasted carrots with chermoula and pine nuts are as appealing a finger food as a plate of disco fries, and even a kale salad—glossed with maple sherry vinaigrette and served atop a bed of sweet kabocha squash purée—is crunchy and satisfying. It's true the puffed quinoa that's mixed into the purée is fried—but after all, this is still a bar.
Shirred eggs might sound fancy, but the term just means “baked in a flat-bottomed dish.” Resurrection’s version is vegetarian, but takes meaty flavor from slow cooked greens, tomato, Parmigiano-Reggiano and roasted chanterelle mushrooms.
An alumna of Fair Food, Philabundance and Greener Partners, emily teel is a food freelancer dedicated to sustainable, delicious food in Philadelphia. See more of her work at emilyteel.com .
Locally made meat substitute takes the world by storm by emily brooks
Unhappy with the options for providing wholesome, nutritious meals to her growing vegetarian family, Lancaster resident Laura Lapp decided to take matters into her own hands. “I was reading the label of a popular meat replacement one day when I realized, ‘This isn’t even real food!’” she says. “It was then that I decided to start experimenting with ingredients in my kitchen.” Lapp, who has a background in neurochemistry, experimented for three months before coming up with the formula for the first soy-free, gluten-free and dairyfree shelf-stable meat replacement on the market. “I used mainly beans in the beginning,” Lapp says, “but the girls [daughters Morgan, 9, and Kaitlyn, 6] got tired of that pretty quickly. I started adding nuts and other spices. Finally, as we were eating tacos one night, Morgan said to me, ‘This isn’t meat, Mom. It’s neat!’” That’s
MEAT, soy, gluten AND dairy-free!
when the Lapps knew they had a product—and a name. Husband Phil’s entrepreneurial mind went into full gear. Before stepping down to work on Neat, Phil spent seven and a half years as director of corporate sales at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. In March 2012, just a few months after Neat’s inception, the company was incorporated. Today, there are three flavors—original, Italian and Mexican—that include ingredients such as pecans and garbanzo beans. The Lapp’s commitment to keeping Neat soy-and gluten-free helped earn the product a “Best New Grocery Product” nomination at the 2013 Natural Products Expo East. “The response has been overwhelming so far,” Phil Lapp says. “And that’s due mostly to the fact that there is literally nothing like it on the market right now. ” The Lapps are already working on new Neat products. “We’re not a flash in the pan brand,” he says.
Neat is available at select retail stores such as Arrowroot in Byrn Mawr, and the Devon and Wynnewood Whole Foods (and will be available at both Philadelphia Whole Foods starting in February), and online at eatneat.com .
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Two new Drexel eateries are sustainable on and off the menu by emily brooks
Drexel University’s Seasons Café and Vegetate both offer healthy, sustainable food options, emphasizing vegetarian and vegan fare and locally grown produce
ith the opening of Seasons Café and Vegetate, two new on-campus dining establishments dedicated to sustainable eating, Drexel University is responding to a growing demand for healthier, sustainable food options. Both facilities are open to the public and to students, and offer vegetarian and vegan fare, as well as locally grown produce. “The menu fills the need for the vegetarians and vegans in our community, but also appeals to meat-eaters looking for some fresh alternatives,” says Rita LaRue, senior associate vice president of Drexel Business Services. Located in the Creese Student Center, Vegetate is an internationally inspired fast-casual dining option that sells sandwiches, soups, wraps and snacks—including a pita stuffed with tempuracrusted quinoa with chunky cucumber salsa and a savory three-vegetable lasagna. Seasons Café, located in the new LEED Gold-certified Papadakis Integrated Science Building, features a seasonal menu with ingredients sourced from 39 local farms and an on-site bakery. The menu includes sandwiches, gluten-free soups, fresh fruit smoothies and fair-trade coffee. But the food is not the only sustainable part of these dining facilities—both were designed by the “green division” of the local architectural firm Charles Matsinger Associates. “Our goal was to bridge Drexel’s commitment to remaining sustainable and environmentally conscious by using recycled and low-impact content in the design and production of the interiors,” says Matt Perna, lead architect on both projects. “We utilized companies and materials that are not only conscious of the energy they use, but the waste they produce.”
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Those materials include GEOS countertops by EOS, which use a carefully chosen mixture of both post-consumer and industrial-use glass; Mannington Laminate flooring, which consists of 74 percent recycled materials and was installed without any glues or adhesives, using low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials; as well as Armstrong Vinyl Plank flooring from Armstrong Flooring’s recycling program, which is dedicated to reclaiming used material and recycling it into new vinyl composition tile products rather than manufacturing with virgin materials. Drexel Senior Zicky Villette says Seasons and Vegetate are welcome additions to the Drexel Campus. “I decided to eat there to experience a different taste, as opposed to some of the more fast food-type options,” she says. “I have no dietary restrictions, but I do watch what I eat. ... These are great additions to Drexel’s campus and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Interiors of both eateries used recycled and lowimpact materials, minimizing energy use and waste
Seasons Café is located at 33rd & Chestnut Streets. Vegetate is located at Chestnut Square, 3210 Chestnut St. p hotos by J o rdan Baumga rten
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g r i dp hi lly.com
Vibrant colors and flavors can brighten your table all winter long story and photos by emily teel
ust because it’s not tomato season doesn’t mean your seasonal table is doomed to be beige and blah. Winter produce means jewel colors and big, concentrated flavors: the velvety sweetness of winter squash, earthy root vegetables and sweet, tart citrus are in season. Pantry staples such as local flour, dried beans and storage crops such as carrots and onions can form a foundation for countless dishes. Pomegranates and cranberries lend rosy hues and bright acidity. Farmers using passively heated hoop houses and greenhouses are extending the growing season so that even in the coldest months we can enjoy robust winter greens. Winter is also a great time of year to be inspired by locally produced animal products. These tender scones make use of Seven Stars Farm’s amazing heavy cream and sweet local butter from Trickling Springs. Clover Creek’s mature cheddar adds richness to kale salad, and this weeknight chili takes the bulk of its spice from Country Time Farm’s delicious, subtly spiced chorizo.
P into B ean & C horizo C hili WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 Tbs. dried oregano ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (up to ½ tsp.) 1 28-ounce can of diced Jersey Fresh tomatoes 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar plain yogurt or sour cream, to serve
1 ½ cup dry pinto beans 1 pound Country Time Farm chorizo 2 carrots, diced (1 ½ cups) 1 green pepper, diced 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbs. smoked paprika
WH AT 'S IN TH E BO X?
Crawford Organics CSA “February is the hardest month to have fresh produce,” says Jonathan Crawford, who runs Crawford Organics CSA in East Earl. “[It’s] the month farthest from the old year and before the new season has come.” Nonetheless, Crawford Organics CSA members can expect eight items from the following list, each week, even in February. crawfordorganics.com
»» Arugula »» Beets »» Cabbage »» Carrots »» Celery Root
»» Corn With »» Radicchio a Kick »» Salad Mix (dried corn mix) »» Scallions »»Herbs : »» Shallots Oregano, »» Spinach Cilantro, »» Squash: Parsley, Acorn or Rosemary Butternut »» Garlic »» Turnip »» Kale »» Onions »» Kohlrabi »» Potatoes »» Leeks »» Sweet »» Parsnips Potatoes »» Radishes
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an edium saucep Bring a m Add il. bo a to er full of wat d r a minute an beans, boil fo beans, er m m Si . at reduce he quite tender, 20 covered, until . es ut to 40 min e s cook, remov While bean n ow br d casing, an chorizo from yav he e rg la a in and crumble Add dried oreg bottomed pot. on po as te 1/4 d an ano, paprika er, n, green pepp cayenne, onio é ut sa d an c, rli carrot and ga
ve vegetables ha together until west lo to at he ce softened. Redu occasionally, setting, stirring ady. re e until beans ar e soft and ar s an be e Onc add to the d an creamy, drain s. . Add tomatoe meat mixture mixe th g in br to Increase heat r, er. Add vinega ture to a simm d ad d an lt Sa . stir and taste mas desired. Si more cayenne, flavors, ne bi m co to mer mixture rve. 5-8 minutes. Se
K ale & D elicata S quash S alad For squash: 2 delicata squash, halved and sliced thinly into half moons, seeds reserved 2 Tbs. olive oil ½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. dried thyme For seeds: 1 Tbs. olive oil tsp. ancho chili powder tsp. ground cinnamon
C ranberry S pelt C ream S cones
For dressing: 2 Tbs. sherry or apple cider vinegar 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1 pinch of salt
1½ cups spelt flour (6.75 ounces) ½ cup whole wheat flour (2.5 ounces) 1 Tbs. aluminumfree baking powder ¼ cup sugar ½ tsp. salt cup very cold butter, sliced ¾ cup heavy cream 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla ¾ cup whole cranberries, chopped 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water, for egg wash 1 Tbs. coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 400° F. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, beat one egg. Add cream and vanilla. Stir to combine. Slice by slice, toss cold butter into flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients just enough to break down the slices—you should still be able to see pea-sized chunks of butter. Add cream, egg and vanilla mixture to dry ingredients.
For salad: ½ bunch redbor kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves torn into postage stamp-sized pieces ½ bunch lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed and leaves torn into postage stamp-sized pieces 1 pomegranate, halved and seeded 1 oz. Clover Creek mature cheddar, crumbled
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold mixture together, just enough to evenly distribute wet ingredients. Scrape mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Dust the surface of the mixture with flour and, with floured hands, gently pat to a thickness of one inch. Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut the mixture into three strips. Layer half of chopped cranberries on top of one strip, place second strip on top,
layer remaining cranberries on that, and top with third strip. Once again, flatten the mixture to a thickness of one inch and form into a circle. Using a pastry cutter, cut the circle into 8 triangular scones and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges begin to appear golden. Cool and serve.
Preheat oven to 400° F. On a large baking sheet, toss squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dried thyme. Arrange in a single layer and roast until tender and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse squash seeds, removing any stringy fibers, and drain. In a small baking dish (like a pie plate) toss seeds with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ancho chili powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Once squash has roasted 10-15 minutes, add the pan of seeds to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until seeds are dry and fragrant. In a jar with a tightfitting lid, shake dressing ingredients to combine and pour over kale. Pinch and massage dressing into kale until leaves appear glossy and slightly wilted, 4-5 minutes. Arrange kale on a platter and top with roasted squash, cheese, pomegranate seeds and toasted squash seeds. Serve.
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Ready to make a few simple changes for lifelong health? Our four pillars of healthy eating can help guide your journey. Find dozens of Health Starts Here recipes at:
Connect with your store’s Healthy Eating Specialist for more recipes, tips, cooking techniques & store tours.
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open Join us: 7500 Germantown Ave | Mount Airy Saturday, March 29 @ 10 am
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BEYOND BIG BUSINESS. an examination of Philadelphiaâ€™s
industrious entrepreneurs Brought to you by The Merchants Fund and Grid
MEET THE MERCHANTS FUND
The Meaning of Merchant Foundation supports local trade by giving grants to small businesses by patricia blakely
erchant,” once narrowly defined as a shopkeeper or a wholesaler, now includes pretty much anyone selling anything, including high-tech services. The Merchants Fund, which celebrates its 160th birthday on January 28, has similarly grown, changed and taken on new meaning.
Patricia Blakely Executive Director, The Merchants Fund
2 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
When The Merchants Fund was chartered by Pennsylvania’s State Legislature in 1854 (the same week the City of Philadelphia was consolidated into the geographically defined area we know now), every neighborhood in Philadelphia had an avenue that thrived with local trade. The Merchants Fund’s mission was rooted in serving these local businesspeople, specifically to alleviate poverty in the merchant class. When I joined The Merchants Fund in 2007, I was asked to update the mission. I talked to government leaders, community partners, and pretty much anyone who would talk to me about small businesses and the support system in Philadelphia. What could we do to be assistive, additive and transformative, to propel us into the 21st century? The answer: provide small grants to small businesses in the City of Philadelphia. We opened our first grant offering in September of 2007, and have been hard at work ever since, touching every corner of the city and dispensing close to $2.5 million to more than 200 companies. In partnership with Grid, The Merchants Fund is honored to profile a handful of those
businesses in this insert. I gave the staff at Grid a list of grantees, along with the task of selecting the businesses to be included. While I would have been hard-pressed to leave out any of our businesses, I delighted in reading about these. By the time I was done, I longed for some ice cream (Little Baby’s and Zsa’s); decided I could stand to have a little body work done (Eviama); and that I needed to brighten my dull winter house with something living and breathing (Urban Jungle). My wide-eyed hope is that we—The Merchants Fund and the citizens of Philadelphia— will succeed in bringing back that local trade, one company at a time. Looking back at the vibrant, creative, independent local businesses we have supported over the last few years, I’d say we’re well on our way. “Buy local” is not just a catchphrase, but the power of each consumer to create jobs and local wealth, and revitalize neighborhoods. I challenge you to become more intentional in spending your consumer dollars with small business in Philadelphia and the region. Now, if you will excuse me, January 28 is fast approaching. I have to call the Night Kitchen to order a birthday cake.
p o rtrait by a lbert yee
MEET THE MERCHANTS FUND
Capital Ideas Even sole proprietors don’t need to go it alone
wning and running your own business can be a great joy, but it also presents its share of challenges. Fortunately for local residents, there is a wealth of free and low-cost resources available to small businesses in the City of Philadelphia. Here are a few key websites to get your start-up started or keep your existing business thriving.
Provides access to capital, building capacity, business education and economic development opportunities to high-potential, minority entrepreneurs. The Enterprise Center seeks to better position minority enterprises to compete in the local, regional and global economies. theenterprisecenter.com
The Commerce Department of the City of Philadelphia
Sets and leads policies that help both small businesses and major corporations in Philadelphia thrive, including supporting programs that revitalize and strengthen neighborhood commercial areas and helping to back businesses and entrepreneurs starting a business in the city. phila.gov/commerce
Provides business development resources for small businesses, and focuses on growing businesses and jobs in our local communities. Their goal is to promote successful entrepreneurs in underserved areas of the Greater Philadelphia region who then become economic engines in their own neighborhoods. entrepreneurworks.org
Philadelphia Industrial Welcoming Center for Development Corporation (PIDC) New Pennsylvanians Founded by the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to promote economic development throughout the city. PIDC manages a diverse loan portfolio to attract investment, and create and retain jobs in the City of Philadelphia. pidc-pa.org
The Temple Small Business Development Center
Provides resources for immigrant-owned businesses. The Welcoming Center revitalizes struggling neighborhoods by helping small business owners on key commercial corridors. welcomingcenter.org
Wharton Small Business Development Center (WSBDC)
Provides free and low-cost services for small businesses and entrepreneurs supported by the Fox Business School at Temple University.
One of 18 small business development centers in Pennsylvania. The WSBDC provides free consulting services to entrepreneurs, as well as educational workshops for a nominal fee.
United States Small Business Development Center
Created as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, and to preserve free competitive enterprise. sba.gov
Women’s Opportunity Resource Center (WORC)
Provides training, individual business assistance, job placement, and access to business and financial resources for economically disadvantaged women and their families. worc-pa.com
Sustainable Business Network
Membership organization connects you to resources to build a just, green and thriving economy in the Philadelphia region. sbnphiladelphia.org
BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 3
LITTLE BABY’S ICE CREAM / ZSA’S GOURMET ICE CREAM
Two Scoops Ice cream shops whip up tasty concoctions using local ingredients, but that’s where the similarities end by emily kovach
hiladelphia’s ice-cream history just keeps getting richer. Already home to Bassett’s, America’s oldest ice cream company, and the birthplace of “Philadelphia Style” (an ice cream that does not contain eggs), our city boasts two unique, independent businesses that are philosphically similar, yet quite distinct from each other. Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream share a dedication to local ingredients, unorthodox retail venues and a knack for social media marketing, but their flavor profiles are wildly different. Little Baby’s has built a reputation for concoctions that read less like ice cream flavors and more like culinary dares. Try a scoop of Everything Bagel, Pizza or their now classic Earl Grey Sriracha. The company was founded by Pete Angevine, Martin Brown and Jeffrey Ziga, friends through the Philadelphia music scene who started slinging regular and vegan scoops in the spring of 2011 as a part-time venture (or “tedious hobby,” as Angevine puts it). While their original business plan was to sell ice cream outside of concerts, such as at the First Unitarian Church, they quickly recognized that their product was appealing to a larger market than just punk showgoers. “It was hectic and stressful, and a pummeling summer,” Angevine says. “Our capacity and equipment were woefully insufficient and we could not keep up.” Little Baby’s quickly expanded to include three roaming tricycle carts, a seasonal stand at music venue Union Transfer, and shops in
Fishtown and the Cedar Park neighborhood of West Philly. Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream also began as a parttime passion for owner Danielle Jowdy in 2009. Together with her fiancé and business partner Parker Whitehead, she began selling ice cream at small farmers markets in the Philadelphia suburbs. The pair make flavors they describe as “traditional with a modern twist,” such as Salted Caramel and Pumpkin Gingersnap. Their flavors were so well received that they decided to invest in an ice cream truck. Jowdy found a vintage truck on eBay, but it was beyond her budget. “I put together this crazy payment proposal to the seller,” Jowdy says, “but little did I know that Parker was on a computer on the other end of the couch telling the seller to disregard anything I was saying, because he was going to buy it outright!” With their new wheels and a small commercial kitchen, Zsa’s began increasing their production, and in 2011, Jowdy was able to work on the business full-time, sell-
Little Baby’s Ice Cream Established in 2011 10 to 26 employees, varying seasonally The Merchants Fund grant awarded $10,000 in October 2013 to establish a partnership with a local ecofriendly packaging company
Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream Established in 2009 Two full-time employees and one part-time baker The Merchants Fund grant awarded $10,000 in October 2013 to purchase refrigerated box truck
ing at larger farmers markets and brokering wholesale accounts with local co-ops. The two companies agree on approach—both produce small batches using seasonal and local ingredients—and where to get their milk and cream: Trickling Springs Creamery. So, whether it’s the subversive or the sublime you crave, you know you’re getting a wholesome treat. “Ice cream is a universal equalizer—everyone can relate to it," Angevine says. “It makes people happy and brings them together.”
From left to right, Little Baby’s Ice Cream pulls in crowds during the grand opening of its Frankford Avenue location in 2012. The company boasts inventive flavors such as Earl Grey Sriracha and Everything Bagel, and dispatches three roaming tricycle carts to deliver their goods
4 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
l eft p hoto by Jason Mi ller
LITTLE BABY’S ICE CREAM / ZSA’S GOURMET ICE CREAM Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream sells cold treats from a revamped ice cream truck, and features flavors such as Salted Caramel and Pumpkin Gingersnap
BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 5
URBAN JUNGLE After the popularity of Urban Jungle, owner Curt Alexander found an ever-growing demand for his green thumb
Jungle Nook From a lush oasis, Curt Alexander is creating a more verdant Passyunk Avenue by jon mcgoran
ast passyunk avenue was in the midst of a retail renaissance in 2010 when Curt Alexander opened Urban Jungle, selling plants and self-watering planters, window boxes and green wall systems. That change has accelerated, and Urban Jungle has been a big part of it. “When I came in I felt like somehow I became the biggest small business owner on the avenue,” Alexander says. The store’s lush greenery had a visual impact, and as green things do in a fertile environment, it has spread. Alexander’s handiwork is visible at half a dozen businesses on E. Passyunk Avenue, plus establishments such as Avance (1523 Walnut St.) and the OCF Coffee Houses (21st St. and Fairmount Avenue and 20th and Federal streets). “Everybody just kept coming to me to do window boxes and irrigation,” Alexander says. Living just three blocks from his store, Alexander is excited to be part of the community. “My goal was to have as small a carbon footprint as I could and help as many people as I could, creating greenery and life in the city without having to commute,” he says. The community was happy to have him. “A 6 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
lot of restaurants [and nightclubs] were wanting to come in,” says Alexander, “[but the owners] were very environmentally conscious, so when they heard about Urban Jungle and our concept, they let me sign a five-year lease.” Business has “been growing like crazy every year,” Alexander says, who is already looking at expanding. “I want to find a larger piece of land in an underdeveloped part of the city where I can bring some more life into that area that needs it more, and where it’s more affordable.” He also wants to start reaching out to clients in New York and Washington, D.C. How long can he keep up this pace? “Till I’m 85, maybe, if I live that long,” he says. “I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon. There’s no way—we’ve just got too much momentum.”
Urban Jungle Established in 2009 9 to 12 employees, seasonally The Merchants Fund grant awarded $50,000 matching grant in 2010 for building improvements and store fixtures
p hotos by n ea l sa ntos
NIGHT KITCHEN BAKERY Night Kitchen Bakery Established in 1981, purchased in 2000 20 employees The Merchants Fund grant awarded $5,000 in 2008 to replace refrigeration and a matching grant in 2010 for building improvements and store fixtures
The Night Kitchen owner Amy Beth Edelman says her interest in sustainability was stirred by Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
Layered Success The Night Kitchen sustains a reputation for more than great cakes by jon mcgoran
he Night Kitchen has been an institution in Chestnut Hill for 30 years, but not always the same one. When Amy Beth Edelman bought the business in 2000, it had a core of enthusiastic customers and a reputation for hearty, seedy breads and signature challah. Edelman wanted to make changes, but she knew to tread carefully. “I didn’t remove any products for some time,” Edelman says. “I just added them.” She added considerably, developing a reputation for elegant pastries, pies, cookies and cakes, and artistry with wedding and other specialty cakes. The Night Kitchen still offers breads, but cakes, Edelman claims, are now the real breadwinners. The Night Kitchen has also developed a reputation for sustainability, both in its operations and in the broader community. Though the child of radical Mt. Airy lefties, Edelman’s environmental fervor was first stoked by Dr. Seuss. “It was The Lorax,” she says. “We watched
the movie, the original one, when I was in grade school at Houston School. ... It really changed the way I thought about things.” Another pivotal moment came in 2007, when she discovered the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), which helps restaurants become more sustainable, and offers a Green Restaurant certification. Struck by the waste and inefficiency in the food industry, Edelman decided to do something about it. While pursuing GRA certification—which she received in 2009—Edelman stopped using plastic bags, began composting with Philly Compost, bought local ingredients and started a garden behind the bakery, becoming more energy-efficient and less wasteful. She shared her enthusiasm with other area restaurants, and while none joined her in getting GRA-certified, they did change their ways. “It was great how receptive they were, even some that I didn’t think would be,” she says. “They saw how being less wasteful and more efficient could also save them money.” Edelman then turned to the community, creating Green in Chestnut Hill (GRINCH) with her friend Jenny Reed. GRINCH established recycling programs for electronics, shoes and Christmas trees; held composting and rain barrel workshops; and brought “Big Belly” solar-powered compacting trash and recycling receptacles to Germantown Avenue. The Night Kitchen’s 2010 expansion added 20 seats, and in the process of remodeling they made several key improvements, including purchasing energy-efficient equipment. With the help of the Stock Group, they used recycled wood flooring and countertops. So, what’s next for the Night Kitchen? “Izabella, our six-year-old, says she wants to be a baker when she grows up,” Edelman says. “So, perhaps you should ask her.”
BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 7
MARIPOSA FOOD CO-OP
Market Driven Mariposa Food Co-op expands its role in the community, along with its retail space by jon mcgoran
ood co-ops are hardwired to work with othersâ€”other co-ops, other businesses, their neighbors. Itâ€™s part of their founding principles, their bylaws and their DNA. When Mariposa Co-op expanded to a nearby location after 40 years in business at 4726 Baltimore Ave., they quintupled in square footage, tripled their staff, doubled their membership and quadrupled their sales. But perhaps the most important expansion was their involvement in the community.
8 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
Mariposa Food Co-op Established in 1971 46 Employees The Merchants Fund grant awarded $50,000 in 2009 for refrigeration
p hotos by n ea l sa ntos
MARIPOSA FOOD CO-OP
“Our total space was 500 square feet,” says Bull Gervasi, expansion project manager, and now produce department and facilities department coordinator. “We did as much as we could with the space, but … there were limitations to how involved we could be in the neighborhood, and the support we could give to other organizations and businesses.” Mariposa was also only open to members, a once common restriction among co-ops that is increasingly rare, but made sense given the store’s physical limitations. By 2007, it had become clear to the staff that a change was necessary. The following year, the membership gave its blessing to search for a new location. “Our membership is very concentrated around the old store, and we wanted to stay within a five-block radius of that store for that reason,” Gervasi says. “We didn’t want to move to an entirely new neighborhood and hope that our members would follow.” A year later, the co-op began negotiations to purchase the Beulah Tabernacle Church, one block away at 4824 Baltimore Avenue. “There’s only so many spaces in a five-block radius that are significantly larger than our place and for sale,” Gervasi says. “We looked at four or five
other locations seriously ... this one was far superior … aesthetically, as well as strategically being placed so close to the old store.” Before the expansion could proceed, several organizational changes had to be made. “The biggest change was opening our store to the public for shopping rather than only to members,” says Peter Collopy, board secretary. “It made both financial and ethical sense to offer our services to everyone in the neighborhood.” Some members opposed the change, but a referendum passed with more than 90 percent of the vote. Another change was the creation in 2009 of a board of delegates (previously all major decisions were made by the entire membership). Mariposa secured the new building in September 2010, and as the architects and contractors started planning the expansion, the staff was hard at work figuring out how to raise $2.5 million to pay for it. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), the Reinvestment Fund, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community Economic Development were major funding sources, but the biggest single component—30 percent—came from grassroots fundraising. When renovation began in September 2011, the
Bull Gervasi BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 9
MARIPOSA FOOD CO-OP
co-op was still closing in on its fundraising goal. “The moment that I realized we had no choice but to succeed was when construction started,” says Leah Pillsbury, who coordinated the capital campaign. “They were downstairs spending money and I was upstairs trying to raise it. My job was to keep up.” But the fundraising campaign was a pivotal point in Mariposa’s blossoming interaction with the surrounding community. “There’s a baker that we work with who ended up giving us a loan toward the expansion, in the process before we actually opened up,” Gervasi says. “There have been many local businesses 10 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
that have donated gift certificates and products for raffles and silent auctions and things like that, going through the expansion process. Different businesses in the neighborhood hosted events as fundraisers for us. So, yeah, there’s been a lot of help and community building along the way there.” But it wasn’t just the neighborhood community that pitched in. “The co-op to co-op generosity was really amazing during expansion,” says Peter Frank, Mariposa’s organizational facilitator. “That conversation is continuing to grow and expand … with Weavers Way and Swarthmore and even
Newark Natural Foods in Delaware. Thinking about how can we collaborate together, share services. During expansion, there were a lot of co-ops that lent Mariposa money, which was really amazing, and co-ops that aren’t even local, not even in the state of Pennsylvania, contributing large amounts of money … that was pretty amazing.” Gervasi agrees. “And even beyond the financial aspect, especially Weavers Way went above and beyond, offering consulting help, offering their member labor to set up the shelves when we were getting ready to open up, looking over our plans for the store,” he says. “Almost every aspect of the store, they offered help with, which was extremely valuable, having just gone through their renovation in Chestnut Hill … to have that help was amazing, and made it a hell of a lot easier.” Mariposa’s new store opened in June 2012. The design has won awards, sales are way ahead of projections, membership has increased by 62 percent, and payroll has grown from nine mostly part-timers to a staff of 46, with 35 full-time. The expansion also allowed Mariposa to expand its product lines. “We’re trying to squeeze in as broad a variety of products [and] price levels … as we can, for as broad a selection of folks [as possible] so we can be their one-stop shop, keeping their money in the neighborhood,” Gervasi says. And more of those new products are local. “Bringing in fresh and frozen meat, the vast p hotos by n ea l sa ntos
MARIPOSA FOOD CO-OP
majority of that is locally sourced. The vast majority of our dairy and eggs is locally sourced. In season, most of our produce is locally sourced,” he says. “It probably averages out to be about 40 percent of our produce ends up being locally sourced. In the summer, it’s a much higher percentage.” Removing the membership requirement has made those products available to more local people. “We have a lot more sales from non-members and people who were not exposed to our product are now being exposed to it,” Frank says. “Some of those folks are now joining, slowly. But way more folks are getting fresh and healthy produce and products from us.” Other businesses in the area have also noticed an increase in business. “There’s been quite an uptick in activity on the whole block since the expansion,” says Vince Whittacre, co-owner of the Gold Standard Café. “Now that they are open to non-members, they have opened up to a lot of the neighbors. We were able to join as a business, which is great. Now we can get last minute things and fresh produce, so that helps a great deal. They have also joined the business association, so they are really helping to promote the whole avenue.” A year and a half after the expansion, the relationships with neighbors, businesses and organizations that helped make it happen are stronger, broader and more robust. Just as Mariposa received support and expertise from co-ops like Weavers Way and Swarth-
more, they are sharing the lessons they learned with startups like Kensington Community Food Co-op and South Philly Food Co-op. “Mariposa studied the Weavers Way Chestnut Hill expansion to see how you line up financing, how you line up the fundraising drive, how does actual construction work,” Frank says. “And now we’re kind of able to give really amazing advice to some of the startups.” Mariposa has become an active part of the regional co-op scene in more structured ways, as well. In 2012, Mariposa and Weavers Way helped establish the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), which seeks to help all sorts of co-ops—including credit unions, worker cooperatives, consumer co-ops and housing coops—to work together to grow the cooperative economy. Mariposa is also active in the Mid-Atlantic Food Co-op Alliance (MAFCA), a group formed in 2010 to help promote food co-ops. In 2012, Mariposa hosted a quarterly meeting of the MAFCA, which includes 21 co-ops in six states. Mariposa’s connections to the local community continues to strengthen as well. “There’s lots of small nonprofit organizations that look to us as this sort of big brother institution,” Frank says. “We’re able to partner with a lot of them and help them with their smaller projects, whether it’s selling Mill Creek Farm’s produce or the West Philly Tool Library, having some of our member labor go work for them.” Mariposa directly supports or partners with dozens of local groups, including Cedar Park,
Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, Urban Nutrition Initiative and the Philadelphia Student Union. “It’s part of being a good neighbor,” Gervasi says. “We want to support the neighborhood. I feel like that’s very different than the traditional business model, where maybe a corporate chain store doesn’t necessarily have as much investment in the neighborhood that they’re in. Whereas we—most of us live in the neighborhood, we work in the neighborhood, our neighbors come through the doors and we want to support them. We want to be good neighbors. … Our mission kind of states that: We are trying to supply the residents of West Philly and beyond with locally sourced, healthy foods.” Plans are already in the works for more improvements: a new, more efficient heating and cooling system, an expanded deli and prepared foods department, and expanding offerings in the co-op’s new community room, which already hosts workshops, cooking classes, film screenings and a very popular Scrabble night. But while the expansion was officially completed a year and a half ago, much work still remains. “We’re still very much in expansion mode,” Gervasi says. “We’re still going through a lot of growing pains, figuring out what policies make sense, and adjusting that and settling into that space… figuring out how to work most effectively and be as good a part of the community of co-ops and the West Philly community as we can be.” BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 11
GEECHEE GIRL RICE CAFé
The Rice Harvest Geechee Girl cuisine is both Lowcountry and local
by jon mcgoran
veteran of notable Philadelphia restaurants such as the Commissary, La Terrasse, Roller’s and Jamey’s, Valerie Erwin had long thought about opening a restaurant, especially in her own neighborhood. But 10 years ago, when a restaurant became available near her Germantown home, she was at a loss as to what cuisine to offer. A friend suggested a noodle theme, but noodles didn’t inspire her. Then Erwin’s sister came to the rescue. “Alethia said to me, ‘What about rice?’” Alethia was referring to the rice-centric Geechee cuisine served to them as children. Erwin describes Geechee cuisine as “Southern cooking with some added layers … the sea coast, the use of rice as the staple grain, and the strong influence of the African food ways.” Erwin’s mother’s family was from Charleston, South Carolina, and her father, who taught her how to cook, grew up in Savannah, Georgia. Both had strong traditions of Geechee cooking. But what attracted Erwin to Geechee cuisine was how “it could be interpreted in many ways,” she
Valerie Erwin, who owns GeeChee Girl Rice Café, wanted a restaurant that offered something distinct, so she chose a staple from her Southern background
12 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
says. “There’s a direct African link in both Lowcountry and Caribbean cooking. Sometimes we explore that link. Sometimes we try to go back to the source. Sometimes we just do a riff on it.” Geechee Girl Rice Café opened in 2003, focusing on ingredients that are fresh and local rather than strictly authentic. Erwin bought from neighborhood farms such as Wyck and Weavers Way, then Paul Tsakos and now Lancaster Farm Fresh. But there are some southern ingredients she misses. “The big one is fresh field peas,” she says. “You can get them by the bucketful in the South.” When it comes to rice, she’s a stickler, buying only from Anson Mills in South Carolina. “They are the premier heirloom grain grower and purveyor in the country,” Erwin says. “They have
Geechee Girl Rice Café Established in 2003 8 employees (2 full time) The Merchants Fund grant awarded $10,000 in 2008 for a laptop, signage and exterior lighting and a dish washing machine.
the best philosophy of capturing heirloom grains and bringing them back into the market.” Ten years later, Erwin’s sisters are still by her side—Alethia and Michelene are regular servers, and Lisa and Alexadria also help out. Now located in Mt. Airy, Geechee Girl Rice Café’s reputation has spread far and wide among local diners, critics like the Inquirer's Craig Laban, and national correspondents from National Public Radio and the Food Network. Erwin has become a frequent speaker and advocate for the Southern Foodways Alliance and her own culinary literacy projects. And while the “girl” in the restaurant’s name refers to the picture in the Geechee Girl Rice Café logo, Erwin says, “If people think of me as the Geechee girl, that’s okay with me.”
FIREHOUSE BICYCLES AND WOLF CYCLES
West Philly bike shop expands to a second location by emily kovach
Firehouse is Bicycles, which Monco-owned by i, ica Pasquinell m above, and Sa ily Davis, primar hed sells refurbis bikes—keepof ing them out landfills
p hotos by nea l sa ntos
Firehouse Bicycles and Wolf Cycles Established in 2001 7 employees, circulating between the two shops The Merchants Fund grant awarded $9,000 in 2012 for website and online development
very neighborhood deserves a great bike shop—one with grimy, committed mechanics, affordable new and used bikes, and fast service. Firehouse Bicycles, at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue, has been West Philly’s bike shop since 2001. Monica Pasquinelli, who now co-owns the business with Sam Davis, says it began pretty organically. “We were first,” she says, “having some sales out of here that we’d flyer for, and as people started to realize there were bikes up here, it slowly started to blossom into a real bike shop.” Though they sell some new bikes, 75 percent of Firehouse's stock is refurbished, keeping older bikes out of landfills and making bikes more affordable for those who can’t spend thousands on a brand new bike. They also keep tools and a pump on their porch, so neighbors can make repairs. “We believe in having stuff available and people being empowered,” Pasquinelli says. In 2012, Firehouse added a second location, buying Wolf Cycles (formerly Wolff Cycles), Philadelphia’s longest-operating bike shop, when the previous owner—only the second owner since the shop opened in the 1930s—decided to retire. Pasquinelli says the idea of buying the shop seemed like fun, but it has been a challenge. Located at 43rd Street and Lancaster Avenue , Wolff Cycles is well known by the neighborhood’s older generations, but Pasquinelli and company are working to develop a younger customer base, establishing a website and social media presence, selling new bikes in popular brands, repairing and selling skateboards, and making the building’s second floor available as a community space, hosting shows and plays. Still, Pasquinelli says it’s the history and legacy of Wolf Cycles that convinced them to take over the business. Curtis Wahlgren of Narberth purchased his first good road bike at Wolff Cycles in the late ’70s. “They gave me a good price, and it was an excellent bike,” he says. He shops at the new Wolf Cycles because the staff is knowledgeable, does good work and cares about more than just making a profit. “They don’t push people to buy things. It’s just kind of an old-fashioned bicycle store where it’s really enjoyable to hang out and talk with the employees,” he says. “Almost everyone who walks through the door there says, ‘I got my first bike here!’” Pasquinelli says. “Moments like that are what make us excited. It’s cool to be carrying the torch.” BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 13
EVIAMA LIFE SPA Enviama Spa owner Penny Ordway turned her passion for promoting human wellness and ecoliving into the city’s first green spa
Nurture by Nature
Eviama Life Spa pampers your body and your planet by emily kovach
enny Ordway faced a dilemma: She was passionate about her human wellness work, but the spa where she was employed regularly used processes and products she found questionable. She wanted to be a good employee, but not at the expense of her clients. In 2001, she decided to start her own business, Eviama Life Spa—the first green spa in Philadelphia. In the 12 years since, there have been many milestones. “Surviving the first few years, learning who’s in your corner, navigating City Hall, crossing the $500,000 threshhold for gross earnings in one year—there are many small achievements that add up to the whole,” Ordway says. The biggest milestone came this year: recreating, designing and building their new location at 13th and Chestnut Streets. After 11 years at 16th and Spruce Streets, they were refused a new lease. “We miss the old location with its two beautiful and majestic black locust trees out the back windows,” she says. “While we mourned, we also found inspiration—it’s the best thing that 14 | BEYOND BIG BUSINESS
ever happened, landing in this light-filled space in Midtown Village.” The interior of the spa, which features exposed brick and natural textures, was built with salvaged and recycled materials, non-toxic finishes and paints, and low-voltage or natural lighting. Guests enjoy purified air, distilled water and special herbal teas, as well as products that are carefully vetted, a process that can prove to be tricky. Ordway says that even organic products can contain undesirable preservatives, and that makes the decisions more complicated. “The plant’s polypharmacy—its healing properties which we may or may not know fully—can trump a small dose of a less desirable chemical,” she says. “I have my work cut out for me in this respect.” Eviama’s services go beyond standard facials and massages to include energy work such as Reiki, vibrational therapies and Mayan spiritual healing. But even the cosmetic services incorporate Eviama’s holistic outlook. “We have our sights set on transformation,” she says, “even when you’re getting a brow wax!”
Eviama Life Spa Established in 2001 10 employees, five full-time The Merchants Fund grant awarded $12,000 in March 2013 for a courtyard garden, entryway and lightwell plantings, new identity design, and printing a new menu
QUEEN VILLAGE ART CENTER
Queen Village Art Center Established in 2004 15 employees The Merchants Fund grant awarded $8,000 in 2012 for easels and kilns
Young at Art Queen Village Art Center offers art for all ages
by emily kovach
ith four studios outfitted for sculpture, ceramics, painting, and more, Queen Village Art Center is a wonderland of art-making. The hallways double as gallery spaces, showing off students’ work. And the huge skylights on the second floor flood the entire 3,200 square-foot space with light. Housed in what was formerly the Philly AIDS Thrift building on 5th and Bainbridge Streets, every aspect of the design by Solerno Ziegler Architects was carefully considered to match the art center’s mission. “We believe that learning happens in the process, so our studios are spaces that allow for collaboration,” says founder, director and lead teacher Jill Markovitz. “They’re very open, so the creative process can be heard and seen by everybody.” Along with offering art classes for adults, Queen Village Art Center also provides a bevy of classes to teach the little ones to think outside the box
With an undergraduate degree in Art Education, a Masters of Fine Arts and two decades of teaching experience, Markovitz is deeply knowledgeable about the power of art and music education for children and adults. “I love teaching young kids, they can do so much,” she says. “Art teaches them about being in a group, being social, sharing, as well as critical fine-motor skills. Parents learn how to help their child be an outof-box thinker.” Markovitz opened the Fairmount Art Center in 2004, and bolstered by its success, she and her staff opened Queen Village Art Center in 2011. Both facilities offer a range of classes and activities. Adult classes such as painting foundations and experimental drawing, and crafts like sewing and jewelry making. Children’s art classes run the gamut from music classes for little babies to “Jackson Pollock Art Parties” for tweens and teens. Other programs include drop-in playgroups, art therapy, afterschool programs with pick-ups at local schools, and day camps for days when schools are closed. “There is such a great energy having so many people from the neighborhood here to celebrate their kids’ creativity,” says Shelley Crognale, administrative director at the Queen Village Art Center. “The parents get to meet each other, exchange phone numbers, tell each other about birthday parties, stuff like that… The kids express themselves and experience each other in a different way than if they were just doing homework or kicking a ball around,” Crognale says. All three of Crognale’s children, ages 2, 8 and 10, have taken classes and attended playgroups at the Art Center. “We’re passionate about the role art plays in community.” Markovitz says. “We just had a huge year end art show and the sense of community was so touching.”
BEYOND BIG BUSINESS | 15
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Fully Charged Improved technology and enthusiastic owners bode well for the electric car’s future story by
samantha wittchen & illustrations by
Though it runs perfectly, Ric Temple’s Nissan Leaf can make him late. His electric-powered car rouses so much curiosity that Temple is regularly interrogated by passersby outside his South Philadelphia home. People take pictures of his car, as well as the charging station to which it’s attached. But Temple doesn’t mind—unless he’s in a hurry. He’s even taken the time to post an explanatory sign on the charging station to answer the frequently asked questions so, when he isn’t around, those who have their interest piqued can learn more. F E B Ruary 20 14
Charging Stations Levels to suit every need When it comes to electric cars, there are three levels of charging stations that are commonly referred to. Here's a breakdown of what each level provides.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Fairmount resident Brett Skolnick has had similar experiences with his Tesla S, the ultra-hip luxury electric car that Consumer Reports rated as the best car on the market. “People stop me on the street and want to know more,” Skolnick says. “People have no idea that it was made in America. They think it’s an exotic car.” In Wynnewood, Dave Park has felt the love for his Nissan Leaf as well. “Occasionally I’ll get someone who will look at me [in my car] and give me a thumbs up.” If you’ve bought an electric car already, you occupy a space between eco-celebrity and side-show curiosity. But that is now starting to change. While electric car sales are still well under one percent of overall car sales, they’re starting to get a foothold in the market. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., sales for electric cars doubled from 2012 to 2013, right around 100,000 this year. Depending on your perspective, those numbers can seem both small and large, but consider this: In their first two years on the market, plug-in electric cars have almost doubled the sales achieved by hybrid cars in their first two years. Evidence of the nascent market is appearing locally. Electric vehicle charging stations are quietly popping up throughout Philadelphia—on city sidewalks, in parking garages and at venerable institutions such as the Franklin Institute and Barnes Foundation. The U.S. Department of Energy lists 36 public charging stations in Philadelphia, and that number is growing. And the range an electric car can travel on a single charge is expected to improve dramatically in the next few years. According to Forrest North, a former battery engineer at Tesla Motors and chief operating officer of Recargo, a California-based software and services company that supports the growth and adoption of plug-in car technology, battery energy density doubles every five years. It seems that finally, the electric car market is charging ahead.
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3 2 1 10-16 h
Average time needed TO FULLY chargE
4 hrs. Average time needed TO FULLY chargE
1/2 hr. Average time needed TO FULLY chargE
120V 240V 480V Acc e ss i b i l i t Y
Acc e ss i b i l i t Y
Acc e ss i b i l i t Y
Available at any home with electricity
The most common charger on the road
The best charger, but the hardest to find
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All electric, or a gas backup?
Plug-in electric vehicles reappeared on the market at the end of 2010 and fell into two categories — battery electric vehicles (BEVs), like the Nissan Leaf, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), like the Chevy Volt. BEVs do not have a back-up gas tank, meaning that once the battery’s charge has been depleted, your ride is over. Mid-range BEVs, such as the Leaf, can travel anywhere from 75 to 100 miles on a single charge, while longrange BEVs, such as the Tesla Model S P85, can travel up to 300 miles. PHEVs, on the other hand, can continue to run once the battery’s charge is gone; a gasolinepowered generator provides electricity for the electric motor that propels the car. PHEVs generally have shorter battery ranges—the Volt is limited to 38 miles per charge—but can travel another 300-plus gas-fueled miles on top of that. Fundamentally, BEVs and PHEVs are different from hybrid vehicles in that they operate completely on an electric motor, whereas hybrids use an electric motor in conjunction with a gasoline engine to power the car.
Where to charge
Early adopters bought more than 17,000 electric vehicles in 2011, but the lack of charging infrastructure made it challenging to charge vehicles outside of the home. The first public charging station in Philadelphia was installed at the Liberty Gas Station on Columbus Boulevard in November 2010, but by early 2011, only 1,972 charging stations existed across the U.S., and most of those were concentrated in California. According to the Department of Energy, that number has ballooned to 19,472, with a growing number located in the Northeast Corridor. Charging stations may be on the rise, but there is a significant difference in power supplied. Level 1 charging uses the common 120-volt wall receptacle, and is the slowest. A Chevy Volt needs 10 to 16 hours to fully charge at this level. Step up to Level 2 charging, which uses a 240-volt receptacle required for a household clothes dryer, and the Volt’s charging time is cut down to four hours. Level 2 chargers are the most prevalent at 26
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public charging stations, adding approximately 10 to 20 miles of range for every hour charged. Direct current fast charging, also called Level 3 charging, can fully charge a typical electric car in a half hour. Unfortunately, only 368 Level 3 charging stations are currently in use today, according to Recargo. Still, the lack of Level 3 public charging stations does not seem to present a meaningful barrier to today’s electric car owners, the majority of whom—81 percent—charge at home, according to a 2013 study release by PlugInsights, Recargo’s research arm.
While many of these home-chargers live somewhere with easy access to a driveway or a garage, that doesn’t really help those living in a densely packed and less car-friendly city. And that’s why, in 2007, Philadelphia City Council passed legislation allowing electric vehicle owners to apply for a designated electric vehicle parking space in front of their homes. Temple, who lives two blocks from Pat’s and Geno’s in South Philadelphia, charges his Nissan Leaf in front of his house using his Level 2 charging station. The dedicated parking space was a major motivator for Temple, whose elderly grandfather lives with him. Temple’s two adjacent neighbors had to sign off on the space, and Temple added the charging station in conjunction with lighting and sidewalk improvements. It took a month and a half to get approval and the charging unit itself was free through the Department of Energy-sponsored EV Project, which aims to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure in nine states and
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battery Cells display time required per hour to charge
38 miles / charge 98 MPGe the District of Columbia. Although Temple used public charging prior to securing his parking space, he primarily charges at home now, bypassing the expense of parking in a garage that offers a charging station. Skolnick was also motivated by the chance for free parking for his Tesla Model S. In April 2013, Skolnick was just the fourth person to apply for electric vehicle parking in Philadelphia, and he has enjoyed the flexibility the space provides. “One of the realizations we’ve had is that we can get in the car at 8 p.m. and go out and come home and have a parking space,” Skolnick says.
One reason Skolnick opted for the Tesla was its superior range—he drives 105 miles round trip to Princeton for work each day. Temple’s biggest concern when downsizing from a Cadillac Escalade to the Leaf was the fear that the car’s battery would run out of juice and leave him stranded. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. “I’ve gone to Atlantic City from Philly,” Temple says. “It was the most nail-biting trip I’ve ever taken, but I made it.” Known as “range anxiety,” such concerns are common among electric car drivers. But future technological improvements and expanding charging infrastructure could eliminate that concern altogether. “It’s a two-headed issue,” says Norman Hajjar, managing director of PlugInsights. “On one hand, if there are breakthroughs in technology and mid-range BEVs ended up with a longer range, we’ll be all set. It’s a pretty safe bet that’s not going to happen anytime soon. So barring that, the next best thing to do is to build out the infrastructure so that [drivers] can rely on the fact that there’s a vast recharging station network so they won’t get stranded.” Hajjar believes the best way to do that would be for the government to make a Manhattan Project-esque push toward increasing the number of Level 3 chargers. This would drastically reduce the time it takes to “refuel” an electric car, bringing it closer to the amount of time it takes to stop at a gas station. The main barrier to Level 3 charging right now is the steep cost, but more companies are starting to see a market opportunity, based on research from such organizations as PlugInsights. 28
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How far one can drive on a charge depends greatly on the vehicle make and model. Here are examples of four electric cars and an estimate on how far out from the heart of Philadelphia one could get—and still return home.
75 miles / charge 115 MPGe Level 1
208 miles / charge 95 MPGe Single * Charger
265 miles / charge 89 MPGe Single * Charger
TWIN * CHARGER
* A Tesla can be installed with a single or twin charger. The twin charger allows twice the conversion capacity.
SC R A N T O N
M A N H ATTA N
D OY LESTOW N
R ISB U R G N O R T H P H IL A D EL P H I A L A N C A STE R P H IL A D EL P H I A CH EVY VO LT W IL M I N G TO N NISSA N LE A F
ATL A N TIC CIT Y
B A LTI M O R E
TESLA S 60 KWH
TESLA S 85 KWH
F E B Ruary 20 14
This all-electric SUV, the Toyota RAV4 EV, is only available in California
In Hajjar’s opinion, we won’t reach a tipping point for electric cars until we build out the infrastructure sufficiently to eliminate range limitations. Currently, most electric car owners must rely on another gas-fueled car for longer trips, or they need to plan carefully. For example, Nissan dealerships all offer free Level 2 charging—during business hours only—and according to Steven Dodson, a customer representative on Nissan USA Chat, “The charging stations are intended for universal use.” But they also advise calling ahead of time to schedule a charge. All of this makes longer trips potentially more complicated, and this can discourage anyone who can’t afford a second vehicle. “Until we get to the point where the vehicle can be the only vehicle for an individual, we won’t get huge market penetration,” he says. Yet over the past few years, improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure, coupled with falling prices (both General Motors and Nissan have reduced their prices by at least $5,000 from the first models) and a generous federal tax credit of up to $7,500, have fueled an increased demand for both PHEVs and BEVs.
How clean is it?
Due to public policies that have been implemented to encourage the growth of the electric car market, it isn’t surprising that some have expressed skepticism about their viability. A major anti-EV claim has been that electric cars operating in fossil-fuel heavy states such as Michigan, which draws 72 percent of its power from coal-fired power plants, actually produce more emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. While numerous peer-reviewed articles have reached the conclusion that, from cradle to grave, electric cars are the cleanest option, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ comprehensive report, “State of Charge,” does the best job of refuting this anti-EV claim. After examining the emissions of regional electrical grids throughout the U.S., which vary widely by fuel source, the report found that, even in regions that produce the most emissions from electricity generation, electric vehicles have lower global warming emissions than the average gasoline-powered vehicle on the market today. The Philadelphia region earned a “Best” rating in the report, meaning that electric vehicles charged 30
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from our regional electric grid achieve more than a 46 percent reduction in global warming emissions when compared with a 27 mpg vehicle. Drivers who want to maximize their positive environmental impact can pair an electric vehicle with solar-powered charging to reach zero direct emissions. Even without solar charging, electric vehicles in Philadelphia produce global warming emissions equivalent to a 64 mpg gasoline vehicle, according to the report. The good news is that these figures are only going to get better for electric vehicles. Twentynine states and the District of Columbia have adopted renewable energy standards—Pennsylvania’s is 8 percent by 2020—so the electricity grid will continue to get cleaner. And while fuel standards for gasoline-powered vehicles continue to improve as well, it’s unlikely that any car operating solely on an internal combustion engine is going to hit the 64 mpg mark anytime soon. Another criticism of electric cars is that battery production is extremely energy intensive, and the process of mining raw materials for battery production is harmful to the environment. While it’s true that producing an electric vehicle using today’s methods requires more resources than producing a conventional vehicle, mainly due to the large batteries, it’s unlikely that this will always be the case. Today’s existing gaspowered automotive industry has benefitted from decades of research and manufacturing process refinement, and electric vehicles could easily benefit from the same. Yet even taking higher emissions from manufacturing into account, over the life of the car, an electric vehicle is still the cleanest option on the road. In a survey of six peer-reviewed academic studies, the National Resources Defense Council found that in every case, electric vehicles boasted lower emissions, ranging from 28 to 53 percent less than conventional vehicles. Additionally, batteries are most likely reused or recycled. A spent battery, defined as one that only retains 70 percent of its original capacity, can be repurposed to provide grid energy storage, and conventional lead acid car batteries are recycled at a rate of 96 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s data from 2011. While the scientific community has overwhelmingly confirmed that electric cars are already the most environmentally sound option on
The Golden State leads the charge with electric car choices Have you heard the one about the electric SUV with the Tesla-made engine? It's true, but if you
live in Pennsylvania it's more likely you've read about the Toyota RAV4 EV than seen it, let alone taken it for a spin. You can find this car and a multitude of other—including all electric models including the 2014 Honda Fit EV, 2014 Ford Focus Electric, Chevy Spark 2014 in California, because of the Zero Emission Vehicle Program. Initially passed in 1990, it’s been amended several times since, largely due to the auto industry’s lobbying efforts. The most recent legislation, passed in early 2012 and then made effective by a waiver granted by the Environmental Protection Agency, created a mandate to car manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles, such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles along with plug-in hybrid vehicles in increasing quantities beginning in 2018. Other states that are moving in this direction include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, but currently, Pennsylvania has no such plans.
the market, perhaps the most compelling argument in support of the future of electric vehicles is the fact that they will continue to improve while gasoline vehicles may have been optimized as much as possible. “At some point, your electric car will be just as cheap and usable as a gas car, but it’s going to improve from there,” says Forrest North, Recargo’s chief operating officer. “Gas cars aren’t going to improve.”
The Big Picture
Dave Park says that his motivation for buying an electric car was largely environmental. “What better way to make my actions match my intentions?” Park says. He had a charging station installed in his detached garage (also through the EV Project), and although he mostly charges at home, he occasionally charges at a public station located at a Walgreens near where he volunteers in Northeast Philadelphia. Most days he only drives the 38 miles round trip between work and his home, but on days when he volunteers, he
Take Charge Interested in jumping on the electric car bandwagon? Here's where to start. Tesla Dealership:
→→Tesla Motors: 160 N Gulph Rd.
U-GO charging station located in Mount Laurel, NJ
King of Prussia, PA. (484) 235-5858
Station to Station
Local company provides an outlet for electric car owners
If the market for electric cars continues to grow, it’s a pretty good bet drivers will need recharging while on the road. And that’s a bet David Soens, co-founder and executive vice president of operations for the Philadelphia-based U-GO Stations, is making. “We anticipate [there will be] as many as 5000 [public] charging stations across the country by 2030,” Soens says. From its headquarters at 18th and Market, U-GO owns, operates and maintains a network of electric vehicle charging stations. They installed the first charging station in Pennsylvania at Liberty Gas Station on Columbus Boulevard at Tasker Street, and in 2012, another at the Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy. They have a total of eight stations in the U.S. and four in Grand Cayman. U-GO is responsible for all aspects of the devices, including maintenance, insurance and electricity costs. For a Level 2 charger, consumers pay $2.75 per hour,
N i s s an D e a l e r s h i p s :
→→Chapman N.: 6723 Essington Ave. Philadelphia, PA. (215) 492-1200
→→Ardmore N.: 265 E Lancaster Ave. by ed golde
and for a Level 3 charger, it’s $9 for unlimited usage. Because U-GO offers locations a revenue sharing model, it’s a way to make money, but the benefits of having a station, the company says, extend beyond that. In addition to showing your concern for the environment, a station becomes a destination, and customers in need of a charge will need something to do while they wait, such as shop at a nearby venue. Soens and his team are ramping up their efforts to expand the company and hope to partner with a variety of clients that include retailers and universities. And they’re very optimistic about how the market is developing. “Now that the early adopters of electric vehicles have been driving for a few years, we are seeing more public acceptance and familiarity with it,” Soens says. “They are teaching other drivers about all the benefits. This will help transition and solidify the electric vehicle as a true alternative for the first time in 100 years.”
Ardmore, PA, (610) 649-4400
→→Cherry Hill N.: RT 38/ Church Rd. Cherry Hill, NJ. (856) 667-8300
→→Woodbury N.: 439 Mantua Ave. Woodbury, NJ. (856) 853-0150
→→Drexel Hill N. 5018 Township Line Rd. Drexel Hill PA. (610) 449-2800
→→Faulkner N. 900 Old York Rd.
Jenkintown, PA. (215) 887-8870
→→Loughead N. 755 S Chester Rd.
Swarthmore, PA. (610) 328-1500
→→Conicelli N. 1222 W. Ridge Rd.
Conshohocken, PA. (610) 825-4200
→→Colonial N. 117 Bustleton Pike
Feasterville, PA. (215) 364-1100
→→N. of Devon 459 W. Lancaster Ave. Devon, PA. (610) 695-2900
→→N. of Turnersville 3400 Route 42 Turnersville, NJ. (856) 629-1900
→→O’Neil Nissan 849 W Street Rd.
Warminster, PA. (215) 674-9300 Ch e vro l e t D e a l e r s h i p s :
→→Chapman C. 6925 Essington Ave. drives up to 75 miles. On those days, he monitors his driving habits carefully to make sure he can make it the full distance. Temple echoes Park’s sentiment about driving habits: “You change the way you drive when you drive one of these cars.” He says he’s much more relaxed and respects cyclists more now that he drives a Leaf. “I don’t know if it’s the increased environmental awareness or what,” he adds. Temple has seen dramatic financial results as well. He had previously driven a Cadillac Escalade, and filled its 30 gallon tank three times a week. He estimates his annual gas savings are a shocking $20,000, a figure that pays for the Leaf and charging station in well under two years. Skolnick adds that driving an electric car requires that you plan long trips based on the location of charging stations. He doesn’t think it’s a bad thing—just different. Temple, however, is looking forward to the installation of more rapid charging stations on the I-95 corridor between New York and D.C.
As for the performance of electric vehicles, all three owners are in complete agreement—it’s awesome. “When people drive the car and feel how powerful it is, they say, ‘Oh wow! This isn’t what I expected an electric car to be,’ ” Park says. “What makes the Leaf feel like it’s a luxury Cadillac is that it’s so smooth—it’s a luxurious experience driving an electric car." The unbridled enthusiasm of electric car owners is infectious, much like it was for hybrid owners a decade ago. If we’re not at a tipping point yet, we likely will be soon as prices continue to drop, charging infrastructure improves and technology continues to advance. In fact, technology is developing so rapidly that the biggest concern for potential electric vehicle owners may be owning an outdated car. Temple’s advice for drivers considering making the switch to an electric car? “Don’t buy one—lease one.” Otherwise, it’s full speed ahead for electric vehicles.
Philadelphia, PA. (888) 478-0476
→→Pelligrino C. 1000 Gateway Blvd. Westville, NJ. (856) 603-3652
→→Mall C. 75 Haddonfield Rd.
Cherry Hill, NJ. (866) 475-5793
→→Gordon C. 6301 E Roosevelt Blvd. Philadelphia, PA. (215) 268-6080
→→Armen C. 125 E. Lancaster Ave. Ardmore, PA. (484) 412-0023
→→Spencer C. 840 Baltimore Pike Springfield, PA. (484) 534-2387
→→Bryner C. 1750 The Fairway
Jenkintown, PA. (267) 436-4076
→→Elkins C. 401 Route 73 South Marlton NJ. (856) 452-0168
→→Carfagno C. 1230 E Ridge Rd. Plymouth Meeting PA. (484) 751-9189
→→Thomas C. 1263 W Baltimore Pike Media, PA. (484) 443-4478
→→C of Turnersville 3400 Route 42 Turnersville NJ. (856) 340-4039
→→Del C. 1644 E Lancaster Ave. Paoli, PA. (484) 324-2031
→→Lafferty C. 829 W Street Rd. Warminster, PA. (215) 259-5794
→→Kelly C. 600 Nutt Rd. Route 23
Phoenixville, PA. (484) 928-1112
F E B Ruary 20 14
Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday Celebration: Special Benjamin Franklin Tippler’s Tour
Celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s birthday with a toast from the Doctor himself. During the tour, guests will hear Dr. Franklin tell stories and can speak with the Founding Father. The Tippler’s Tour is Historic Philadelphia Inc.’s tavern tour of colonial and modern day watering holes, where visitors join a colonial host and share authentic stories and drinking traditions with fun and lighthearted songs and toasts of the era. →→ Fri. & Sat. Jan. 17, 18, 5:30 p.m. $45 for adults,
$40 for students, senior and military (includes drinks and gratuity). Historic Philadelphia Center, 600 Chestnut St. For more info visit historicphiladelphia.org/adventure-tours
Animals in Motion Weekend
Find out how you measure up to some of the star performers of the live animal kingdom. A range of family activities offers opportunities to test your strength against the jaws of an alligator, learn the amazing secrets of a common egg and marvel at the acrobatics of birds on the wing.
→→ Sat., Jan. 18 to Mon., Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free with museum admission. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Seed Starting with Gloria Foran
Learn how to start your garden from seed this year. Gloria, Primex’s propagation expert, will discuss seed selection, planning and timing, along with steps for growing healthy vegetable and flower seedlings.
→→ Sat., Jan. 18, 1 p.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
Orange Trail Hike with Merritt Rhoad
Organized by Friends of the Wissahickon, this hike will begin with a walk along Forbidden Drive to Bell’s Mill Road and then along the Orange and White Trails to the Indian Statue with return to Northwestern Avenue. Learn a little more about Wissahickon history and nature. Difficulty: moderate. Distance: ~4 miles. Duration: 2 to 2.5 hours.
→→ Sun., Jan. 19, 1 p.m. Northwestern Ave & Forbidden Drive. Register at https://26134.thankyou4caring. org/events . For more info visit fow.org/newsevents/january-trail-ambassador-hikes-andtalks
Trail Ambassador Talks: Understanding Horses
Organized by Friends of the Wissahickon, this presentation by Cynthia Turecki will explore how a horse thinks and sees its surroundings.
→→ Sun., Jan. 19, 2 p.m. Free. The Cedars House, Forbidden Drive. Register at https://26134. thankyou4caring.org/events . More info available at fow.org/news-events/january-trailambassador-hikes-and-talks
Cheese Ball II Build the city’s largest cheese board, crown a King and Queen of Cheese and raffle off some dairy shwag, including a print by cheese portraitist Mike Geno. Put on your tux, your T-shirt, your ball gown or your overalls and come share the lacto love. Bring a cheese (or pairing) to share and a $10 donation for the cave.
→→ Sat., Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. $10
and cheese donation. RUBA Social Club, 414 Green St.
Snakes out and about in the studio for this adult class provide a rare opportunity to sketch live reptiles as you observe them up close. Academy artist Stephenie Koniers will provide tips and assistance and Academy teacher and naturalist Michael Kaczmarczik will share the natural history of each animal. No experience is necessary.
→→ Wed., Jan. 22, 6 to 9 p.m. $25 members, $30
nonmembers. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. To register call: 215-299-1060.
“Turn the Power On” Celebration
Join the Temple University community as they flip the switch on the largest community solar electricity purchasing project in Philadelphia. Fifteen hundred electric customers followed Temple’s lead, after the University committed to a 20-year purchasing agreement, by choosing to spend their energy dollars on Community Energy’s state-of-the-art solar project. The Celebration will feature the Temple marching band and spirit squads, solar learning stations, a special guest speaker, and a full hot chocolate bar with unlimited toppings.
→→ Thurs., Jan. 23, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free. Temple
University’s Edberg-Olson Football Facility, 10th and Diamond streets. For more info, visit
Big Green Block: Using Sustainable Neighborhood Initiatives to Attract Private Investment
Shanta Schachter, deputy director of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, will speak on the corporation’s Sustainable 19125 initiative with the goal of making the 19125 zip code the most sustainable in the city. →→ Fri., Jan. 24, 12 to 1 p.m. Free. Paley Library Lecture Hall Room 021, Temple University. Visit ambler. temple.edu/crp/academicprograms for more
Nice and Fresh: Winter Series Pop Up Performances
SmokeyScout Productions continues its commitment to bring new works of original contemporary performing arts to the Northwest. Hosted by the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, the event will feature new works by Philadelphia theater, dance and circus artists/ companies, including crossover acts. →→ Fri. & Sat. Jan. 24, 25. 8 p.m. $7. Philadelphia
School of Circus Arts, 5900A Greene Street. More info available at smokeyscout.com
grid ph i l ly.co m
F EB Rua ry 2014
P hoto by Tenaya Da rl i ngton
Composting for Healthy Soil with Jennifer Hendricks
Keep your kitchen scraps and plant debris out of the landfill, while creating living black gold for your garden. Jennifer, horticulturist and soil whiz, will discuss simple ways to compost outdoors or indoors with worms. →→ Sat., Jan. 25, 10 a.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. To register, call 215-887-7500.
Bee Keeping with Suzanne Matlock
If you are thinking of hosting your own beehive, this class is for you. Suzanne, local beekeeper and president of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, will give an introduction to bees and beekeeping, including hive set up, what to expect during a typical harvest year and informative bee facts.
→→ Sat., Jan. 25, 1 p.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA. To register, call 215-887-7500. phillybeekeepers.org
Wildlife in Winter Series: Part I
Learn about the many ways wildlife survives over the winter. Part I will focus on hibernation. Parts II and III will focus on camouflage and migration.
→→ Sun., Jan. 26, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. $5 TLC members;
$10 non-members. Bucktoe Creek Preserve, 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA. More info: tlcforscc. org/education/education-programs
Trail Ambassador Talks: 17th and 18th century mills and homesteads in the Wissahickon Gorge
Organized by Friends of the Wissahickon, this is a 45-minute presentation by Sarah West. →→ Sun., Jan. 26, 2 p.m. Free. The Cedars House, Forbidden Drive. Register at https://26134. thankyou4caring.org/events . More info: fow.org/ news-events/january-trail-ambassador-hikes-
Do you want to increase your knowledge of the garden? Are you a novice gardener who wants to learn more? This science-based course will include a Master Gardener Handbook and supplemental class material. Class is every Tuesday and Thursday. Registration is open until Jan. 31. →→ Tues. & Thurs. Feb. 4 to April 29, 9 a.m to 12 p.m.
$250. Camden County Environmental Center, 1301 Park Blvd., Cherry Hill, NJ. For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org
→→ Sat., Feb. 1, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. $35 for members,
$40 for non-members. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. To register, call 215-299-1060.
Rutgers Master Gardener Course
Academy Dinosaur Hall Manager and paleo-illustrator Jason Poole will share the history of dinosaur illustration, information about dinosaur anatomy, and illustration techniques for paleontologists and budding paleo-illustrators. The group will examine fossils from the Academy’s collection, exhibits in Dinosaur Hall and live animals. Teachers can earn three Act 48 credits.
The Secret Language of Flowers
From ancient times flowers have been symbolic, used for all types of ceremonies and events. It was the Victorians who turned flower giving into an art with it’s own language. Come spend an evening with Cheryl Wilks, of “Flowers On Location” learning about the “Language of Flowers.”
Backyard Chickens with Marie Crawford—Blue Bell Farm
Marie will teach you how to raise your back yard flock sustainably and holistically. Learn everything from choosing the right chicks, building a coop, and keeping them happy and healthy year-round. She will bring a few members of her flock for you to meet. Primex will also be selling baby chicks this spring. This is the perfect starter course for your new flock.
→→ Thurs., Feb. 6, 7:45 p.m. Free. Waverly Heights,
1400 Waverly Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035. More info: mconservancy.org/events
→→ Sat., Feb. 1, 1 p.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
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Paleo-Illustration: Bringing Ancient Beasts to Life
The Rib Stand
Food School: Chocolate and Beer Pairings
Join John & Kira’s and Yards Brewing Co. for this one-of-a-kind tasting event! Cocoa artist and local entrepreneur John Doyle from John & Kira’s Chocolates talks artisanal chocolate making, sourcing fresh local herbs, running a sustainable small business—and the art of pairing fine chocolate with a variety of craft beers from Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Co. →→ Thurs., Jan. 30, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $35. Rick Nichols
Room, Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th St. More info: bpfair-food.ticketleap.com/
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F E B Ruary 20 14
Gardening for Wildlife with Marc Radell—Master Gardener 86 of Montgomery County
Learn how to create a habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife in your backyard. Marc brings 30 years of ecological garden experience and has created a National Wildlife Federation certified Wildlife Habitat garden of his own. →→ Sat., Feb. 8, 10 a.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. To register, call 215-887-7500.
Bundle up for a winter nature hike on the frosty trails of the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Families and participants of all ages are welcome to enjoy the hike, crafts and light refreshments.
→→ Sat., Feb. 8, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. $3 for TLC members;
$5 for non-members. Bucktoe Creek Preserve, 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311. More info: tlcforscc.org/education/education-programs
Terrariums with Elizabeth Leo
Create a miniature garden under glass in this make and take workshop. Elizabeth, Primex’s resident terrarium maven, will teach you how to create and care for your mini landscape. Cost includes all materials; glass bowl and three plants.
→→ Sat., Feb. 8, 1 p.m. $30. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. To register, call 215-887-7500.
Natural Beekeeping Symposium
Nationally renowned beekeepers Dean 6 Stiglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer, authors of The Complete Ididot’s Guide to Beekeeping will be the speakers at Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild’s 4th Annual Natural Beekeeping Symposium. Stiglitz and Herboldsheimer will share valuable techniques and stories about natural beekeeping based on their extensive, personal experience.
→→ Sun. Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $25 for members, $30
for non-members. William Penn Charter School on 3000 W. School House Lane. More info: us2. campaign-archive1.com/?u=84be6b65f9561893f df773af8&id=d762fb4151&e=b377e75f3b
PENCIL IT IN! For a full list of more calendar events, visit gridphilly.com
gridph i l ly.com
F EB Rua ry 2014
Science on Tap hosted by the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University
A monthly science café in Philadelphia for anyone interested in getting together with other people to discuss a range of engaging science topics. February’s event will feature paleontologist Dr. Ken Lacovara, Drexel associate professor. Informal conversation will follow the presentation.
Winter Pickles— Fermentation with Amanda from phickle.com
Learn how to make seasonal pickles through the process of lacto-fermentation. It’s an easy and delicious way to preserve the season’s bounty and has added health benefits too. →→ Sat., Feb. 1, 11 a.m. $10. Primex
Garden Center, 435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. To register, call 215-887-7500.
→→ Mon., Feb. 10, 6 p.m. Free. National Mechanics,
22 South 3rd St.
A Valentine’s Day Farm to Table Dinner Event
Farmer’s Fork is bringing local farmers together to offer a Valentine’s Day dinner featuring locally sourced and sustainably grown pasture meats, organic seasonal produce, local wine, wild honey, artisan cheeses and more. →→ Thurs., Feb. 13, 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. $75.
Stonebrook Farm 475 Deep Run Road Perkasie, PA 18944. More Info: farmersfork.com/events
Sommelier’s Secrets: An Out-of-the-Ordinary and Delicious Valentine’s Day Event
EAT Live Love the GMO-Free Way
GMO Free PA and Brad’s Raw Foods host an event to teach the community about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the various impacts to the Earth, your health, the environment and animals. Speakers include William Woys Weaver, Tara Cook-Littman, founder of the coalition GMO Free CT and Annmarie Cantrell. Learn more about the laws surrounding GMOs, how to cook safely with GMO-free alternatives and more.
→→ Sat., Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. $5 or free entry
with new paid membership. 7034 Easton Rd, Pipersville, PA 18947. Register at GMOFreePA.org
Sommelier and author Marnie Old is one of the country’s leading wine personalities. Join the Conservancy and Marnie on Valentine’s Day for an out-of-the ordinary experience that includes sampling 6 wines, gourmet chocolates, and light hors d’oevres from local restaurants.
The second of a 3-part series to learn how wildlife survives in the winter. This event focuses on ways wildlife uses camouflage. Part III will focus on migration.
→→ Fri., Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. $50 for LMC
→→ Sat., Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. $5 for TLC
members, $65 for non-members. Carriage House of Fred and Nancy Bissinger Villanova Township of Radnor, PA. More info: lmconservancy.org/ ai1ec_event/sommeliers-secrets-an-out-ofthe-ordinary-and-delicious-valentines-dayevent/?instance_id=741
Wildlife in Winter Series: Part II
members; $10 for non-members. Bucktoe Creek Preserve, 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311. More info: tlcforscc.org/education/education-programs
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F E B Ruary 20 14
A two-day festival featuring rarely seen specimens from the fossil collection of the Academy. Learn about animal motion, take guided tours of Dinosaur Hall, see real dinosaur fossils, meet Academy scientists and more. Enjoy hands-on activities, crafts, guest speakers and interactive presentations.
→→ Sat., Feb. 15 and Sun., Feb. 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free with museum admission. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.
Raised Bed Gardening with Sally McCabe
Sally is coming to Primex from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society with her energetic personality and knowledge of community gardening. Learn her techniques for getting the most out of your raised bed vegetable garden using less space, time and effort. →→ Sat., Feb. 15, 10 a.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
Black History Month: Storytelling Bench at Historic 156 Philadelphia Center
A Once Upon a Nation storyteller will tell riveting stories about African Americans who played a role in our history, including Octavius Catto and those who played a role in the Underground Railroad. Visitors will be enamored as the storyteller shares stories of the famous and not-sofamous true tales from our country’s past. →→ Sat. - Mon., Feb. 15 to 17, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Historic
Philadelphia Center, 600 Chestnut St. More info: historicphiladelphia.org/once-upon-a-nation/ storytelling
Mega-Bad Movie Night: Jurassic Park III
Academy experts will be onstage to comment on the movie’s many scientific absurdities. Features include a cash bar and snacks, displays of Academy specimens related to the movie and encounters with the museum’s live animals. You must be at least 18 years old to attend and 21 to drink. →→ Thurs., Feb. 20. 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. $13 for
members, $18 for non-members includes entry to the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit. Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. To register, visit mbmnthem.eventbrite.com
gridph i l ly.com
F EB Rua ry 2014
Society Art Salon
Prometheus Radio Project has teamed up with BalletX dancer Colby Damon to present the 2nd Society Art Salon, a forum featuring music, dance, film, theater and poetry, along with presentations featuring stories from local activist groups. All proceeds will be donated to the Shalefield Organizing Committee, helping to aid families being adversely affected by fracking operations in Sullivan County.
Rain Gardens with Mark Reale of AquaReale.com
Building a rain garden (or a few rain gardens) in your own yard is probably the easiest and most cost efficient thing you can do to reduce your contribution to storm water pollution. When native plants are used it also creates a low maintenance habitat for wildlife.
→→ Sat., Feb. 15, 1 p.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
→→ Fri., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. $20. The Gershman Y,
401 South Broad Street, 2nd Floor. More info: email@example.com
Fruit Trees with Anne Myers
Learn how to care for your home orchard including; planting, pruning, and pest and disease prevention. Dress warm for a hands-on pruning demonstration in the Primex nursery.
→→ Sat., Feb. 22, 10 a.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
Winter Pruning with Tom Horn — Nursery Manager
Tom will teach you how to prune ornamental trees and shrubs during the dormant winter months. Dress warm for a hands-on pruning demonstration in our display gardens. →→ Sat., Feb. 22, 1 p.m. $10. Primex Garden Center,
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
435 West Glenside Ave., Glenside, PA 19038. Registration: Call 215-887-7500.
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10/25/2013 2:54:39 PM
Earning Her Chops A chef renounces meat only to embrace it again by lindsay gilmour
have no interest in slaughtering animals. I have borne witness and it’s intense, hot, primal and best left to the people who are skilled at doing it quickly and humanely. But as a meat-eater, I wanted to “get to know” a whole animal in a visceral way, not just frozen packages of muscle and bone. One Sunday last winter, armed with sharp knives, determination and the book Whole Beast Butchery, my friend Ann Karlen, the founding director of Fair Food, and I took on the challenge of “breaking down” a pasture-raised hogget, or adolescent sheep. Three hours later, that beast was arrayed before us, a buffet of roasts, chops and stewing meat. I’m a fiend for lamb. My monthly lamb chop night is a familiar frisson of pleasure and excitement. I come by my obsession honestly. Born and bred in New Zealand—where sheep outnumber humans eight to one, down from 22 to one in 1982—I was raised on a steady diet of hogget. But my life has not always included lamb. I came to the U.S. 26 years ago to study macrobiotics, a grain-based and primarily vegan diet with a little fish thrown in. It was a foray into food as a healing tool that I had begun with my brother when he was diagnosed with AIDS two years earlier. Luckily, Tom never gave up his lamb chops and cream puffs—in the days before medications such as AZT prolonged the lives of those with HIV, his life was too short to forego those pleasures. But I dived into macrobiotics heart first. I had been cooking professionally for eight years, amid food trends and flavor pairings that seemed increasingly random or downright icky, and I sought discipline and spiritual depth in cooking and in life. Macrobiotics has roots in ancient Chinese medicine and a powerful Zen influence. I was fascinated by the profound significance of every aspect of food: the way you cut and cook a vegetable, the interplay of flavors (sweet, salty, sour) the way you wash the rice, the time of day you eat it, your state of mind as you prepare it, food that is local, whole and in season—so many factors subtly changing the energy of the food and the effect on body and psyche. I could shape the destiny of those I cooked for. Heady stuff. For the next 18 years, I ate, cooked, taught and explored the possibilities of macrobiotics. I believed that truly healing food should be delicious and flavorful. As my confidence and skill grew, though, I started to question and experiment, reintroducing flavors and foods that were not “recommended.” I applied the core principles to a broader culinary palette, but still, I stopped short of the greatest taboos—meat and dairy. In 2000, I met Ann. She was looking for chefs to buy from local farmers. I was searching for a local farmer who would deliver to my Mt. Airy catering kitchen. That meeting led to many more
with me sitting in rooms full of Amish livestock farmers in Lancaster County. I had fallen in love with the idea of reviving the local food system, but I realized I couldn’t help them if my life and my business excluded meat and dairy. These pasture farmers were quietly passionate about their convictions—some even willing to break the law to supply customers hungry for quality raw milk and cultured milk products that they believed to be lifeand health-changing. They had transformed their fathers’ conventional livestock farms—cows in the barn and grain in the field—into pastured operations. They sold off the old cows bred for maximum production, planted fields with carefully designed grass combinations and brought in cows bred to thrive on pasture, calm and healthy animals untouched by the nightmare of industrial agriculture. It led me to re-examine my convictions and expand my thinking. I no longer believed meat and dairy were inherently destructive to human health, not when the animals are raised on pasture by farmers who care about their welfare. So began a gradual journey back to being a full-fledged meat-eater. Starting with raw milk, then the delicious monthly ritual of the lamb chop, and culminating last winter, when Ann and I spent that fascinating afternoon carving up the hogget. I can’t say we did a good job—it was grisly, but it was satisfying, and I will never again see those parts as separate from the whole, live animal. lindsay gilmour is a chef and healing foods educator. She owns Organic Planet Handcrafted Foods, is a board member of Fair Food and works on farmer outreach and product development for Common Market Philadelphia.
Each month, Dispatch features personal reflections on adventures in sustainability. Have a story you’d like to share? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
gridph i l ly.co m
F EB Rua ry 2014
illustration by Alex Ci a mbri ello
Love is for the birds
Migratory birds, that is.
Lisa Kiziuk Master of Environmental Studies ‘04, University of Pennsylvania To read more about how Lisa’s passion for conservation is helping to protect birds in the Philly area, visit www.upenn.edu/grid
In 2002, Lisa Kiziuk (MES ’04) fell in love. While pursuing Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies degree, Lisa embarked on a tropic field ecology course in Panama. The tropical bird sanctuary, Lisa says, “was unlike anything I’d ever seen. I alone logged 50 new species. I was astounded by the immense diversity of life and I knew I’d found my passion.” When Lisa returned to the U.S., her experience in Panama stayed with her. And it came into play when she joined the Willistown Conservation Trust, a historic land trust in Chester County, as stewardship manager in 2006. There, she suggested that the Trust build a bird banding station to help track migratory birds. It’s been the Trust’s most successful community engagement program. Almost every day in spring, summer, and fall, Lisa is up before sunrise and out until dark. As Director of the Bird Conservation Program, she shows flocks of volunteers how to gently handle and tag the songbirds and Saw-whet owls. Staff from Penn’s MES Program are here to answer your questions face-to-face on the second Wednesday of each month. Walk right in.
“I don’t get much sleep anymore, but I do feel tremendously fulfilled,” Lisa laughs. “I credit MES with giving me the freedom to develop my own program based on my passion and creativity — and to build that into my career.”