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Sustainable Philadelphia

take one!

The Eagles’ burst of energy Energy-saving tips for renters Mariposa on the move Winter greens fight winter blues jan 2011 / issue 22

Our city’s sewer system is in crisis. Fortunately, help is on the way. [ page 20 ]

Compost =

Recycling 2.0 When sent to a landfill, food scraps break down and produce methane,

a greenhouse gas 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its global warming strength. Recovering food waste and converting it into compost lowers our carbon footprint, creates rich, fertile soil, and supports the local economy.



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g rid ph illy.c o m J anuary 2011 / i ssue 22


When It Rains, It Pours

Stormwater management goes mainstream, with a big assist from the Philadelphia Water Department


6 8

Energy | Buy in bulk with Philly Buying Power, renewable energy for the Eagles, an Innovation Hub at the Navy Yard Green Living | Energy-s aving tips for renters, Recycling Challenge, your chance to influence Phase II of the Ped-Bike Plan

10 12

Agriculture | The Urban Tree Connection’s legal victory, PASA’s innovative matchmaking

Green Building | PHA’s triumph on Markoe Street, an ambitious renovation project for Yikes, Re:Vision goes California dreaming

c o ver il l u st rat io n by meli ssa mcfeeters



Local developers Onion Flats have water on the brain

Community | Arts for the area’s homeless, PhillyCar Share and the American Cancer Society’s patientfriendly partnership, sustainADELPHIA’s cleanup efforts and this year’s selection for One Book One Philadelphia



Food | Baby food with a local twist, Mariposa Co-op’s big move, Streamside Farm, Sly Fox Christmas Ale, Cheese of the Month, Marisa McClellan’s secrets for winter greens

28 29 30 31

Urban Naturalist | Our deer friends pose a problem Along for the Ride City planning on wheels Guest | Move your bike, save a tree

One on One | Michelangelo Pistoletto reflects on art, community and sustainability

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Events | Speakers, workshops and holiday happenings Dispatch Paper, paper everywhere

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Water Works


t’s thrilling to see the philadelphia water department taking aggressive, progressive action to solve the city’s stormwater woes. Faced with a system in crisis, they came up with “Green City, Clean Waters,” a solution that favors rain barrels, grassy sidewalks and tree pits over the construction of yet another massive tunnel. “The hardest thing to do is to reverse the trend of creating a concrete barrier to nature,” says Joanne Dahme, the Water Department’s general manager of public affairs. This is a triumph of good design. There are many in the green movement who believe good design will conquer all. The most eloquent advocate of this notion is William McDonough, author of the landmark book Cradle to Cradle. Solutions can be found, he contends, by examining production more holistically and fully accounting for a product’s “lifecycle.” What if the disposable pen I use to write were compostable when it runs out of ink? Or better yet, if it were able to take ink refills? Our society wouldn’t be burdened with the cost of hauling it to the landfill, and taxpayers would save money. More importantly, we would avoid the environmental repercussions— including the release of poisonous gases called dioxins—of incinerating the plastic. Approaching every aspect of how we live with this philosophy in mind is a fantastic way to unlock imagination and creativity. Campaigning against plastic bags in the grocery store is one thing; imagining a substitute for every piece of plastic lined up on their shelves is another. The missing link—the avenue to unleashing our creativity—is public policy. After all, it was an Environmental Protection Agency mandate that spurred the Philadelphia Water Department to develop this comprehensive, sustainable strategy. That’s how it works.

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Claire Connelly 215.625.9850 ext. 100 managing editor

Lee Stabert editorial assistant

Ariela Rose art director

Jamie Leary designer

Melissa McFeeters distribution

Claire Connelly 215.625.9850 ext. 100 copy editors

Andrew Bonazelli Patty Moran production artist

Lucas Hardison writers

Bernard Brown Samantha Drake Dana Henry Jacob Lambert Julie Lorch David Kanthor Marisa McClellan Ariela Rose Lee Stabert Char Vandermeer photographers

Creating public policy that transforms our cities is a tall task. You’d have to be quite the idealist to count on virtue and restraint—in business or as individuals—to save the day. It is policy that leads to change, which leads to imagination and, in this case, good design.

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Big Score

The Eagles will generate their own electricity by lee stabert


t’s not only the Birds’ offense that’s generating firepower. The Philadelphia Eagles have announced a plan to fuel Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of onsite wind and solar power, augmented by a dual-fuel cogeneration plant, a small onsite power plant run on biodiesel and natural gas that captures its own heat for increased efficiency. It will be the world’s first major sports stadium to convert completely to self-generated renewable energy. The team has contracted with SolarBlue (Orlando, FL), a renewable energy and energy conservation company, to install approximately 80 20-foot spiral-shaped wind turbines on the top rim of the stadium, affix 2,500 solar panels on the stadium’s façade and build the 7.6 megawatt onsite dual-fuel cogeneration plant. The transition should save the Eagles $60 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. Over that same time period, they estimate onsite energy sources at

Lincoln Financial Field will provide 1.039 billion kilowatt hours of electricity—more than enough to supply the stadium’s needs—enabling them to sell the excess back to the local grid. By using renewable energy, the team will eliminate CO2 emissions equivalent to 500,000 barrels of oil or 24 million gallons of gasoline annually. That equates to removing 41,000 cars from the road per year. 

Power Up

Energy Innovation


he U.S. Department of Energy has promised $122 million for a new “Energy Innovation Hub” at the Navy Yard. United Technologies and Penn State University will partner to administer the project. The area will function as a living laboratory for developing, integrating and testing energy-efficient building systems. The Navy Yard is an ideal site for this kind of innovation—home to over 200 buildings, the area operates


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as an independent electric microgrid known as a “virtual municipality.” The Energy Innovation Hub is a key step towards establishing the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC), a consortium of public and private organizations focused on energy efficiency and workforce development.

at the Navy Yard

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For more, visit



Let’s Make a Deal Philly Buying Power empowers small businesses by dana henry


he upcoming expiration of PECO’s rate caps on electricity (happening January 1, 2011, in case you forgot) is a mixed bag. On one hand, we can expect PECO’s rates to go up. On the other hand, now that PECO’s rates will no longer be artificially low, suppliers can compete for our business, ending PECO’s longstanding monopoly. While PECO will remain our local distributor, Pennsylvania’s Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act of 1996 gives us, the consumers, the right to choose from over 150 licensed Pennsylvania electricity suppliers. So, how can businesses manage that choice? Enter Philly Buying Power (PBP). An initiative created by Mayor Nutter, PBP launched on October 27, 2010. The program is

+ added incentive When Taylor launched a similar program, Boston Buying Power, back in 2008, they were able to aggregate enough businesses to demand alternative energy sources from suppliers. Their green energy supply went from zero to 20 percent, making BBP a substantial national green energy supplier. Looking forward, Booth has full confidence Philly can replicate this success.

managed by Taylor Consulting and Contracting, and aims to ease the burden of utility spikes on the Philadelphia business community. While large corporations with massive energy demands will, no doubt, benefit from wholesale supplier competition, small and medium-sized businesses are likely to be excluded. Their energy demands simply aren’t large enough to warrant competitive prices. With PBP, business can be aggregated, creating the industrial-sized energy demand that results in lower rates. A lone pizza shop might not be able to do much bidding, but, if all the pizza shops in Philadelphia combine their “buying power,” they suddenly become as powerful as Papa John’s. “We go to Costco and Sam’s Club because we know that buying in bulk gives us a better price per unit,” explains Chris Booth, vice president of PBP. “Why not apply that same concept to our commodities?” 

“The principle of sustainability is reshaping the way we think about the world, encouraging us to improve the way we design, build and live in the 21st century” — Rob Fleming, Program Director

Become proficient in Green Building Materials, Energy Efficiency, Construction Systems and Sustainable Design

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Green living

Install (or ask your landlord to install) a programmable thermostat.

by samantha wittchen

Instead of having to remember to lower the temperature before bed or when you leave the house for work each day, let your thermostat do the heavy lifting for you. If your landlord won’t spring for it, you can purchase a programmable model yourself for as little as $25. You’ll save one percent of your heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat over an eight-hour period. For example, if you program your thermostat to lower the temperature by five degrees when you head out for work, you can save five percent of your heating costs. And while you’re at it, consider turning down the temperature a degree or two while you’re home—channel Jimmy Carter and put on a sweater. A properly programmed thermostat can save you $150 per year.

Turn down the temperature on your water heater. If you have access to your water heater, check the temperature setting. For most people, setting the water heater to 120˚F is sufficient to be toasty warm in the shower. Many water heaters are set to 130 - 140˚F by default, and you can save 3 to 5 percent on energy costs for every 10 degrees you reduce the temperature. Side benefit: You reduce the risk of scalding yourself.

Replace your lightbulbs and leave your lights ON. If you haven’t already taken advantage of PECO’s low-cost CFLs—available at retailers all over the city—get thee to a hardware store! According to, swapping out the energy-guzzling incandescents in your five most frequently used lighting fixtures can net you $65 in annual savings. Once you’ve replaced those bulbs, leave the lights on if you’re leaving a room for only a short period of time. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), “Fluorescent lights are more expensive to buy, and their operating life is more affected by the number of times they are switched on and off, relative to incandescent lights. Therefore, it is a cost trade-off between saving energy and money by turning a light off frequently and having to replace the bulbs more frequently.” The DOE says that the general rule-of-thumb is that you should turn off a fluorescent light if you plan on leaving the room for more than 15 minutes.


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Use windows and window coverings to your advantage. Install a lowflow showerhead. By using a low-flow showerhead instead of a regular showerhead, you can achieve up to 60 percent water savings. That means you’ll be using less hot water, which equates to less energy used for water heating. And the great thing is that you can take the showerhead with you when you move to a new place. (Just make sure to re-install the old one before you go.) Side benefit: You’ll also lower your water bill.

In the winter, use the warming effects of the sun to your advantage by opening up the curtains on windows that receive direct sunlight during the day. Then make sure you close them up again at night (leave them closed during the day on windows that don’t receive sunlight). According to the DOE, “most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent.” Lined drapes will be most effective. For a little extra reinforcement, install plastic window films to your windows during the colder months to cut down on the amount of air leakage through your windows and window frames.

by samantha wittchen

Rearrange your furniture. Clear your heat registers and radiators of any furniture that might obstruct the flow of hot air into your rooms. You can also make your own heat-resistant reflectors to place between radiators and walls so you’re not wasting energy by heating the wall—or, as is the case in many Philly properties, losing heat through un-insulated exterior walls. All you need to do is get some thin wood board from any home improvement store, cover it with reflective bubble insulation (also available at home improvement stores) and anchor it to the wall behind the radiator.

Metal clothes hangers billion metal hangers, the equivalent of fact 3.5 200 million pounds of steel, are used each

year by the dry cleaning industry alone.

Metal (or wire) hangers are the scourge of the recycling industry. In addition to the low percentage of steel reclaimed per hanger, they can catch on recycling equipment and cause jams and damage. Most curbside recycling programs, including Philadelphia’s, do not accept wire hangers.


Save your wire hangers and take them back to your dry cleaner. Since the price of wire hangers imported from China doubled in April 2008, your dry cleaner may even thank you for saving him a few bucks. If your dry cleaner isn’t interested in them, chances are that there’s another dry cleaner in the area that will be. Liberty Cleaners (606 N. 2nd Street, 267-639-3978) even posts a sign on their front window inviting people to return wire hangers to them. Added bonus: Liberty Cleaners is also an ecofriendly dry cleaner!


last month’s recycling challenge gave you tips for dealing

with sports equipment—including those sad, slightly deflated tennis balls. Now, thanks to a tip from a reader (Julee Wenhold Kerr), we’ve got another idea: Philadelphia’s Animal Care and Control Shelter ( is always in desperate need of tennis balls. They help entertain dogs while they’re in their crates.

Invest in a smart power strip. According to, consumer electronics account for 15 percent of all household energy use. Many of these electronics continue to use energy even when they’re turned off. Smart power strips eliminate this “phantom” power consumption. While they’re usually a little pricier than a normal power strip ($32 on Amazon), if you have lots of electronic gadgetry, it can pay for itself in as little as six weeks through energy savings. You can expect somewhere between $2 to $6 in savings per month, depending on your usage.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan: Phase II Input from Philadelphia citizens—through completed surveys and community meetings—played a major role in developing Phase I of Philadelphia’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan (released in October). The plan detailed recommendations and strategies for creating a more pedestrian and bike-friendly Philadelphia. Public support is now needed to complete Phase II, covering the Southwest, West, Olney/Oak Lane, Northeast and River Wards sections of the city. To fill out the survey, visit

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Agriculture before

Land Grab

Urban Tree Connection scores a major legal victory by Ariela Rose


he Polselli lot at 53rd and Wyalusing in the Haddington section of West Philadelphia was a dangerous eyesore. Equipment from the owner’s contracting business, stripped cars and barrels of gasoline sat nestled in the overgrown weeds. Five years ago, the Urban Tree Connection (UTC) decided they wanted to transform the land into a farm. Unfortunately, the group had no ownership rights on the property. “We couldn’t prove to the city that we could gain control of the ownership of that parcel,” explains Skip Wiener, founder and executive director of UTC. “They didn’t want to dump in unending amounts of money, because somebody else could walk in and buy it up.” Hope for legal control of the lot was put on the back burner and, a year and half ago, UTC— with help from local volunteers—began work on the lot. This past summer, the group ran youth


farming programs on the site and harvested 40 to 100 pounds of vegetables every week. All the while, UTC’s lawyer Joel Tasca collected signatures; on July 8, 2010, he submitted a petition for conservatorship. The hearing was held on October 12, and UTC was granted legal control of the lot under the Pennsylvania Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act. Effective since early 2009, the act was created to allow nonprofits to revitalize abandoned buildings. Enacting it to create an urban farm was a revolutionary move. “The conservator has the right to take possession and control of the property,” says Tasca. “For UTC’s purposes, that is really what we wanted.” Using legal means to secure a vacant lot was a transformative

experience for the nonprofit. For 20 years, Wiener and his team have practiced guerrilla gardening, scooping up abandoned properties in North and West Philadelphia and transforming them into green spaces. Wiener acknowledges that the victory raises questions about UTC’s methods going forward: “So, the issue then becomes— because of our victory in being appointed conservator—should we use the same techniques, or look at other techniques, or combine a series of techniques to gain control of this entire system? To control all the land?” For now, the plan is to expand the amount of food grown on the Polselli lot. From there, the community will decide how and where the food is distributed, with ideas ranging from organizing a low-cost CSA to selling goods at local farmers’ markets. 

Meet Your

Marilyn Anthony, Southeast Regional Director for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), describes the agricultural organization’s new land sharing program “Farming Futures” as “a blend of eBay and eHarmony.” Initially focused on the state’s Southeast region, the program will use a website to connect new or expanding farmers with land trusts and private landowners. The goal is to assist aspiring sustainable growers by matching them with underutilized land—and the people who control it. PASA, and program partner Farmlink, will begin selecting participants this month and hope to have a resulting farm up and running in 2011. The finished site should launch sometime next year.



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he Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects has awarded the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s rehab project on the 800 block of Markoe Street a 2010 Design Excellence Award. Local architecture firm Jibe Design began work on the West Philly homes after winning PHA’s Sustainable Housing Competition in July of 2008. The project, a combination of refurbished homes and new construction on vacant lots, is slated for completion early next year. Features include exposed brick walls, solar panels, high-efficiency HVAC units and EnergyStar appliances. pha.phila. gov/index.html,

California Dreaming Re:Vision Architecture, the local sustainable design firm responsible for the Fair Food Farmstand and the PECO building’s green roof, recently opened a second location in Berkeley, CA. The move represents an opportunity to share sustainable design ideas between the East and West coasts. “Philadelphia is a bit more progressive with rainwater capture than California,” says Alex Vondeling, a Re:Vision Associate who will manage the new office. “Re:Vision has done so many projects with rainwater in Philadelphia that we can use as models for California.” The company also looks forward to decreasing its carbon footprint by reducing the need for associates to travel from Philadelphia for opposite-coast projects. —Ariela Rose For more information visit, or call 215-482-1133.

Site Design Yikes has always been a triple-bottom line business—people, profit, planet—so, when the opportunity arose to make their office space as green as their ethos, they acted. A certified B Corporation and SBN member, the web design company has been in their current rental space in Northern Liberties for eight years and decided it was time to buy. Owners


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Mia and Tracy Levesque focused their hunt in the Northeast neighborhoods (NoLibs, Fishtown, Kensington) and Bella Vista. Eventually they stumbled across a pair of vacant, blighted buildings on Girard Avenue (across from Johnny Brenda’s). “I just loved them right away,” says Tracy. YIKES received input from local design firm Onion

Flats, and has enlisted Brendan Jones of Greensaw Design & Build to tackle the ambitious project—they are aiming to have the nation’s first LEED Platinumcertified rehab. Construction should be complete in July 2011. —Lee Stabert

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Open Studio I

t’s temp ting to lump Art Street Textile Studio in with the current wave of DIY, sustainably-minded manufacturing. Handmade goods are produced using donated and repurposed fabrics, and you can see local flavor in the colorful array of hand-knit scarves, tapestries and holiday ornaments. But there’s something else going on here: At this community workspace, most of the faithful weavers aren’t graduates of esteemed art colleges or locals that grew up in the textile trade—they’re residents of the city’s homeless shelters. The studio began as Finding Home, a woven mural at 13th and Ludlow organized by Mural Arts that engaged hundreds of homeless in the weaving process. It has since been continued in shelters, libraries and parks. In September 2010, founders and seasoned textile artists, Kathryn Pannepacker and Leslie Sudock, moved the project to a rent-free space on South Street as part of the Arts on South revitalization program. They host $1 drop-in sessions, offering participants the opportunity to take informal lessons 14

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Offering an outlet for the city’s underserved by dana henry

and produce goods. Those pieces are then are sold, with a 50/50 profit split. One active member, Rob, a Ridge Avenue Shelter resident, stays throughout open hours, making coffee, assisting with cleaning, demonstrating how to use a loom and advancing his craft. While expanding their outreach in local shelters, Pannepacker and Sudock are discovering the vital connection between citizens and businesses—they offer their goods for purchase to local stores, places of faith and socially-minded organizations. “Selling a scarf here and there is great,” says Pannepacker. “But there’s got to be a greater match between folks that don’t have work and need work—and can learn a skill— and individuals, families, communities and businesses that can make a difference in a concrete way.”  Arts Street Textile Studio (626 South St.) is open 3 – 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers. To get involved, contact Kathryn Pannepacker (Kpannepacker@ and Leslie Sudock (



his January, PhillyCarShare and the American Cancer Society will launch PhillyPatientRide, a program dedicated to providing cancer patients with free transportation to treatments. Healthcare professionals at Thomas Jefferson, Temple University, Hahnemann University and the University of Pennsylvania hospitals will identify patients in need and match them with interested volunteers (ages 21 and older). A trial phase, funded by the American Cancer Society and participating hospitals, will run until February 25. The goal is to recruit 100 volunteers and serve 360 patients. “We envision it as a way for our vehicles to be used in a new way,” says Gerald Furgione, Executive Director of PhillyCarShare. “We can use car sharing to reach those who are ill and have a need for transportation.” —Ariela Rose For information, contact the American Cancer Society’s Jamie McCann at

South Side Story Greening the city, one piece of trash at a time by char vandermeer


e’ve all carped about the litter cluttering our neighborhoods’ streets—even catching litterbugs in the act and voicing disapproval. For Matt Migliore and Brooke Allen, it got to be too much. They could no longer see past the tossed tissues and discarded Doritos bags. “We were always walking around the city and seeing trash on the streets and in the parks,” recalls Migliore. “Clean-ups seemed like a good idea.” In 2008, the duo launched sustainADELPHIA, tackling Philly’s litter-strewn streets “sustainADELPHIA is a broad umbrella that will allow us to get involved in a variety of things, but right now our focus is the clean-ups,” says Migliore. “Building Blox is the first project we’re focusing on. It aims to clean up the streets of our fair city, one block at a time,” Residents of Queen Village, the pair became heavily involved in converting an empty lot at 6th and Christian into Triangle Park. Although the lot is privately owned, they hope it will eventually be turned over to the city. They then followed the litter trail southward into Pennsport and Whitman. Working closely with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, the Southeast

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Big green earth Store Philadelphia Collaborative, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and City Year, sustainADELPHIA schedules frequent clean-up days and has developed active support groups for the Herron Playground and Mifflin Square Park. Their vision extends beyond the parks themselves to the parks’ role in their communities. “We’re trying to work with the Cambodian Association,” says Migliore. “We want to bridge the gap between your traditional South Philly community and the Cambodian population— and other Southeast Asians who live around the park—to work together as a team.” 

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ar Dances, the latest collection from writer Sherman Alexie, is a magnificent hodgepodge. It is also the latest selection for the Free Library’s One Book One Philadelphia Project—a citywide book club. In this deceptively thin volume, short stories, poetry and even a bullet-point list (crafted to leave you quaking with laughter and emotion all at once) rub up against each other, offering meditations on themes as diverse as the writer’s narrative structures. Alexie is Native American, and that cultural identity is often a jumping-off point for parsing class, race, sexuality, marriage, attraction, violence, politics authenticity, parenthood and even the Proustian effects of John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. The Washington State native (Seattle via Spokane) has a literary voice that is never pretentious, occasionally heartbreaking and often hilarious— sometimes within the course of the same sentence. He is also intensely readable; gobble War Dances in one sitting or nip at it sparingly, letting its understated truth linger. —Lee Stabert

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Baby Boom Now even your littlest can eat local by ariela rose Healthy Bites, the Graduate Hospital market and café, now offers nourishing nibbles for little ones. The shop’s new line of baby food is made from locally-grown and organic ingredients, and available in three “stages” designed for your baby’s specific age and nutritional needs. Stage one selections include sweet potatoes and roasted apples, while stage two incorporates foods with more texture, such as quinoa, carrots and kale. In stage three, proteins like chicken and turkey are added. If you’re not tempted by Healthy Bites’ pre-made selections—or if your family avoids eating meat—feel free to use the customizing option and create your own mixes from three to four ingredients. $1.99 - $2.49, 2521 Christian St., 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sat. & Sun., 215-259-TOGO,

Baby Bites

Bust a Move M

Mariposa Co-op is hard at work on an expanded space by ariela rose

ariposa Co-op grew out of buying clubs that flourished in the 1970s. In the early ’80s, several groups merged, opening a storefront at 4726 Baltimore Avenue. The co-op has come a long way since then: currently 1,000 members strong, MariLeah Margerum started posa has outgrown its original space. Now, her baby food company to help busy parents feed with help from members—and a Commutheir young children healthy nity Design Collaborative grant—the co-op options with ease. The serhas finally secured a new home. vice offers four stages of At 5,500 square feet, the new space is carefully-prepared cuisine five times larger than Mariposa’s curfor infants to school-age children: single purees, puree combos, rent digs. Originally home to the Belmont textured combos and healthy kids. Local Trust Company, a bank established in the and organic ingredients are used whenever 1920s, the building boasts beautiful period possible, and cold weather offerings include details, including front columns. More rea single puree of locally-grown pumpkin, a cently, the building combo of organic beets and sweet potatoes, and a “crazy chicken” dish housed the Beulah featuring local free-range chicken, Tabernacle Church; squash, apples and cinnamon. All they sold to Mariposa of This Little Piggy’s offerings are this past spring. The enpackaged in corn starch-based tire expansion (including containers that are biodegradable On November 12, and compostable. You can purchase renovation and design) The White Dog Cafe online, and their delivery service is will cost $2.25 million. available throughout the Greater opened their first The store is slated for a Lancaster Area. satellite location. July 2011 opening. $1.50 - $4, 717-330-4101, Located on West “In terms of our Lancaster Avenue bership, I feel like we’ve in Wayne, the new had a really broad buyincarnation will conin,” says Esteban Kelly, tinue the West Philly Mariposa’s Education staple’s commitment and Development Coorto locally-sourced, seasonal fare. dinator. “Even though our average member White Dog Cafe, isn’t particularly wealthy, 200 West Lancaster Ave., people have been able to Wayne, 610-225-3700, either make small; reservations available tions or raise their eqthrough uity and invest a little bit more.”

Money raised from members will go towards design elements created in partnership with Re:Vision Architecture. Timed spot lighting, high-efficiency refrigeration and a community classroom area will all be implemented in the first of three renovation phases.

This Little Piggy

Old Dog, New Tricks


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The co-op is also repurposing materials from the renovation process, incorporating them into a fresh design. And, according to Bull Gervasi, Mariposa’s store and project manager, they eventually plan to plant a rooftop garden. The new space will offer 2,500 square feet of retail space and allow the co-op to expand partnerships with local businesses and farms. Non-members will also be invited to shop. “Our duty to the co-op, as members, has been to take what we’ve inherited and improve upon it,” explains Kelly. “Now we’re creating this store that’s going to be a proper store— and be much more widely accessible—and have an impact on what would otherwise be a food desert.” ■


Mariposa is moving from 4726 Baltimore Ave. to 4824 Baltimore Ave. To learn more about the move and fundraising events, call 215-729-2121 or visit

On Tap

Sly Fox Christmas Ale Sly Fox Brewing Company recently released their annual Christmas Ale. A mild brew with delightfully understated notes of ginger, clove, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg, this red ale has a beautiful rich color— a perfect pairing for your table’s seasonal fare. Malty and just the slightest bit sour, this yearly tradition from the Phoenixville brewer is available in 750 ml. bottles, sixtels and half-kegs (if you’re really looking to liven up that party).

cheese of the month

Keswick Creamery Quark by tenaya darlington,

Farm Profile

Streamside Farm at Elkins Estate


treamside Farm at Elkins Estate is run by Meei Ling Ng and her husband Larry Shaeffer. The couple fell in love with the property’s close proximity to Center City, as well as its sprawling mansions and dark, fertile soil. They were first introduced to urban agriculture in the community garden at Broad and South Streets. “That’s where we learned not only how to grow vegetables, but how to mix with the community,” says Ng. Ng and Shaeffer started the farm in March, and throughout the summer they grew neat rows of corn, stalks of beans and a rainbow of wild flowers. These days, beds of winter greens and an herb-filled hothouse occupy the farmers’ time. Once harvested, produce is washed and packed in an estate building located steps away from the farm. The bounty is sold at the Creekside Co-op Farmers’ Market and Weavers Way Ogontz, both located within one mile.

Salad greens are also used by nearby Under the Oak Café and wellness retreats hosted on the Estate. “We think this is a place that can really reach its potential because of the proximity to its markets,” explains Shaeffer. Elkins Park community volunteers frequent the farm and assist with weeding, planting and selling goods at the farmers’ market. Interested parties are invited to tour the farm, and an educational series on Japanese flower arrangement was hosted this past summer. “The main thing is that people in the community really support us,” says Ng. “That’s why they line up at my table at the farmers’ market; because they know where the produce came from.” —Ariela Rose 1750 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park,

If you like baking with cream cheese, you should know about quark. Chances are you haven’t heard of it—unless you have relatives in Germany or Poland—and that’s a shame, because quark is more plush than most soft cheeses, and it has the added benefit of being cultured, like yogurt, and packed with probiotic enzymes. I learned about quark as a teen when I studied abroad in Germany (my host family ate it on toast for breakfast). Recently, while eyeing the cheeses at the Fair Food Farmstand, I spied local quark! Oh, and it is divine. “Our quark is very simple: milk, culture and salt,” says Melanie Dietrich Cochran of Keswick Creamery (Newburg, PA). “We use a traditional rennet-free recipe. First we pasteurize, then culture the quark. It cultures overnight for 12 hours. Then we ‘break’ the curd and add salt. The quark then drains for another 12 hours. Since we culture it for two days, it’s lactosefree and naturally tangy.” “Our quark can substitute for cream cheese in any dessert recipe,” adds Cochran. She uses it to make pumpkin cheesecake and also recommends eating it on toast with strawberry jam. Me? I love it for breakfast on hearty bread with prune butter, just the way I enjoyed it in Munich so many years ago. Keswick Creamery, 114 Lesher Rd., Newburg, 717440-4625, jan uary 20 11

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Seeing J Green

anuary is the month for fresh starts. Some people decide to lose weight, others to quit smoking or recycle more. In my house, we’ve decided to be diligent about eating our greens. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are three recipes I’ve designed to help all of us play Popeye in delicious ways.

Eating winter greens has never been easier

by marisa mcclellan,

White Bean Soup with Ham and Chard 2 cups white beans, soaked overnight (I use large cannellini beans, but any white bean will work) 4 quarts water 8 cloves garlic 1 tsp. diced rosemary (dried or fresh) 1 lb. of swiss chard 1 lb. cubed ham salt and pepper to taste

˜˜The night before making this soup, put the beans in a large bowl and cover with eight cups of water. The next day, when you’re ready to start 18

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Start with a white bean and chard soup that is meaty and filling enough to satisfy the bellies of even the hungriest households. Skip the ham and the dish becomes vegan. (In that case, I’d suggest adding a bit more sea salt and maybe some tiny cooked pasta to help bulk up the flavors). Next up is a more modern take on the classic collard preparation. This one uses a bit of bacon in place of the traditional ham hock and cooks

cooking, drain the beans and put them in a large soup pot. Add four quarts of fresh water, five peeled whole garlic cloves and the rosemary. ˜˜Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer the beans until soft. This will take between one and two hours, depending on the size of your beans. ˜˜While the beans cook, clean the chard, remove the crunchy stems, cut the leaves in half lengthwise and slice them into thin ribbons. Mince the remaining three cloves of garlic. ˜˜When the beans are soft, increase the heat until the soup is simmering vigorously. Heap the chard ribbons into the pot and stir them into the broth. Add the minced garlic.

for just under 30 minutes. These would be incredible alongside a scoop of cheesy grits. Last up is colcannon, a tempting combination of sautéed leeks and kale, stirred into mashed potatoes. This dish is brilliant because it makes greens appealing to even the most reluctant vegetable eater. Truly, who can resist a helping of mashers? ■


˜˜While the greens cook down, brown the ham cubes in a skillet. When they’ve rendered their fat, use a slotted spoon to add them to the soup. ˜˜Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve with crusty bread.

Colcannon 2

Collard Greens with White Wine, Garlic and Bacon lb. of bacon, cut into small pieces lb. of collard greens cup white wine 1 cup water 3 cloves garlic, minced pepper 1

˜˜Wash the collard greens. Slice out the hard stem, cut the leaves in half lengthwise and then slice into finger-width ribbons. Set aside. ˜˜Heat a four quart skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered out and the bacon bits have started to crisp. ˜˜Add the collards and toss with the cooking bacon, coating the greens with the bacon fat. Add the white wine, water and garlic. Put a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. ˜˜Cook covered for 15 minutes, until the greens have turned from vivid green to something more muted. Remove lid and cook for another seven to eight minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce a bit. ˜˜Season the greens with three to four grinds of a pepper grinder and taste. The bacon should have lent the greens plenty of saltiness, but feel free to add a couple pinches, if necessary.

lbs. Yukon gold or red potatoes 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 leeks 1 lb. kale (any variety works) 4 tbsp. butter cup milk 1 tsp. salt 5-6 grinds of pepper

˜˜Cut the potatoes into uniform pieces and boil until soft. ˜˜While the potatoes cook, halve and clean the leeks. Cut into slim half moons. Wash kale and chop into inch-wide ribbons. ˜˜Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and leeks. Let leeks brown for two to three minutes and then add kale. Cook until the kale is thoroughly wilted.

˜˜When potatoes are soft, drain and return them to the pot. Add butter and milk, and roughly mash. Add the cooked kale-and-leek combo, as well as the salt and pepper. Stir to combine. ˜˜Taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

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When It Rains, It Pours Stormwater management is one of our city’s most pressing challenges, and change is on the way by jacob lambert

2 0 photo gr idp h by il ly.c lucas o m h ja ard n ua is on ry 2 0 1 1

up the creek

On a cold and wet December day, the combined sewer outfall in Morris Park near Lebanon Ave. and 68th St. flows into Cobbs Creek.

In Philadelphia,

there is nothing as cleansing as a good rain. In the moments after a storm, the city feels renewed: trees drip, skies clear and birds reemerge. Dirt, soot and trash have been swiftly swept away. The concrete and pavement feel, if not exactly new, at least a little fresher. Unfortunately, this temporary idyll masks an unseen crisis: washing the city clean incurs a steep environmental cost.

Two-thirds of Philadelphia—from East Germantown to South Philadelphia and most parts in between—sits above a Combined Sewer System, in which precipitation and wastewater run into a single pipe. (The remainder uses a Separate System, keeping the liquids apart.) In dry times, combined sewers do not pose a problem: Emptied tubs and toilet flushes flow to one of three treatment plants across the city. But, when it rains, water cascades off roofs and lots into dirty streets, picking up pollutants before dropping into inlets and mixing with civic waste. [4] january 20 11

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Houses will sprout green roofs and rain gardens. Downspouts will run into barrels; grassy sidewalk bump-outs and speciallydesigned tree pits will also capture water. Roads will be paved with permeable surfaces; idle lots will be transformed into pocket parks and gardens.

“That’s the way these systems were designed; that’s the way our city was designed,” says Howard Neukrug, director of the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Office of Watersheds. Older cities such as Philadelphia, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. cope with the fact that during heavy rain, this outdated design causes overflow into rivers and streams. “Our system was not built to hold back all the rainfall,” adds Neukrug. In 164 spots along five waterways—the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, as well as the Cobbs, Tacony-Frankford, and lower Pennypack Creeks—Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSOs) act as discharge valves. On sunny days, these outfall pipes have nothing to expel. But during storms, they siphon the city’s murky soup straight into the water, rendering freshwater bodies decidedly less fresh. “Stormwater significantly affects water quality, since it carries contaminants from impervious surfaces and lawns into Gathering streams and rivers,” reads a Water Departstorm ment document. “Though there is more Rain barrels water in the streams and rivers during and planters storms, there are more contaminants as installed near Cobbs Creek well. As stream flow increases… bacteria levels and turbidity rise dramatically.” Other consequences include erosion, flooding and loss of habitat. “Our rivers and streams have come a long way,” says Joanne Dahme, PWD’s general manager of public affairs. “But now, for the remaining incremental improve-


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ments, we need to get a better handle on how we deal with stormwater.” This need has long been recognized. In 1997, to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency-mandated 85 percent decrease in CSO outflow, the department submitted a long-term plan proposing myriad improvements, with special attention given to area watersheds. “The development of these plans further clarified our need to come up with a greener, more holistic strategy,” says Dahme. In 2007, that strategy emerged as the “Green City, Clean Waters” program. At a September event in Washington, D.C., Mayor Michael Nutter called the new approach “bold and game-changing.” That description was not mere political hyperbole. The size and intractability of Philadelphia’s current problem—after all, half of the city can’t replace its pipes—demands an equal response. Neukrug’s office, along with the EPA and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, has willingly shouldered the burden. “[Cities have] spent the last 50 to 75 years trying to prevent all that overflow into our rivers and streams,”

ph otos by Barry Lewi s (Gree nTre ks )


d r y w e at h e r

w e t w e at h e r

rundown: How Does A Combined Sewer System Work? Based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Report to Congress: Impacts and Control of CSOs and SSOs.”

says Neukrug, who holds Down Storm degrees in Civil and Urban spout drain Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. “We started to do that by building more and more infrastructure over our old infrastructure”—akin to unDam clogging an artery by grafting a new one around it. In Neukrug’s view, such remOutfall edies are impractical; fresh pipe to tactics must be devised. river “We’re at a crossroads,” he Sewage says. from domestic, A conventional fix would Sewage commercial entail, in Neukrug’s words, to treatment and industrial facility sources “an $8 billion sewer so big that we’d call it a tunnel, running for miles up and down the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.” Conversely, Green City, Clean Waters aims to keep water out of inlets in the first place. In his September address, Nutter described a city in which “[infrastructure] will keep stormwater out of our system by recreating the natural systems that centuries of urbanization have degraded.” Under the program’s “Green Homes” arm, houses will sprout green roofs and rain gardens. Downspouts will run into barrels; grassy sidewalk bump-outs and speciallydesigned tree pits will also capture water. With “Green Streets,” roads will be paved with permeable surfaces; idle lots will be transformed into pocket parks and gardens. Other lots will be pitched towards “bioswales”—lushly absorbent spaces along their outer edges. If the 25-year plan succeeds as envisioned, Philadelphia will become a very different place. “For folks at the Water Department, this is the harder road to go down,” explains Dahme. “The easiest thing to do is to build the tunnel. The hardest thing to do is to reverse the trend of creating a concrete barrier to nature, bringing us back to a place where water is valued, rather than wasted.” This can be a stubborn city—there is resistance to new methods and trends are tough to reverse. And though Green City, Clean Waters will cost $2 billion (some of which may be offset by various grants and loans) to the alternative’s $8 billion or more, it has nonetheless inspired skeptics. The bulk of opposition comes from Philadelphia’s business community, who balk at a change in the assessment of monthly stormwater fees. For a long time, rates were determined by the amount of water used by each property—a fairly irrational system. As the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in October, “There’s no obvious connection between i llustr at i o n by m e l i s s a m c fe ete r s

Down spout

Storm drain


Outfall pipe to river

Sewage to treatment facility

Sewage from domestic, commercial and industrial sources

how much water you consume and how much rainwater your property dumps into the city’s storm sewers, creeks and rivers.” In July, PWD began to implement a system in which fees are based on, well, how much rainwater a property dumps into sewers, creeks and rivers. While the rates for many businesses will drop, some will see an increase—and though the outcome is revenue-neutral, some are crying foul. “They want me to pay $50,000 a year for God’s water to go from my roof into the sewer,” a Hunting Park manufacturer told the Inquirer. That’s not entirely accurate: PWD would prefer to keep that water out of the sewer entirely. To that end, free consulting is being offered to businesses through “Green City, Clean Waters,” hoping to reduce both outflows and fees. In Philadelphia, carping about utilities is a time-honored municipal birthright, making it hard for some to see the upside to new regulations. In October 2009, Philadelphia Weekly made “Green City, Clean Waters” seem superfluous, guessing that, “If the PWD were to ask the city’s working class how to spend $1.6 billion [the project’s then-estimated 20-year cost], they would probably call for jobs and tax relief instead of green streets.” jan uary 20 11

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waterpressure Pennypack Park

95 1

Tacony Creek Park

1 611



Fairmount Park

76 Cobbs Creek Park

■ Combined Sewer Area

Outfall location


Based on the CSOcast interactive map, available online at The online map monitors water levels and updates overflows regularly.


That’s probably true, but the fact remains that the department is driven by federal mandate, not a hankering to seem “green.” Indeed, PW conceded that “Philadelphia’s sewers desperately need attention, but the only other way to address the problem is to completely overhaul the system… That would cost the city $19.6 billion—a hefty price tag that makes the ‘Green City, Clean Waters’ proposal seem like a bargain in comparison.” That bargain will be supplemented by value added to affected neighborhoods. West Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek section is the first to reap the benefits. “We’ve focused on these three blocks because [homeowners] had an interest in piloting the ‘Green Streets’ program,” explains Program Coordinator Tiffany Ledesma Groll as she walks along Spruce Street’s 6100 block. Though technical conflicts prevented the installation of “stormwater trees” and sidewalk bump-outs, the area won approval to act as the “Green Homes” guinea pig. In conjunction with Rebuilding Together Philadelphia and the Darby-Cobbs Watershed Partnership, the Water Department began work on a cold November day. Three blocks of Spruce Street were closed off as over 100 volunteers installed 19 flow-through planters, 12 rain barrels and a front-yard rain garden. Mayor Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and State Senator Anthony Williams were on hand; there was music, food and a strong sense of community. “It was important that [Nutter, Blackwell and Williams] were able to see what’s possible for Philadelphia,” says Ledesma Groll. “Nobody’s ever done this before.” The results were subtle, but encouraging. Walking around the area, you see little obvious evidence of an integrated stormwater plan at work. It looks like your typical West Philly neighborhood—there are flaking wrought-iron gates, hand-painted house numbers and wide, low porches. 24

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But then, tucked beside a home, you spot a flow-through planter—a large wooden box filled with sand, soil and plants. A downspout runs into it, keeping that house’s rainwater from sewers and Cobbs Creek, a quarter-mile to the west. A little farther down, you notice another planter, and then another. Then you spy a rain barrel and a rain garden, just How will waiting for a storm. stormwater When you really look for change, it’s billing everywhere. The scene lacks the pixilated 611 sheen of an architectural rendering; it’s acaffect your tual people in actual homes doing their business? actual part, free of ostentation. They’ve Visit the Philadelphia engaged in a quiet solution that inspires 95 Water Department’s genuine pride. (PWD) website at: Julia Chinn, 82, is president of the Concerned Block Captains of West and Stormwater_Billing.html Southwest Philadelphia and a 54-year Spruce Here you will find anStreet resident. She helped initiate Water Department disswers to the questions: cussions, and is pleased with the outcome. “People driving through have actually gotten out and asked me, ‘What are ✔✔ What is stormwater the boxes?’ and, ‘What are the barrels?’ and, ‘How do we management? get them?’” she says. “We think that this has made a really ✔✔ Why am I being billed? big impact on this particular community.” ✔✔ How are charges Chinn remembers when Cobbs Creek was a haven for calculated? local residents. “Our children used to bring home guppies; ✔✔ Where can I find the water was very clean and very clear,” she recalls. “Then, more information? seemingly over a period of time, this reversed—the stream became dirty and unkempt. Once we get a handle on the Follow the “Need to speak with someone?” situation, we’re going to see a great difference.” arrow to send an email Resident Karen Gordon received one of the planters. As request for PWD’s free with Chinn, the program’s value goes far beyond stormstormwater consulting water management. “The houses that got it are very satisservice. The service is fied,” she says. “And to me, it brings out the neighborhood available to any business, large or small, a little bit, and makes [residents] concerned, because it’s interested in exploring something new. And once the people [who didn’t particistormwater managepate] saw the boxes, that really brought them out.” She ment options. hopes the program expands to similar parts of the city. From there, explore “For boxes going into other inner-city neighborhoods, I the new Stormwater Management Incenhope that it would make them more concerned about their tives Program (SMIP). blocks,” she muses. It offers low-interest Ledesma Groll, like Neukrug and Dahme, is eager to financing to non-resipursue those changes—both structural and intangible. dential PWD custom“Our goal is to get homeowners to implement these projects ers for the purchase all across the city,” she says. The department’s first “Green of items—including rain gardens, green Streets” project—a sidewalk planter in South Philadelroofs and infiltration phia’s Columbus Square—was installed in May; four other basins—that reduce neighborhoods will soon see their own improvements. “If runoff into the sewer every single home in Philadelphia put in a rain barrel, our system. To qualify, apoverflows would be reduced by five to six percent,” she plicants must be up to date on their PWD wasays. That would go a long way towards satisfying the EPAs ter, sewer and stormbenchmarks. “It’s not only about being environmentally water accounts, as well friendly,” she adds. “It’s actually lower-maintenance, and I think it’s kind of beautiful. So, why not?” 


C.O.P.A. Soaps

438 East Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19125

215-426-5594 M-F 10-4 (Call to Confirm) Beekman’s C.O.P.A. Soaps are handmade in Fishtown. Our cold-processed soaps are all natural, made from Coconut, Olive, Palm & Almond Oils and pure aromatheraphy-grade Essential Oils. Order on-line or stop by our shop.

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Hours subject to change, so please call ahead.




Primex is Proud to Host the Glenside Farmers Market this Winter!

The Glenside Farmers Market has found a winter home at Primex Garden Center. Primex will host the market in our covered greenhouse on Saturdays from 10-2pm, from Dec. 11 through Feb. 26 (excluding Dec. 25 and Jan. 1).

Things are popping here at Primex for the Holiday Season.

the eco conscious choice for tree and land management

pruning & removals organic plant healthcare cabling & bracing natural lands restoration integrated pest management big & historic tree specialists planting & more!


Come in and browse our greenhouses for live plants including gift ready amaryllis, poinsettias, cyclamens and paperwhites. Let our staff help you select the perfect Christmas Tree along with any roping, wreaths or greens you may need.

PRIMEX IS HERE for your HOLIDAY NEEDS. Serving the Glenside Community since 1943 435 West Glenside Avenue, Glenside 215-887-7500

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“My passion is water,” says builder and master “The bottom line is common sense,” he says. plumber Pat McDonald. “I can live without the “If it costs a lot of money to do it, then it’s not lights being on.” common sense. As a plumber, it’s common McDonald is co-founder (with his brother knowledge that if you’re going to be considerTim) of Onion Flats, a sustainable development ate about the energy we spend as a society—in company based in Kensington that is revolutiona country that uses so much—then you have to izing the relationship between structures and start at the bottom and consider everything we stormwater in Philadelphia. do that consumes energy. The reason why I did It all started in 2002, during the construction Rag Flats wasn’t initially because I wanted to use of Fishtown’s Rag Flats, an 11-unit project carved the water—I figured that if we had the water we out of an old rag factory. Having found inspirawould use it somewhere; it’s a garden communiWith innovation tion in cutting-edge European and Canadian ty—but because I was preventing 6,000 gallons of and enthusiasm, design, McDonald hoped to build an integrated storm[water] from going into the sewer system. water management system. The only problem It’s considered a combination sewage system, so Onion Flats masters was that he couldn’t get a permit; in fact, there as soon as water goes underground into a piping water management was no permit for what he wanted to do. While system, it becomes something to get rid of. But by lee stabert working his way through the red tape—and afbefore it goes underground, it’s a commodity— ter earning tacit, off-the-record approval from a one of the biggest commodities in the world.” Philadelphia Water Department engineer—he installed a 6,000-gallon Inspired by that success, Onion Flats launched G.R.A.S.S. (Green rainwater storage system. With the help of permeable paving and green Roofs and Solar Systems), an arm of their business that focuses on those roofs, the site became 100 percent permeable. two namesake areas as well as stormwater harvesting. They worked ex“About a year after the project was complete, that engineer from the tensively with green roofs pioneer Charlie Miller of Roofscapes (based in Water Department called me three times,” recalls McDonald. “I thought Mt. Airy) to educate themselves on the subject. They eventually concludhe was gonna bust me on the project. Ultimately, he left a message, and ed it was possible to bring the technologies that have been successfully said the Water Department wanted to give me an award. They also wantemployed on large-scale commercial projects to private residences and ed me to come in and speak to the engineers.” When he addressed them, small businesses. “The green roofing industry is a bunch of landscapers,” McDonald had his nine-year-old niece lead the presentation, hoping to says Onion Flats architect and CFO Harold Steinberg. “And this is just proving the simplicity of his system. an aside of what their specialty is. We, as builders, understand all the 26

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with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to rejuvenate Northern Liberties’ Liberty Lands Park. The original plans ran stormwater into inlets, and then through a rain garden—Onion Flats felt that design didn’t go far enough. “What we did with the community was design a rainwater harvesting system,” explains Steinberg. “So, through that rain garden, they’re now capturing 6,000 gallons of water that they can use to irrigate the park.” The Water Department is interested in monitoring the system to collect data for future designs. The Liberty Lands project has had a broader impact on the entire area—that section of Northern Liberties used to flood after every big storm. “The water would just sheet drain off the old park,” recalls Steinberg. “As we started excavating, we found basements and subbasements of the former tannery building that covered the lot. There was nowhere for the water to go. We spent two months jackhammering. So, between that and the new system, the neighbors next door never get any water in their basement anymore. Ever.” With another assist from the Water Department, Onion Flats is also in the process of implementing a citywide stormwater tree trench program. That system will capture streetwater runoff into an inlet, and underground pipes and stone storage will be installed between the trees. Water will be held, recharging into the ground and irrigating the tree wells. The pilot program will tackle 13 locations featuring 64 trees. All these small projects can have a huge impact. “If you continue to build on an infrastructure with inadequate pipes, at some point the pipes will be too small and you’ll get backups,” explains McDonald. “You can do one of two things: tear up the infrastructure—all the streets and public properties—and put in bigger pipes. The American way. Or, we can look at our brothers and sisters in Europe who have survived a whole lot longer than our country. They don’t just keep adding bigger, bigger, bigger. They work with what they have and start adding permeability. It’s build bigger, or build smarter.” Onion Flats believes they are at the forefront of a drastic change in the way we treat our water. “Water is going to continue to rise in cost—just like electricity, just like fuel,” says McDonald. “We’re going to get into a situation where architects and engineers will not make it through school without full points of view on how to manage water in the systems they create. At that point, it’s going to be a no-brainer.”  opposite

European design inspired the groundbreaking water management system at Rag Flats left Permeable paving outside of Thin Flats above Green roofs harvest water on the firm’s projects

detailing that goes into a building.” The motivation for installing permeable systems has never been greater—Philadelphia currently offers business tax credits for green roofs up to $100,000 dollars (or 25 percent of the cost of the system). “Incentivizing good practice is what’s going to transform the city,” argues Steinberg. Steinberg and McDonald also give a tremendous amount of credit to the Philadelphia Water Department, lauding them for enacting legislation and instituting a forward-thinking culture. The next step is residential green roof incentives, and forcing a wider range of Philadelphians to manage their own stormwater. The scope of the company’s ambition has grown in recent years. Through their close relationship with the Water Department, Onion Flats partnered, 11 W. Norris St., 215-426-6466

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urban naturalist

by bernard brown

Deer Diary

These beautiful creatures pose an urban conundrum


once enjoyed the deer of Woodlands Cemetery. I would jog around a mausoleum and they’d go bounding away. Often they wouldn’t flee, eerily tolerant of the human stumbling (you never feel clumsier than when you’re comparing yourself to deer) only a few yards away. They were a delight to watch, but it couldn’t last. That many deer don’t work in a landscaped park. Vague reports of culling surfaced online in 2007; then the deer were gone. I suppose I could go to Valley Forge to see deer, but I can’t say I’d enjoy it. There they graze openly in the middle of the day—a desperate display of hunger for a shy creature that prefers to browse leafy vegetation at dusk and dawn. Soon

Fancy some urban venison? Hunting with bows and crossbows is permitted on private land in Philadelphia with landowner permission. See the PA State Game Commission website for more information (

Interested in protecting Philadelphia deer from culling and hunting? Check out Philadelphia Advocates for Deer. Contact MaryAnn Baron at 215-432-7292 or or visit the organization on Facebook.


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the National Park Service will reduce that herd with sharp shooters and contraceptives—mostly sharp shooters given the timeframe: from about 1,300 deer to 175 over four years. The plan is moving forward after years of controversy and lawsuits, an echo of Fairmount Park’s experience as it culled the herds in the Wissahickon and Pennypack from 2002 to 2006. Without wild predators or hunters, suburban and urban deer often strip the forests (and gardens) bare and start crashing through windshields. The cheapest way to remedy the situation is with bullets. The deer-adoring public’s outcry—this is Bambi we’re talking about—is generally led by animal rights and welfare groups. Some argue for birth control, some argue for leaving the situation alone and letting nature take its course. Unfortunately “nature” is as hard to get a fix on as a deer bounding through the trees. Humans have been major deer predators for about

12,000 years. Our Native American predecessors actually boosted deer populations. They intentionally set burns to keep forests open and encourage fresh growth that deer like to nibble, and unintentionally provided deer their favorite edge habitat by farming in a shifting patchwork of fields and forest. These days, we continue to set the table for deer with our own mosaic of parks, yards and landscaped gardens. “Natural” doesn’t help us in Chestnut Hill or University City. We must decide what we want in our landscape—deer vs. native vegetation, deer vs. gardens, etc.—and how much we’re willing to pay for it. Labor-intensive birth control injections can cost hundreds of dollars per deer. Personally, I have a difficult time deciding; I don’t envy the land managers. Last year, I came across a doe in Woodlands. She didn’t spook easily, and even took a tentative step my way. I drove her off with a shout and a clap, and told her not to come back. ■


Bernard Brown is an amateur field herper, part-time bureaucrat and director of the PB&J Campaign; read about his forays into the natural world at ph otos by C h ri st i an Hu nol d



The mission of Cities is to create a dialogue between urban transportation officials, share best practices and advocate for the rapid implementation of innovative design. This time they came to Philadelphia—ranked highest in bicycle commuters per capita among the 10 largest U.S. cities (1.6 percent; nearly three times the national average of 0.55 percent)—to check out the goods. The delegation included some heavy hitters: Jon Orcutt, Director of Policy for the New York City Department of Transportation, Robert Burchfield, City Traffic Engineer for the City of Portland DOT, Timothy Papandreou, Deputy Director of Transportation Planning and Development, San Francisco Metropolitan Planning Agency, and Eric Gilliland, Executive Director of NATCO. Now, many of us love biking in Philadelphia— Erie Aand ve mostly flat, and the city is easy to navigate there are a few key lanes and loads of people out there ridAlleghe ing along with you— nbut y Aother ve cities are way ahead of us in terms of infrastructure. Between 2006 and 2009, New York installed 200 miles of new on-street Lehigh Ave and colored bike lanes. Portland has buffered lanes, bicycle boulevards, cycle tracks and bike boxes. San Francisco has “floating bike lanes” that shift when parking is permitted on striped streets. It’s hard not to be jealous of those innovations. Diamon d St our ride, Cities On the evening following representatives spoke at a MOTU forum at the Academy of Natural Sciences titled “Cities for Cycling: Riding the Innovation Line.” (I wasn’t

25th St

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Girard Ave

Pk w y

Callowhi ll St

Spring Garden St

676 JF Kenn edy Blvd

Arch St

Market St Chestn ut St


5th St

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Cities for Cycling tours Philadelphia

kidding about the geekery). Turns out urban cyclists can be divided into four groups: the tiny selection of “Strong and Fearless,” the small group of “Enthused and Confident,” the large segment e Av and the rest who of “Interested but Concerned,” d r say “No way, No How.” kfoMost policy is directed at n a the “Interested but Concerned,” aiming to make Fr urban cycling more attractive to that impressionable population. Long story short, it’s all about the Benjamins, er, the infrastructure. Sure, Philly showed off the newly paved lanes along Pine and Spruce, the freshly striped lanes on South and Lombard around the South Street Bridge and the lovely but crowded Schuylkill Banks Park, but we still need ideas for how to reclaim the Delaware Waterfront, improve bike access to the Ben Franklin Bridge and redesign the Spring Garden bike lanes. And that’s only the beginning. Can you imagine Sansom Street as a Bike Preferred Corridor? Or cycle tracks on Broad and Girard? What about buffered lanes in the 5th Street tunnel, or along the Chestnut and Walnut Street Bridges? I know I suffer from if-you-givea-mouse-a-cookie syndrome, but what if Spruce and Pine had “floating lanes” or bike boxes? The next day, the delegation met with Mayor Nutter to discuss the overall state of bicycle infrastructure in Philadelphia, followed by meetings with city council to discuss legislative hurdles and past successes in other cities. You can bet no one brought up bicycle license plates. ■


Walnut St

Locust St

Pine St South St






Julie Lorch is a student and bike enthusiast; she’s currently hard at work on where to bike: philadelphia, an upcoming print guide to cycling in the city. jan uary 20 11





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Can you imagine Sansom Street as a Bike Preferred Corridor? Or cycle tracks on Broad and Girard? eliminate this unique bicycling hazard. Wait, what? A dozen transportation officials from across the country are talking about improving cycling Ri in Philadelphia? And they’re dgactually riding bikes? doing it while e What can I say—it Av was the most fantastic e afternoon of bike geekery I’ve experienced in months. The four-hour ride was part of a twoday visit to Philadelphia organized by Cities for Cycling, a program led by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO).

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cities for cycling

by julie lorch

N Front


ace that Train!” yelled Alex Doty. A familiar site was before us: a CSX train slowly lurching towards the Locust Street crossing to Schuylkill Banks Park. Charles Carmalt, Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU), was already halfway across the tracks. About a dozen transportation officials from across the country quickly heeded Doty’s call, grabbed their bikes and raced across the tracks, narrowly escaping the certain doom of a blocked entrance. With everyone safely through—and still chuckling at the mayhem—the group discussed solutions to the bike versus train races that happen here daily. Doty, director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, beamed as he explained plans for the recently-funded Connector Bridge, an infrastructure project that will


ln co


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guest column

by david kanthor

The Giving Trees Park that bike elsewhere


ave you ever locked your bike to a tree? ¶ Did you know that every time you do this, you damage that tree? The tree’s bark serves as a layer of protection, just as your skin protects you. When you scrape off bark with a chain or lock, the tree becomes more susceptible to disease. It can cost as much as $1,000 to replace a single tree. More than 800 bikers commute into Center City from the south each day during morning rush hour. Many more come down the Parkway and across the Schuylkill River bridges. The bike lanes have just been repaved along Spruce


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and Pine Streets. Plans drawn up by the Philadelphia Planning Commission propose more much-needed downtown bike lanes. An integrated new bike network will help Philadelphia become the “greenest city in America.” But we won’t get there if we are simultaneously killing trees. Many bikes are locked to trees because it seems more convenient than looking for an unoccupied bike rack, post or sign. Augmenting existing bike parking is an important step towards protecting the city’s trees. Currently, parking meters are in the process of being converted to kiosks,

causing the loss of prime bike parking spots. Fortunately, the City has responded by converting many of the old meters into “post and ring” bike racks. New York City enforces a $1,000 fine for locking your bike to a tree. In Philadelphia, the fine is only $25 and the law is not enforced. I’m not suggesting a $1,000 fine—I’m sure Philadelphia’s bike riders, once they understand the impact, will lock their bikes to designated bike racks, poles and signs. Street trees are important. They provide safe and shaded walking environments, improve air quality, increase property values and absorb stormwater runoff. They are as important to a sustainable environment as riding your bike. The Center City District prides itself on both its collection of almost 750 well-maintained street trees and its status as a longstanding advocate for bicycle infrastructure enhancements. The next time you park your bike, make the truly green decision: Lock your bike to a bike rack, pole or sign, not to a tree. ■


David Kanthor is an urban planner who works on accessibility and sustainability projects for the Center City District. ph otos by dan mu rphy




Michelangelo pistoletto

by lee stabert

The Italian artist talks art, community and giant mirrored tables

How do you think art functions as a community-builder? And how could it function better? Michelangelo Pistoletto: Personally, I his interview was conceived as a started from visual art, and from visual art to, back-and-forth, but give an Italian intel- let’s say, touchable art [laughs], to virtuality, to lectual open-ended questions and you’ll reality. With the vision of the mirror—where the get expansive—and fascinating—open-ended viewer is included—I thought that the viewer was answers. society. And the present time that is reflected in A retrospective of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s the world—in the mirrors—is existing reality. thoughtful, dynamic work (From One to Many: Also, we must put them together: art and 1956-1974) opened in November at the Philadel- different sectors of public life. So, I started to phia Museum of Art. Recently, Grid had the op- think about how art could be useful for sociallyportunity to meander through the galleries before responsible transformation. That’s not easy—to sitting down at one of Pistoletto’s create the connection that makes grand “Mirror Tables” for a chat understandable the possibility of with the artist. These huge, stunart. I thought that it was not easy, ning tables are cut into the shapes but necessary. Michelangelo of the world’s seas—Mediterranean, That’s why I created the CittaPistoletto: From One to Caribbean—and offer a literal repredellarte, a place where we live toMany, 1956–1974 sentation of global community. gether and work together. But it’s runs through Bringing together disparate not a traditional idea of community. January 16, 2011 people and cultures through art It’s a place where we live in the day, at the Philadelphia and engagement is a central misbut we live not only practically, but Museum of Art. sion of Pistoletto’s work. It is also with ideas. It’s a way to be able to the thrust behind Cittadellarte, his interfere with the social life. So, we interdisciplinary collective in Biella, Italy, work- created different offices. Each one has the name ing on issues as diverse as fashion, architecture, of a sector: economy, politics, communication, politics and ecology. spirituality, work, production, architecture, fashThere is a direct line between Pistoletto’s cur- ion and food. rent socio-political work and the sly, interactive mirror paintings that form the core of his retro- How does “sustainability” connect back spective. Standing in front of the painted, pol- to these projects? ished stainless steel, the viewer becomes part of Sustainability is a word that is used, and abused. the work. It’s yet another tangible interpretation We have to think that even if it is abused, it is of the power of art. something important as a basic concept. What we do, in order to protect and save the world in which we live—this is the meaning of sustainability. To leave a “Lui e lei abbracciati sustainable world to the future. And (He and She this is a big job. Of course, it’s not posEmbracing),” sible to change everything in one minMichelangelo Pistoletto, 1968, ute, but the process has to be ongoing. painted tissue If we don’t believe in the possibility of paper on polished working towards that direction, we stainless steel will not succeed. For example, we try to work with architects to propose projects that will produce energy and preserve energy. We also think about houses that can connect the people—to have a closer rapport—and introduce a way of living that is much more connected. That connection is something that art can make. It can transform the typical desire—that is driven by the ultra-consumer system—to another kind of desire. In Italian, we say condividere. [Asks interpreter for definition.] Sharing! Sharing space, sharing


time, sharing economy. Sharing is an important issue in order to change the isolation that relegates people to only rapport with product. We want to work with a new concept of design, and this is especially what I think art can do—to bring pleasure from something that is not just buying. But for that, also, you have to think about new concepts of production. I can be producer and consumer at the same time. I produce something for you, and you produce something for me—and the economy becomes more closed. And we can also have better quality of products. We are working with many things. For example, fashion is very important to us—to use only textiles that are produced with sustainable materials, made in a sustainable way. We must be involved in not only an aesthetical, but an ethical way.

“ We must be involved in not only an aesthetical, but an ethical way.” Walking through the exhibit leaves a strong impression. A common thread is engagement and interaction—even collaboration—between the viewer and the work. To come in here and sit around these tables is very fluid; it makes a lot of sense. Will you talk a little about the mirror tables? With the mirror tables, you don’t just look into the work; you sit around the table and meet the other people. People who are represented by the geographical design of the tables. Here, we are around the Caribbean—with all the problems that unite and divide the north and south of the American continent. ■


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Yuletide Local Cheese 10 Celebration Madame Fromage will be serving up the cheeses featured in Grid’s December holiday guide—along with local beer pairings—at the Fair Food Farmstand after hours. Reserve your ticket fast; this special event is limited to 15 participants. →→ December 10, 6:30 p.m., $35, Fair Food

Farmstand, Reading Terminal Market (12th and Filbert Sts.), tickets available at the Fair Food Farmstand


PSU Master Gardener Second Fall Series: Holiday 11 Saturday Wreaths for Feathered Friends The first ever children’s Second Saturday will teach children that attracting birds to the garden is a fun way to learn about the plants and seeds that nourish our feathered friends in the winter. Younger children (ages five to seven) will make pinecone and seed feeders, while the older children (eight to 12) will make festive wreaths using natural materials.

Sanctuary: Celebration of Animals 12 AJoin the Humane League for an evening of delicious food featuring a silent auction, holiday raffle items, a book sale and a panel discussion with animal rights activists. Speakers include Darius Fullmer of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; Jenny Brown, director and co-founder of the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary; Karel Minor, executive director of Berks County Humane Society; and Nick Cooney, director of the Humane League.

→→ December 11, 9 – 11 a.m., $10 for one adult

and child; $5 for additional children, Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, N. Horticultural and Montgomery Drs., to register, call 215-471-2200, philadelphia.extension.


Terra Madre Day Reading Terminal 10 at Reading Terminal Market will host a celebration of local food producers and artisans, inspired by Slow Food’s Salone Del Gusto food show and Terra Madre conference held this October in Turin, Italy. Meet select regional producers, watch cooking demonstrations and learn about the tastes of the Greater Philadelphia region. Participants include Earth, Bread & Brewery, Metropolitan Bakery and Birchrun Hills Farm.

Earthly Beauties Fashion Spotlight 11 This two-day fashion extravaganza will 12 showcase the designs of five local, sustainable designers and two boutiques. ZivileArt, Ivy Glass Ecouture, 3 by Three, Nicole Rae Styer, D’Agostino Fashion Textile Design, BUS STOP Boutique and Arcadia Boutique will all present day-to-night looks. There will also be complimentary cocktails, gift wrapping and raffle prizes, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Career Wardrobe.

→→ December 10, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Center Court

→→ December 11, 12 – 8 p.m.; December 12,

of Reading Terminal Market (12th and Filbert Sts.), for information, visit or


12 – 6 p.m., hosted by Michael Garden from CITY-SPACE, 2200 Walnut St., for information, visit

→→ December 12, 6:30 – 9 p.m., $25 in advance;

$30 at the door, Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., for information, visit or call 484-9046004


Dock Street Home Brew Swap 15 Holiday If you’ve been hard at work brewing your own booze, bring a few bottles to Dock Street and exchange with fellow home brew masters. Participants will receive a free bottle of one of Dock Street’s own homebrew-inspired concoctions. Members of the American Homebrew Association will also receive 10 percent off all Dock Street beers. →→ December 15, 7 p.m., Dock Street

Brewing Co., 701 S. 50th St., for information, call 215-726-2337 or email dockstreetinfo@

jan 15

Winter Celebration: Adventures in Garden Photography

Professional horticultural photographer Rob Cardillo will share the art of garden photography. Find out how he captures the essence of gardens, how the human eye perceives images and what new digital technologies offer. You’ll leave with tips to improve your own picture making and taking. A lecture and reception with hors d’oeuvres is included. →→ January 15, 5 p.m., $45, Scott

Arboretum, Science Center 101, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, to register, visit or call 610-328-8025


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ph oto by Rob Ca rdil lo


Book Launch Party: That Out! 16 Spit Paige Wolf, owner of the sustainable PR company Paige Wolf Media, is celebrating the release of her new book, Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt. Wolf’s book references experts on science, environmental advocacy, holistic health, pediatrics and humanitarianism to answer questions—and slay myths—for sustainably-minded moms and dads. →→ December 16, 6 – 9 p.m., Arcadia Boutique,

819 N. 2nd St., reserve your spot by emailing


Philly Homegrown Food Tour Philly Homegrown on a tasting 18 Join adventure through four of Philadelphia’s food havens. First stop will be at Reading Terminal Market, where you’ll enjoy tastings at the Fair Food Farmstand and Salumeria. Next, walk to Tweed and sample dishes featuring local ingredients. The tour will end with a blind taste test of seasonally-inspired gelato and sorbet at Capogiro. →→ December 18, 3 – 5 p.m., $35, reserve your spot online by visiting or

calling 800-979-3370, for information, visit


Slow Writing Type-In were used to get the word 18 Typewriters out long before the laptops and desktops we’ve grown accustomed to were even invented. Thousands of classic typewriters still exist, just waiting for a new group of fans to dust them off. Join the movement and attend this free gathering of manual typewriter users featuring a typing competition, typewriter swap and a technician on hand to fix up your aging machine.


Winter Solstice with Land for Southern 21 Conservancy Chester County Celebrate a full moon and the longest night of the year on preserved land in beautiful Chester County. After a brief ceremony of the seasons, enjoy hot beverages by a warm fire. Telescopes will be on hand for star and moon gazing. →→ December 21, begins at dusk (approximately

5 p.m.), $10 suggested donation; free for children 12 and under, Stateline Woods Preserve, 818 Merrybell Ln., Kennett Square, for information, call 610-347-0347 or visit



Friday Arts: Fresh Bike Local 07 Bike In its first episode of the new year, WHYY-TV’s Friday Arts will feature Bike Fresh Bike Local. The 30-minute monthly segments focus on under-the-radar arts, culture and entertainment happenings in Philadelphia. Bike Fresh Bike Local is an annual event hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture that invites participants to embark on 25, 50, or 75-mile bike tours in support of local farms. →→ January 7, 8:30 p.m. (Friday Arts is broad-

cast on WHYY-TV on the first Friday of each month),


SBN: Greening Your Office 101 introductory class will give you 12 This helpful hints on making your workplace more sustainable. Learn how to calculate your office’s carbon footprint, reduce paper waste, conserve energy and use resources available through the city. The free classes will run through March 2011 at four different locations.

energy audits interior design commercial residential

→→ January 12, Bucks County Community

→→ December 18, 1 – 4:30 p.m., Bridgewa-

ter’s Pub, 30th and Market Sts., to RSVP, email


SCEE Nature for the Young: Ready for Winter The Schuylkill Center’s “Nature for the Young” programs are designed for naturaliststo-be between the ages of three and five. The winter program will focus on how animals and birds live during the winter. Children will create a mini feast for animals and take a short hike to deliver them.


→→ December 20, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. morning

session; 2 – 3 p.m afternoon session, $6 members; $10 non-members, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd., to preregister, call 215.482.7300 x 110 or email

College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, for information, email Jen Devor at


Sea Level Rise: Looking Forward and Planning Now Join Penn Future for a forum on the impacts of—and solutions for—sea level rise on the Delaware River and Estuary. Federal, state and local officials, business leaders, community organizations and interested members of the public are all invited to attend. The event is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Clean Air Council and the National Audubon Society.


→→ January 12, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., John Heinz

National Wildlife Refuge, 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., RSVP by emailing Anne Crowley at or calling 610640-3303, january 20 11

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PHS Greensource Lecture 13 Evening Titled “Parks, Plants and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape,” this lecture takes a look at the restoration and design of previously-neglected public spaces in New York, and offers suggestions for how Philadelphia can draw inspiration from those designs. Garden designer Lynden Miller will discuss the elements necessary for creating a successful public space.

jan 19

Project Flow Art Opening Students from Project Flow will exhibit artwork and present the documentary “Save My Flow” at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. Project Flow is an educational program for rising ninth graders that engages students in the study of water across three dimensions: environmental science, politics and economics and expressive arts.

→→ January 13, 6 – 8 p.m., Pennsylvania Horti-

cultural Society, 100 N. 20th St., fifth floor, RSVP at pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety. org, for information, contact Carol Dutill at or 215-988-8869


Meadowbrook Farm Workshop: Bowl Terrarium Garden 20 Glass Avoid those winter blues and brighten your home with a lush, green, miniature plant world. Specific plants are best suited for terrariums, and planting them takes special care. But, once the terrarium is assembled, caring for your mini plants is simple and fun. Horticulturalist Sharon Kaszan will lead this workshop and offer participants all the necessary ingredients.

→→ January 19, 5:30 – 7:30

p.m., Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 640 Waterworks Dr., for information, email,

One of a series of silkscreen posters which will be exhibited on area SEPTA buses and the Fairmount Waterworks Interpretive Center this winter.

→→ January 20, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., $50 member;

$60 non-members, Meadowbrook Farm, 1633 Washington Ln., Abington Township, to register, visit, for information, contact Carol Dutill at or 215988-8869,


For the Love of Art & Chocolate all the chocolate you can eat while 28 Enjoy supporting the ClearWater Conservancy’s natural resource conservation efforts. Your ticket will get you an assortment of chocolate delicacies, an opportunity to view and bid on nature-inspired art by local artists and live entertainment from Jazza-Ma-Phone. →→ January 28, 7 – 9:30 p.m., $30,

The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, 215 Innovation Blvd., State College, to purchase tickets, call 814-237-0400,

Food Inc.


Screening of Food Inc. Bellies Holistic Birth Ser26 Blossoming vices will host a screening of Food Inc. at Essene Market to benefit Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection agency. The showing is free, though donations are greatly appreciated, and will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local health and nutrition experts. →→ January 26, 6 – 9 p.m., Essene Market,

719 S. 4th St., for information, visit, or


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Philly Stake Dinner recurring dinner uses locally30 This sourced ingredients and raises money for creative and relevant community projects. Project ideas are presented directly to attendees as they dine, and then put to a vote to deem which is most worthy of funding. The top choice will leave with the dinner proceeds, paid by diners on a sliding scale of $10 to $20, and present their progress at the next Stake dinner. →→ January 30, 5 – 8 p.m., First Unitarian

Church, 2125 Chestnut St., for information, email,



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Ja n ua ry 2 0 1 1

Eco-facilitators helps your organization develop ideas and facilitate changes in how you work by identifying fundamental convictions amongst your staff and building a measurable accountability plan to help your organization achieve positive environmental change.

For $15, Bennett Compost will pick up your Christmas tree. It will be chipped and used in local community gardens. Contact us by January 5th to schedule a pickup.

Native Saplings for Holiday Giving and Local Greening Eastern Red Cedar Red-twig Dogwood Project1:Layout 1



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holiday gift certificates and more jan uary 20 11

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Paper Heart essay by

samantha drake


Ja n ua ry 2 0 1 1

how can two people and two cats make so much garbage? My husband used to ask this question almost every time he took out the trash. I had pondered it myself ever since we started living together. There was only so much we could blame on the cats. ¶ Among the many things Glenn and I have in common is an interest in recyling whatever we can. Together, we ditched plastic water bottles for a water filter. We pack up our newspapers the minute we read them. If it’s on our town’s recycling list, we dutifully collect it and haul it out to the curb.

On the other hand, we’re not exactly environmental saints. We designate canvas bags for grocery shopping, and almost always forget to bring them. We’ve never composted anything in our lives. Still, we thought tackling our trash output was a good start, especially considering we had barely been married a year. Obviously, some forensic analysis was in order to see what the heck was going on in our trash bags. Yup, we promised to love, honor and go through the garbage together. We didn’t have to dig very far to realize that Glenn and I have something else in common: A love of paper, and, evidently, an even greater love of throwing it away. All kinds of paper: Napkins, paper towels, tissues, junk mail, notepaper, post-it notes, computer paper . . . dear God, I felt like a war criminal. The wastebasket from my home office alone was filled to the brim with a confetti of postits and crumpled up notepaper. We had met the problem, and it was us. We skipped the finger pointing. Now was the time to work together as a couple and come up with viable solutions. I, off course, couldn’t eliminate all my paper usage—some things will always need to be printed out or written down; what if there’s a power outage?—but those wadded up napkins and paper towels that someone was so fond of using? They could be strictly rationed or even eliminated from everyday use. I put a stack of dishtowels next to the kitchen sink and unearthed cloth napkins for meals. This did not go over very well. It wasn’t the type of marital challenge I anticipated during our first year, but we had to face the facts about our respective paper obsessions. Glenn goes through paper towels and napkins the way I go through pads of paper—like there’s no tomorrow. Eventually, we managed to reach an amicable and environmentallyfriendly compromise: The stack of dish towels remained by the sink, the cloth napkins went back into storage and my home office got its own recycling outpost. By the time we celebrated our one-year anniversary, we were able to take out the trash in fewer bags and with a clearer conscience. We decided to scrap the traditional first-year anniversary gift—paper—in favor of his and hers recycling bins.  i llust rat i on by st ephen ha igh

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Grid Magazine January 2011  

Towards a Sustainable Philadelphia

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