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Sustainable Philadelphia

take one!

may 2011 / issue 26 gridphilly.com

Leaders of the New School How Rob Fleming and Philadelphia University are writing the rules of sustainability education

Photo Essay Making a Kensington derby sculpture One on One Sierra Club head Michael Brune Refugee Farming From the Himalayas to Passyunk

fis h tow n s h a d fes t pro g r a m g u id e green building Container living Food Spring recipes sprout energy A solar panel primer

“EducationisnotthEfillingof apailbutthElightingofafirE.”

  William Butler Yeats

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PROFESSIONAL DEGREES FOR GREEN CAREERS Learn at Temple University’s School of Environmental Design

Earn a Master of Landscape Architecture with a concentration in Ecological Restoration – one of the only programs of its kind on the East Coast. Temple also offers a nationally accredited undergraduate program in Landscape Architecture and science/ research based degrees in Horticulture. • • • • •

Hands-on learning Modern research lab and greenhouse 187-acre campus arboretum Design/build studio Professional faculty


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g rid ph illy.c o m may 2011 / i ssue 26

8 Green Building | Jibe Designs’ stacked container houses; Salvage superhero John Dorety 11 Energy | Solar’s split personality 12 Community | Northwest Philly takes a sustainability survey; Van Jones and John Francis talk social responsibility at “Green—The New Black;” Expungement Clinic creates clean slates; City Council candidates on recycling, fresh food and riding the bus 16 Green Living | Pedal for the planet at this year’s Climate Ride; Recycling Challenge: VHS and cassette tapes 17 Media | Review: The Economics of Happiness 18 Agriculture | Greener Partners’ farmland revitalization; Farm Profile: Teens 4 Good 20 Food | Pucker up to pisco sours; On tap: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale; Madame Fromage: LeRaysville XX Sharp Cheddar; UPenn starts a trayless trend; Marisa McClellan’s earlyspring edibles; Fresh-caught flavor at The Farm and Fisherman

28 Rob Fleming &

Philadelphia University

Writing the rules of sustainability education


Campus Green

A sampler plate the sustainability offerings at local universities; Temple and Penn’s environmentally minded programs offer students free reign to unearth the natural world

25 38 Urban Naturalist Chestnut trees stage a comeback

Seeds of Hope

South Philly refugees create a space to grow

photo by Albert Yee

39 Shoots & Ladders Do the seedling shuffle


40 One on One | Michael Brune looks back on one year as Sierra Club’s executive director

Photo Essay

Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

42 Events | Fairs, conferences and Earth Day fetes 46 Dispatch Back to earth on my rooftop garden photo by Neal Santos

cover p hoto by g e n e s m ir n ov

may 20 11

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Alex Mulcahy 215.625.9850 ext. 102 alex@gridphilly.com editor-in-chief

Brian Howard brian.howard@gridphilly.com interim managing editor

Felicia D’Ambrosio associate editor

Ariela Rose art director

Jamie Leary jamie@gridphilly.com designer

Melissa McFeeters

Been Here For Years


s i sit here writing these notes, a nor’easter is poised to put a bigtime damper on the start of the Phillies’ next championship season. My calendar says it’s spring, but the air—so damp you can drink it, so cold you wonder how it’s not snow—screams February. Spring may be doing its best winter impression, but, rest assured, it’s coming back. After taking a look over this month’s page proofs with GRID grand poo-bah Alex Mulcahy, a sort of mini-theme arose in this month’s issue. Like Cliff Lee and Zitner’s Butter Krak Eggs right about now, there’s a lot of really ace stuff making a return engagement in Philly. Take, for instance, the American chestnut tree. As our very own Urban Naturalist, Bernard Brown, points out in this month’s column (p. 38), the tree for which one of the city’s iconic streets is named—brought to the brink of extinction by a dastardly, invasive and oh-so-teeny-tiny Japanese insect, the woolly adelgid—is making like Wrestlemania-era Hulk Hogan: Seemingly down for the count but suddenly he’s got that look in his eye, and oh man, he’s wagging his finger. The chestnut tree’s got its work cut out for it (imagine a steel-cage match against the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff and Kamala the Ugandan Giant), but Bernard’s got the goods on how you can be a tag-team partner in its triumph. Then there’s the star of our supplemental guide to the Fishtown Shad Fest. As GRID managing editor Felicia D’Ambrosio details (with the help of some awesome historical research provided by honest-to-god historians Torben Jenk and Rich Remer), the shad went from being the big fish in the pond (OK, the Delaware River) to all but AWOL in these parts due to overfishing, pollution and so much damming. It’s almost poetic that after a long, steady decline, it took a pair of summer hurricanes—Connie and Diane—in 6

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1955 to wash all the schmutz out of the river and bring the shad back a-spawning. And there’s a whiff of this sense of resurgence in Ariela Rose’s feature on the Growing Home project (p. 25) , in which refugees from Bhutan and Burma are starting small-scale urban farms using seeds they had stitched into their clothes before fleeing their troubled homelands. It’s all fitting, given what’s going on with the M.S. in Sustainable Design program up at Philadelphia University. Professor Rob Fleming (see p. 28) and his faculty are teaching their students to design buildings in conjunction with nature rather than at odds with it. It’s an idea that’s not new, but one that sort of got lost in the post-WWII rush to science our way out of every natural inconvenience. It’s a reconciliation, as Fleming puts it—a return to taking advantage of what fleeting sunlight winter allows and breezes that cut through summer’s heat; of using flora to cool us and clean our water; of letting the sun and wind provide our power. Though “green” and “sustainability” are so often spoken with that icky buzzword sheen, there’s not necessarily anything new about doing the smart, efficient, non-consumptive thing. It’s just that, especially in America, we’ve gotten away from all that in favor of fast, easy, disposable and convenient. Let’s call it a comeback.


Mark Syvertson 215.625.9850 ext. 107 mark.syvertson@gridphilly.com copy editor

Andrew Bonazelli production artist

Lucas Hardison writers

Shaun Brady Bernard Brown My Le Bui Tenaya Darlington Janina Larens Terrie Lewine Marisa McClellan Neal Santos Yowei Shaw Sue Spolan Char Vandermeer Samantha Wittchen interns

My Le Bui Caitlin Honan Ashley Huber photographers

Lori Eanes Stuart Goldenberg Howard Pitkow Hannan Saleh Neal Santos Gene Smirnov Nicholas A. Tonelli Albert Yee illustrator

Melissa McFeeters ad sales

Alex Mulcahy 215.625.9850 ext. 102 alex@gridphilly.com published by

Red Flag Media 1032 Arch Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215.625.9850 g r i d p h i l ly . c o m

Growth, Pains

Trust but Verify

aving devoted my life to the labor movement [“One on One with John Byrne,” Dana Henry, April 2011], it is difficult to admit that I know of no major labor leader who has acknowledged that there are limits to growth. Those labor leaders who are supporting the “green economy” see it as a growth industry to keep their members employed or perhaps allow them to organize new ones, in conjunction with a national strategy to repatriate some productive industry. None understand that growth is the problem, or that the energy spent mitigating the pollution from wasteful construction, or new varieties of automobile, is energy not available to allow us to power down rationally, instead of through the chaos of shortages in a monopolized market economy. ¶ Disguising the road we believe we must travel—so that it looks almost the same as the old road that we can no longer travel—in order to get more people on it bends it toward the old road, and the only ones we fool are ourselves.  —Jerry Silberman

I am an avid GRID fan, but it irks me when articles are not getting the whole picture. In your February issue, you have an article on gaining access to vacant land [“Land Trust,” Robyn Mello]. It’s certainly an issue here and elsewhere. I’ve been an active member of a Philadelphia community garden for 18 years; I know how precious the land is and how heart-wrenching it is to have a garden bulldozed for development. Your article failed to mention Neighborhood Gardens Association, Philadelphia’s own garden land trust. They have been working with garden properties since 1986, now hold title to 29 gardens, and are a great resource to starting and getting title to gardens on vacant lands. —Christine Hibbard, gardener, Chester Avenue Community Garden

5 Alive

Whole Lotta Shaking?

Meat Your Maker

I was disappointed that the writer [“Recycling Challenge,” Samantha Wittchen] failed to mention that there are GIMME 5 recycle bins in area Whole Foods so people don’t have to mail back toothbrushes. Simple research—like going to Preserve’s website (preserveproducts. com/recycling/gimme5faqs.html) —would have given her this information. She should also have mentioned that this program—whether dropping off at Whole Foods or mailing—only takes Preserve toothbrushes and No. 5 containers. She was wrong to suggest sending any brand of toothbrush to Preserve. If people follow her advice, they will clog the GIMME 5 program with nonrecyclable items. I hate to complain about something in the magazine. I really LOVE GRID. I guess that’s why I want to see the articles thoroughly researched to make sure people realize how many great options we have out there for recycling these days. Thanks for covering all the things that matter to me. —Jess Walcott, Langhorne, Pa.

I’m an avid reader of GRID magazine and severely bedevilled by fracking in the Marcellus Shale [“Stepping on the Gas,” Jacob Lambert, March 2011]. I have contacted my state representatives about the horror of this and, upon reading the article in your magazine [about] Iris Bloom, was heartened that somebody has taken the reins and is fighting against this irresponsible practice. Another concern I have: Isn’t there a fault line in Pennsylvania? How is the violent practice of fracking going to affect this? Is there any possibility that fracking could cause quaking in Pennsylvania? Please pass this question on to Iris Bloom if you are so moved. —JPinkston

I just picked up GRID at a coffeehouse in my town and, I gotta say, it’s really cool and wellput together. Kudos! But I have to ask: Why so beholden to the idea (and perpetuation) of eating meat? There’s a lot of evidence it’s not sustainable and terribly environmentally damaging. Do you ever address vegetarianism as an environmental issue? —Margaret Betz 


editor’s response: Thanks, Margaret! It’s because we get so much money from the meat industry, of course. Just kidding! Boy, you should hear how often we address the meat/no-meat question: in the office (our associate editor’s a hardcore vegan), at our launch parties, while grocery shopping, sometimes in our sleep. What meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans can agree on is that the way the majority of meat is produced in this country is inhumane and unsustainable. There’s room for discussion of our differences, but our similarities are much, much greater.

editor’s response: Jess, you’re right: We missed the mark on this one, and it’s possible we were guilty of not looking outside of our own backyard. Intrepid intern My Le Bui did some research and discovered that most area Whole Foods—with the exception of Wynnewood and Callowhill Street (the one we frequent, natch)—participate in the GIMME 5 program. Thanks for pointing it out. We love our readers, and that they keep us honest.

cover story: stepping on the gas, march 2011

may 20 11

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green building

Driving it home


A new Free Agent in Philadelphia by melissa m c feeters

hipping container architecture isn’t a new concept, but the enthusiasm that Jibe Design has for its recent foray into container architecture is palpable. These hardy containers—inherently rugged, designed to be stacked and built to withstand the harsh conditions of ocean and highway voyages—are readily available and fairly inexpensive. That’s why the modular containers came to mind when Martin Lautz, a well-respected craftsman, approached Jibe designers Juliet Whelan and Naquib Hossain with a deceptively simple vision: to build an inexpensive, sustainable home on a lot in Philadelphia, allowing him to live off the grid (read: live the dream). The resulting design, known as the Free Agent House, is composed of three containers, two stacked and a third sliced and stacked. The diagonal slice allows two eight-foot wide containers to utilize the width of Martin’s 15-foot wide city lot. On paper, the project has an impressive spec sheet of sustainable technologies for such a small area, and a price tag that’s just as sweet, starting at approximately $50,000.

The firm was so enamored with the design that they even built a scale model, “a rarity now that computer renderings have become the norm,” says Whelan. Although the house may never be built (such is the nature of architecture), Whelan considers the project complete— especially with the help of local photographer Stuart Goldenberg, whose macro shots add depth to the collaboration. “Stuart’s photographs expand the project; they express a certain melancholy and sense of silence.” In the end, the project became a true free agent. Lautz decided he needed a slightly larger home, and is currently working with Jibe on a new design. But as with any good player on the market, negotiations are never off the table.  Photos by Stuart Goldenberg


Features Three shipping containers—sliced and stacked—provide the bones for this modest home. The efficient layout maximizes passive heating and cooling. 1

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A glass wall on the southern side of the house welcomes the winter sun, and sliding louvers act like blinds to block the summer heat. 2

Vacuum-insulated panels superinsulate the building envelope’s tight perimeter and achieve an exceptional R-value with minimal thickness. A seasonal heat collector augments the passive heating system. 3

Low-voltage appliances run off rooftop solar panels. The sun also heats the home’s water. The only municipal utilities the home connects to are the water and sewer systems. 4


A stormwater collection cistern (not pictured) irrigates the extensive vegetable garden.

Model of the Free Agent House, built with the help of Jason Flax and Allison Carafa.


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BEST OF GREENBUILD THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011 Don’t miss this annual half-day conference and pre-conference charrette that features regional

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move GREEN

Getting to work can be a lot less taxing.

thought leaders reprising presentations from Greenbuild as well as up-and-coming talent in our

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EARTH DAY OF SERVICE AT KENSINGTON CAPA HIGH SCHOOL SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2011 Get your hands dirty constructing an urban organic vegetable garden and painting a mural at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, the first LEED Platinum high school in Pennsylvania. Volunteers & donations are needed to make this event a success! dvgbc.org/earth_day _of_service

SAVE THE DATE! ANNUAL GREEN BUILDING CELEBRATION & LEADERSHIP AWARD PRESENTATION THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 Every so often, an event comes along that combines your passion for effecting positive change with your desire to get out and have some fun. Don’t miss this one! SUBMIT YOUR LEADERSHIP AWARD NOMINATIONS TODAY! dvgbc.org/green-building-celebration


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green building

Architectural Rescue

Salvaged molding installed in a residential kitchen.

John Dorety’s salvage fills in the plank by ariela rose


esign comes first in evaluations,” says John Dorety of the process he uses when deciding whether to rescue an architectural element from a building. “Execution is second and age is third.” This craftcentric mantra—essentially, enduring design trumps technical execution and antiquity—has governed the architectural salvage design/build master’s approach for more than 25 years in the antiques and interiors business. Dorety’s first foray into the world of salvage was as a contractor working on renovations of historic homes and buildings. The careless discarding of valuable materials “shocked and excited” him, so he began rescuing the goods, establishing an inventory, and supplementing it with antiques and materials commandeered during successful Dumpster dives. Pieces—including banisters, lighting, mantels, molding, paneling, cabinets and more—are selected for their intricate designs. He can and will wax poetic about moldings and archways for hours on end. “When I was told to go in and buy the salvage rights to a house, I felt like I was in a museum,” he says, a smile parting his lips as he recalls entering historic homes so rich in design that he couldn’t bear to leave even a doorknob behind. “To me it was just the best wood, selected by the best architects, built by the best craftsmen—it was a no-brainer that it had value.” When Dorety signs on to design the interior of a commercial or residential property, he’ll spend weeks sorting through his extensive inventory to select three or four pieces. From there, he’ll strip


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and paint each piece to match so they become parts of a whole, rather than a scattered assortment gathered from rowhomes, frat houses and estates. Oftentimes he’ll also craft plaster molds of the pieces to create streamlined models that preserve the design aesthetic of the originals. On the exteriors side, Dorety has recently identified what he deems “a brisk market” for mica schist blocks salvaged when the walls of the former Youth Study Center were taken down to make way for the new Barnes Foundation on the Parkway. “These hand-quarried blocks were destined for the landfill,” he says. “We bought, moved and cleaned them, and they’ve been selling fast. People have a need, but no source, for mica schist for outdoor walls and additions.” “The whole time that I’ve done this, I’ve thought, [what I’m doing] doesn’t look like salvage,” he reflects. “I didn’t want it to scream, ‘Oh, look what I build with salvage!’ I want it to look like the period it was intended to look like.” 

Dorety’s Roster A round-up of local businesses where Dorety has left his mark →→ Tom Peters and Fergus Carey’s Monk’s Café, Belgian Café, Grace Tavern and Nodding Head Brewery →→ The Latest Dish (613 S. Fourth St.) →→ Mahogany (1524 Walnut St.) →→ Hideaway Music (8612 Germantown Ave.) →→ Trocadero Theatre (1003 Arch St.) →→ Benna’s Café (1236 S. Eighth St.) →→ Gryphon Café (105 W. Lancaster Ave # 1, Wayne) →→ Mosquito Grille (128 W. State St., Doylestown)

johndorety.com, 484-437-6427


Reach for the Sun


If you’re not thinking about solar, why not? by samantha wittchen

s the sun starts to thaw us out after another cold, snowy winter, it seems like the perfect time to discuss solar power. Solar is one of the cleanest, greenest energy sources around, and as alternative energy sources go, it’s a good fit for the rowhomes of Philadelphia, which generally do not offer the extra land necessary to put up a wind turbine or run a geothermal loop. Solar energy is also available 365 days a year—even on cloudy days—and solar panels require very little maintenance. ¶ There are two basic ways that solar can be used in the home: for heating and to generate electricity. A solar energy system used for heating is referred to as a solar thermal system, and a system used to generate electricity is referred to as a photovoltaic (or PV) system. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Photovoltaic: →→




Used to generate electricity for household use Solar cells, installed in panels on the roof and made of semiconductor materials, absorb sunlight and produce direct current, which is then passed through an inverter to become alternating current, the kind used in our homes. That power is fed into your home’s circuit breaker and is distributed throughout the house just like normal power from “the grid” Once installed, provides a free energy source for the life of the system and shields homeowners from rising energy prices In systems tied to the electrical grid, excess energy generated by the system can be “sold back” and used as a credit for times when the system isn’t producing as much energy as the house needs (such as during the night)

Solar Thermal: →→



Used to heat water, either for domestic hot water systems or central heating systems (like radiators) Represents one of the most efficient uses of solar energy since there is no conversion from heat to electricity, which is where most energy loss occurs Uses a solar collector on the roof that transfers energy from the sun to a heat-transfer fluid, such as glycol. The heat-transfer fluid flows to a storage tank (usually located in the basement), where it heats the water to be used in the domestic hot water system or the central heating system

Tax credits, rebates and loans Solar Investment Tax Credit: Covers 30 percent of the cost of the system if installed by Dec. 31, 2016 Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program: Rebate of $0.75/Watt capacity installed (PV) or 35 percent of the installed cost (solar thermal) Keystone HELP (Home Energy Loan Program): Provides $5,000 to $35,000 secured loans for solar projects Beneficial Bank: Provides alternative energy loans of $5,100 and above for up to 100 percent of the equipment and installation costs

Solar systems can be pricey, and the cost depends on the size of the installation required to provide adequate heat or electricity to your house. Therefore, the best thing you can do is make your house as energy-efficient as possible before you take the leap to solar. The price will also depend on whether you need to make any improvements to your house, such as replacing the roof, to make it ready for a solar installation. If you think you’re ready to go solar, there are a number of rebates, loan programs and tax credits (see sidebar) available to Philadelphians for installing a solar energy system, and many solar installers will help shepherd you through the process of applying for them. Energywise PA (energywisepa.org) maintains a database of certified solar contractors that you can search for residential contractors in the area.  may 20 11

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Green Giants Jones and Francis at the Franklin by ariela rose

Student volunteers gather at the dedication of a rain garden at Mount Airy’s John F. McCloskey Elementary School.


Budding Opportunity A survey of Northwest Philly’s sustainability reveals a clash over trees by shaun brady


etweeen the arboreal-minded affluence of Chestnut Hill and the activist leanings of Mt. Airy, you’d assume Northwest Philadelphia does pretty well with sustainability. And you’d be right. But that’s not good enough—not for Northwest Philly. In February, the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) released the results of a survey of residents’ green practices and presented its report, “Sustainable Living in Northwest Philadelphia: An Action Plan to Save Millions.” “We had to find a message that resonates with people,” says John Ungar, senior director of sustainability and education for OARC, “because everyone talks about ‘going green’ to the point where it almost becomes white noise.” What the survey found, Ungar explained, was that area residents were “fairly strong” with regard to recycling and the use of compact fluorescent bulbs, but were relatively unfamiliar with storm water management, rain barrels or composting. It’s also a strongly “auto-oriented” community, which impacts both greenhouse gas emissions and the health of a population that drives instead of walking. But the strongest feelings that emerged involved trees. 12

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“There’s a real division. People either love trees or hate them. And people hate them because they think they’re going to buckle the sidewalk or damage their plumbing pipes. ,” says Ungar. “As a tree lover, I found it hard to understand that resistance until I took a walk around the 19150 zip code and realized that the trees that were planted 30 or 40 years ago are the wrong trees. They are buckling the sidewalks; they are coming up under the electrical wires—so they really set a bad precedent.” OARC is teaming with local organizations like Awbury Arboretum, Weavers Way Coop and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership to put on workshops to help educate neighbors. “Where there’s work to be done,” says Ungar, “I see tremendous opportunities. It really brings home the power of individual actions.” 

n March 15, green movement pioneers John Francis and Van Jones hit the Franklin Institute as part of radio station 900-AM WURD’s “WURD Speaks Interactive Event Series.” In a talk titled “Green—The New Black” they discussed not only the environmental impact of “going green,” but the social impact, as well. In 1971, after witnessing an oil spill, Francis eschewed all motorized vehicles and became known as the Planetwalker. Soon after, he embarked on a 17-year vow of silence spurred by the arguments his beliefs caused. On the 29th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990, Francis began speaking again to bring the message of environmental and social activism to those around him. “For me, ‘environment’ expanded from just being about trees, pollution and endangered species,” Francis told the packed house. “It became about human rights, and civil rights, and economic equality, and gender equality, and education equality, and all the ways that we live with one another.” Jones, former green jobs adviser to the Obama administration, explained that heembraced an environmental mind-set soon after law school. He moved to Northern California and witnessed a culture of renewable energy, causing him to explore the viability of transforming this culture into a job market that could support residents of underprivileged neighborhoods. From the start of his foray into the green jobs world, Jones understood that fighting for environmental rights went hand-in-hand with fighting for human rights. “If we had green jobs and not jails,” Jones said passionately, “then I hoped we might have a safer planet, as well as a safer community. And that became my mantra, those four words: ‘green jobs, not jails.’”  John Francis (planetwalker.org) is the author of Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence and The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World. Van John Francis and Jones (vanjones.net) is the author Van Jones at the of The Green-Collar Economy, a “Green—The New Black” discussion. best-selling book on green jobs.

Learn more at ogontzave.org “Gree n—the n ew black ” photo by H annan S aleh

Fresh Starts

The newly independent Philadelphia Criminal Record Expungement Project works toward more just communities by yowei shaw


oving on from the past can be difficult—especially when every arrest, summary offense, misdemeanor and felony conviction is out there on the Internet for all to see. “Criminal information doesn’t just impact people who’ve been found guilty, but it impacts people who’ve been found innocent—people whose accusations never made it to trial,” says attorney Mike Lee. “Right now, an arrest is a life sentence.” Pennsylvania law prohibits employers from considering arrests when hiring. Even for convictions, the law requires employers to evaluate only charges related to job duties. But with no effective enforcement mechanism, and criminal background checks now a routine practice for employers, schools and public agencies, a record listing convictions and non-convictions can severely handicap those trying to survive in the present. “It has an effect on the entire neighborhood because there’s that many more people who don’t have stable housing or can’t find stable employment, and have to resort to other means,” Lee says. It’s a problem that Lee and three other attorneys have been tackling since last November, when they launched a program under the local chapter of the progressive National Lawyers Guild (NLG) to help low-income Philadelphians exorcise old ghosts, at least on paper. The Philadelphia Criminal Record Expungement Project (CREP)—formerly called the NLG Criminal Record Expungement Clinic before branching off to expand into a separate organization—runs entirely on volunteer steam from the four attorneys and 22 law students. The project operates every second Friday at the People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia (3902 Spring Garden St.) and every second Saturday at Kensington’s Hope Outreach Ministries (401 E. Indiana Ave.), providing free legal assistance for which private attorneys often charge $750 to $2,000 a case.

“We’ve taken somebody who’s had a six- to 10page summary of their record and when you look at it after we’re done, it’s one or two pages,” says co-founding attorney Michael Hollander. While the project cannot get rid of misdemeanor and felony convictions, the prospect of a cleaner record—in a city where almost 76,000 arrests were made last year—is highly appealing. In just the past six months, the project has filed 37 expungement petitions and prepared nearly 600 in total for about 150 participants. So far, the state has approved 11 of the project’s expungements, while 26 more are pending upcoming court dates. On a sunny March afternoon, former police officer Stephan Logan stops by the People’s Emergency Center to check the status of his petition to erase some of 25 charges from a domestic dispute in 2007. “At least on paper, that would make me look a lot better to someone who doesn’t know me,” says Logan, who has applied for more than 80 jobs in the past three years. “Maybe just that one thing that I am convicted of—I may be able to sit down and explain how that happened.” Besides the immediate goal of helping Philadelphians move forward with their lives, the project also expects to work with participants like Logan to educate communities and advocate for criminal record reform. The group’s ultimate vision is to build stronger neighborhoods through stable employment and positive interactions with the criminal justice system. When the court gives people a second chance through expungement, “they can start having faith in the system, the rule of law and institutions,” Hollander says. “It gives [them] a reason to give back to their own community.” As South Philadelphia resident and former caregiver Vera Pope waits for her turn, she calls her son to nag him once more about coming to get his own record expunged. “I didn’t think it would be this hard getting a job,” says Pope, who first learned about the possibility of expungement at the project. “But I feel better now that I know somebody’s gonna give me a break.”  may 20 11

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Stop, DROP and Change. Now. Are City Council candidates on board with Next Great City? by sue spolan


t was a scandal to the last DROP. With five members of Philadelphia’s historically ossified City Council retiring in the wake of outcry over the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan, more than one-quarter of the important 17-member governing body is guaranteed to turn over this time around. (Council is composed of 10 district representatives and seven at-large members; District Council representatives Anna Verna, Joan Krajewski, Frank DiCicco and Donna Reed Miller, and at-large representative Jack Kelly, have all announced they will not seek re-election. The primary will be May 17.) Change this drastic is rare. Next Great City Philadelphia—a coalition of 130 community, faith, environmental, business and union organizations—is framing the decision around sustainability. Following the success of previous recommendations to the Nutter administration, the coalition created a five-point pledge for city government: reform Philadelphia’s vacant land policies; make streets safe for walking and biking; reuse and recycle food and construction waste; disclose energy costs to property buyers; and improve access to fresh, local food. On March 17, Next Great City held an Urban Sustainability Forum for at-large candidates at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Seventeen new and incumbent candidates took the stage

to address Next Great City’s five recommendations. On the Democratic side were incumbents Bill Green, William Greenlee and Blondell Reynolds Brown, and hopefuls Ralph Blakney, Lawrence Clark, Sherrie Cohen, Janis Manson and Andy Toy. Representing Republicans were incumbent Frank Rizzo Jr. and hopefuls John Giordano, Malcolm Lazin, Joe McColgan, Elmer Money, David Oh, Dennis O’Brien and Al Taubenberger. The lone Independent candidate was Bernard Scally. WHYY’s Chris Satullo moderated, asking candidates how they would address the city’s 40,000 vacant lots, including 10,000 properties in the city’s inventory. Many of the candidates endorsed the Community Land Trust, an initiative to develop a public land bank

that would eliminate blight and make way for agricultural, residential and commercial initiatives. Several panelists called for more research into the best methods of putting land back to productive use. Next, the discussion turned to the expansion of recycling efforts. While residential participation has nearly quadrupled, only 20 percent of trash is diverted into recycling, with the majority going to landfills. The city’s Recycling Rewards program, cited by several candidates, creates a financial incentive, offering rewards for recycling compliance. When asked which Council hopefuls recycle, all claimed to be throwing cans and bottles in blue buckets at home, but the numbers dropped significantly when asked about office recycling practices. Green took the opportunity to review the city’s efforts to expand recycling, and Money posited that the way to go is not curbside, but to sort trash at the waste management facility. Reynolds Brown proposed changing behavior through public education, instituting programs at the school district level. The candidates then examined the need to get fresh local food to city residents. Taubenberger thought the city should allow farmers to take over some of those 40,000 vacant lots. Toy wondered if corner stores could start selling fruit and vegetables, and cited West Philly’s produce initiatives. Clark suggested turning some vacant properties into fish farms. Asked if candidates support zoning reforms, all said yes, but most would want to see the final draft before committing. Next up was increasing the number of bikers, walkers and public transit riders. Both Giordano and Toy said they were dedicated cyclists. Several others advocated for increased car and bike sharing programs. When polled, it was revealed that almost none of the candidates use public transit, an admission that elicited an audible response from the audience. Satullo asked the panelists if they supported the Mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan to spend $8 million on 60,000 new city trees. While most were in favor of the effort to green the city, some considered the expenditure a lower priority, saying the government should first close its budget gap then get creative with corporate tree-planting partnerships. The evening wrapped with a quick discussion about the larger idea of sustainability as it relates to job creation. All agreed that sustainability initiatives must produce results. Council candidates across the board vowed to fight for local jobs, increased energy-efficiency, more self-reliance and a better quality of life for all residents.  Learn more about the proposed agenda for candidates at nextgreatcity.com. For general election information, including locating your polling place, visit the Committee of Seventy at seventy.org.


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photo by howard pitkow

The Conway, McMenamin and Rose families would like to thank Blackbird Pizza for its hardwork and support... plus the BEST vegan pizza in town!

blackbird pizzeria

507 s 6th st, Philadelphia, PA, 19147 • 215.625.6660



Friday, May 6

Saturday, May 7

Sunday, May 8

Member Preview and Reception

10 am to 4 pm

Mother’s Day 10 am to 4 pm

Offering heirloom veggie starters, shrubs, perennials, and Bartram Collection plants, including the rare Franklinia alatamaha. Special tours, music, and delicious food and refreshments by Milk & Honey Market make this event fun for the whole family. Plus, Grand Opening Weekend for our new Garden Shop! Free Parking • Minutes from Center City • #36 Trolley 54th Street and Lindbergh Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19143 info@bartramsgarden.org www.bartramsgarden.org (215) 729-5281 Thanks to our partners:

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Green living

Pedal Power


tretch out those legs, shimmy into your spandex and strap on your helmet: It’s time for the Climate Ride. This charitable bike tour, replete with support staff, is dedicated to getting avid bikers or interested newbies to pump their legs from New York City to Washington, D.C., all for the sake of the environment. This year’s ride will take place from May 13-17 and will support nine different organizations committed to bettering our world. Once you register for the ride, you can choose to fundraise for one or all of the organizations and must raise a minimum of $2,400 to participate. The organization will also host Climate Ride California this fall, Oct. 2–6. —Ariela Rose For a full list of beneficiaries and to register, visit climateride.org

by samantha wittchen

VHS & Cassette Tapes In 2010, Sony announced the last production of its cassette-playing Walkman, and thus, the mix tape went the way of the dodo bird.


Both VHS and cassette tapes—collectively called magnetic media—are made from plastic and magnetic tape. The plastic components are recyclable, so you shouldn’t send them straight to the landfill. The magnetic tape that once stored your prized episodes of The Facts of Life doesn’t have the market that the plastic does, but it’s best to send it to someplace you know will dispose of it properly. It’s difficult to find organizations that will accept magnetic media for recycling because their components aren’t as valuable as other e-waste, such as cell phones and computer.



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Your best bet is a company called GreenDisk (greendisk.com). Headquartered in Sammamish, Wash., they offer a Technotrash Pack-IT service to individuals who have smaller amounts of e-waste that they need to recycle. For a flat fee of $9.95, you can send them a box of your old Paula Abdul tapes weighing up to 25 pounds. Once you order the service on their website, they’ll provide you with a shipping label to print, but you’re responsible for the shipping cost. If you happen to have more than 25 pounds, you can order extra pounds at thirty-five cents per pound, or you can upgrade to their Technotrash Can, which accommodates up to 70 pounds of e-waste and provides you with the box, shipping and processing for one flat fee. And if you happen to have any tapes with, ahem, inappropriate material on them, don’t worry! GreenDisk destroys all content on the technotrash they receive before processing it. 



Art of Science Flora Fantastica: The Whimsical Botanical Art of MF Cardamone

Now through April 17 Free with General Admission

Image ©2010 MF Cardamone


The Economics of Happiness

A film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick and John Page “We are facing an environmental crisis, an economic crisis, and a crisis of the human spirit,” announces a title card at the outset of The Economics of Happiness, flashing onto the screen between horror-show images of crumbling icebergs and the crush of Wall Street brokers. This stark warning is followed by economic analyst/author Helena Norberg-Hodge’s rhapsodic memories of her time in Ladakh, the isolated Tibetan region she writes about in her book Ancient Futures. In these opening moments, the film threatens to become a romanticization of a traditional rural lifestyle filtered through comfortable Western eyes, but fortunately NorbergHodge and her collaborators, Steven Gorelick and John Page, open their argument to a more generalized condemnation of modern consumerist culture, extrapolating an argument for localization over globalization from the example of Ladakh. Norberg-Hodge reappears throughout to make direct-to-camera arguments, but the film includes a variety of voices from across the globe, from American environmentalist Bill McKibben to Prime Minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche. Though assembled in familiar issue-doc fashion, the film makes a powerful argument for the power of local economies to create a win-win situation—for everyone except global corporations—in which the fattening of wallets is coupled with the lowering of blood pressure. —Shaun Brady Screening Sun., April 17, at Rave Motion Pictures, 900 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Voorhees, NJ, sponsored by the Food Bank of South Jersey. For more information on the film—including screenings (and how to host one yourself)—visit theeconomicsofhappiness.org

Now through April 24 Free with General Admission

Feeding the Future: Food, Agriculture, and Land Use in Uncertain Times March 22 Impacts of

April 28 Innovative

May 23 Local Food -

Marcellus Shale Drilling

Agriculture for the 21st

Safe Food: Bringing it

on PA Agriculture


to Market

A three-part series sponsored by the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. All programs will be held in the Auditorium at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Programs will start with a reception and information exchange at 6 p.m., followed by the presentation at 6:30 p.m.

VISIT THE ACADEMY TODAY! Call 215-299-1000 or visit ansp.org. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia may 20 11

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farm profile by ariela rose

Greener Partners Striving for attainable agriculture by sue spolan


Teens 4 Good


onceived in 2005, Teens 4 Good (T4G) is the brainchild of five North Philadelphia high school students, propelled by their desire to revitalize vacant lots in their neighborhood. What began as one community garden at 8th and Poplar Streets has now blossomed, encompassing gardens in North, West and South Philadelphia, as well as a brandnew plot at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education Center. “[The farms] are located in low-income, underserved neighborhoods, and we connect them to neighborhood centers that provide programs and services,” explains Diane Cornman-Levy, executive director of the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, which oversees the project. “That’s how we were able to go from one farm to seven in less than two years.” As opposed to the structure of a typical after-school club aimed at keeping teens out of trouble, T4G employs and compensates students—an estimated 400 since 2005—to run every aspect of the farm. Two new urban farmers will guide the 35-40 young people working this season, and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s City Harvest Growers Alliance will continue to provide support. Once harvested, teens must also market and sell their bounty. By partnering with local businesses like Honey’s Sit ‘n’ Eat, Bar Ferdinand, John and Kira’s Chocolates and Almanac Market, participants learn marketing, math and customer service skills that will serve them far beyond their farming venture. “Many say when they come to the farm, time slows down,” shares Cornman-Levy. “I’ve 18

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heard this from several youths, because that world is so fast and kids are really stressed out. When time slows down, you can have these really amazing conversations that you’d never be able to have in the classroom.” For more, visit teens4good.orbius.com and federationnc.org Jeremy and Elizabeth harvest tomatoes.

f greener partners (GP) have their way, by the time you finish reading this, you’ll be ripping up your lawn to plant veggies. The privately funded group—with its constellation of homesteading-centric programs on three separate farm hubs—is on a mission to spark a farming resurgence in the region. This year is shaping up to be very busy: At Radnor Township’s Homestead Project hub, GP will reconfigure a traditional CSA into a working model of a modern-day homestead. “Our goal is to show people how they can do this in their own homes,” says GP’s Kate Strathmann. The group will offer classes on topics like tearing up sod and using your lawn’s bounty. At the Media hub, a demonstration garden and farm-based education program support the “revitalization of farmland through land partnerships”; a CSA feeds 125 members and young adults participate in an apprentice program. At the Collegeville hub, presently being renamed the Greener Partners Community Farm, GP has signed a lease to take over 90 acres, including a market and the only certified organic farm in Montgomery County. Then there are the in-school programs. Seed to Snack makes monthly visits to 15 elementary schools, as well as the Gesu School in North Philadelphia. It brings kale and winter squash in the colder months, offers taste tests and cooking lessons, and sends kids home with recipes. The Seasonal Organic Local (S.O.L.) Food Project at Girard College—a boarding school for gifted teens of lower-income single parents—meets twice a week and is so popular, says Strathmann, that even after a three-hour session, kids often don’t want to leave. Day camps are scheduled at all three hubs this summer, and plans are in the works for expansion of educational programs into the city of Chester, not to mention grants to underwrite the creation of a farmers market are being sought out. No grass grows under Greener Partners; if it did, they’d pull it up and plant peas. greenerpartners.org

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On Tap

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale It’s a rare teenager who talks terroir on his birthday, but that’s exactly what Victory Brewing Company has done to mark its 15th year. Better known for his lusty, powerful brews like Hop Devil and Golden Monkey, Victory co-owner Bill Covaleski designed Headwaters Pale Ale as a “step in the opposite direction of triple IPAs,” as he says in a video, shot at the brand’s brewpub in Downingtown, Pa. Whole flower Citra and Centennial hops drive the profile of this 5.1 percent ABV pale ale, named for the headwaters of the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek, the source of Victory’s brewing water. Beer author and Seen Through a Glass blogger Lew Bryson (lewbryson.blogspot.com) was among the very first to try Headwaters: “I thought this was a great beer; refreshing and quaffable for when you want that, but plenty interesting and rewarding if you’re in the mood to pull it apart,” he wrote in an email. “Definitely not HopDevil Lite, which would have been a huge disappointment, this one stands well on its own.” You’ll be able to find Headwaters Pale Ale in bottles and on draft year-round. —Felicia D’Ambrosio

Frozen Spring


cheese of the month

Local sorbetto juices up a cocktail classic by janina a. larenas


isco sours are the perfect spring cocktail: bright, sweet, smooth and sour. In fact, they are such an amazing drink that Chile and Peru have been bickering over who invented the concoction for as long as anyone can remember. Pisco, a grape brandy popular since the 16th century in South America, is a dirty-tasting liquor made mostly from Muscat grapes. While it makes an excellent cocktail, an authentic Pisco Sour can be a little daunting for the home bartender. Traditionally made with sweet lime juice (or lemon and lime in the U.S.), sugar and egg whites, getting the balance right can be tricky. So, why not start with something already perfectly balanced? Lemon sorbetto from Philadelphia’s Capogiro Gelato Artisans is a delightful combination of sweet and sour; paired with earthy pisco, it transforms into a truly decadent—and, incidentally, vegan—drinkable treat. Fire up your cocktail shaker (or even a tightly lidded jar) to create an easy, party-ready twist on this South American classic.


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Pisco Sours serves 2 4 oz. pisco 1 cup Capogiro lemon sorbetto juice of one lime lemon slices Bitters of your choice—we like Angostura cocktail shaker and Hawthorn (spring) strainer

˜˜Combine the sorbetto, lime juice and pisco in the cocktail shaker with the spring from the strainer. ˜˜Shake until well-emulsified (about a minute). ˜˜Remove the spring. ˜˜Pour into pretty glasses and serve up with a few dashes of bitters and a fresh slice of lemon for garnish. Visit capogirogelato.com for locations or to order online.

LeRaysville XX Sharp Cheddar To me, there’s a big difference between snacking cheddar and grilledcheese cheddar. If I want to snack, I’m going to reach for an English style with lots of gusto and a gnarly rind; think locally made Pennsylvania Noble or Vermont’s Cabot Clothbound. If I’m making a sandwich or topping a burger, I’m less concerned with nuance and tend toward something forthright and feisty. I keep a block of LeRaysville XX Sharp in my crisper expressly for those fire-up-the-skillet moments. LeRaysville Cheese Factory sells a variety of aged block cheddars, from mild to the aged-four-years XXXX, using rBGH-free milk from a farmers’ co-op in Bradford County. The majority of cheeses are made by hand, without additives or colorings. Forget those neon-orange rubber erasers you see in grocery cases; this is a more flavorful alternative. It’s also made using vegetable rennet, in case you’re of the vegetarian persuasion. Quality cheddar should be smooth and creamy without a bitter finish. LeRaysville’s aged-two-years XX Sharp is sweetly acidic with a sharp hook and a pleasant aftertaste. Serving suggestion: Try it toasted on whole wheat bread with a few slices of Pink Lady Apple layered beneath. Add a pint of IPA for the perfect rainy-day lunch. —Tenaya Darlington, madamefromage.blogspot.com LeRaysville Cheese Factory, Cheese House Road, RR 2, Box 71A, LeRaysville, Pa., 800-859-5196, leraysvillecheese.com

Tricks of De-Trayed


How Penn eliminated cafeteria trays and saved a bundle by felicia d’ambrosio

n 2008, food services provider Aramark studied 186,000 meals across 25 college campuses. Their most startling finding was delivered upon a proverbial platter: When trays weren’t used, food waste per person dropped 25 to 30 percent. That same year, all four all-you-care-to-eat dining halls at the University of Pennsylvania went trayless. ¶ “The semester prior to new student orientation in 2008, a group of Penn Environmental students encouraged us to do a pilot,” says Laurie Cousart, director of sustainability for business services, the university department that oversees dining. “Though we were frankly apprehensive there would be strong pushback, the peer-topeer education Penn Enviro provided made it clear students were fine with it; in light of the net effect, it seemed an acceptable sacrifice.” In addition to cutting food waste, having no trays to wash means using less water (it takes an estimated .3 to .5 gallons to wash just one tray), less energy to heat that water and less cleansing ingredients. “This is part of a broader sustainable dining and climate action initiative,” says Cousart. “We are working hard on a local food initiative; we have no plastic bags in dining locations. Our president was the first Ivy [League] president to sign the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. It really takes a partnership across students, faculty, staff and senior leadership to make these

things happen.” Though Drexel University does currently provide a tray option to students, their four days of trayless dining in 2009 kept approximately 3,550 lbs. of food waste out of landfills and conserved 3,200 gallons of water. Based on those numbers, if the school eliminated trays for one year, it could feed 755 people for nearly 12 weeks or 61,900 for one day. Even if macro benefits to the planet don’t spark students’ interest, the micro effect of trayless dining can render the dreaded freshman 15 less than inevitable. 


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Spring Forward! Get a jump with these early-season delights


by marisa mcclellan

y the time may comes each year, memories of winter’s harshest days are finally starting to fade. Daydreams of exposed toes and short sleeves once again become plausible, and dark evenings yield to lighter nights. Yet even as the quality of the air begins to transform, there are still weeks to endure before strawberries and fresh peas arrive. This doesn’t mean that we’re consigned to continue eating storage potatoes and hoop house greens until June. If you keep your wits about you, you’ll start to notice a slow but steady procession of early spring edibles that can help spruce up your culinary routine. We believe the first harbingers of spring include crunchy radishes, astringent dandelion greens and the slightly woody, curly shoots of garlic plants known as garlic scapes. I like to eat early radishes sliced thin and stacked atop buttered brown bread. The dandelion greens get pureed into soup and spiked with a dash of nutmeg and a healthy glug of cream. Finally, the garlic scapes are blended with two big handfuls of flat leaf parsley and drizzled over roasted lamb shoulder. It’s a delicious way to welcome spring. 22

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Radishes on Buttered Brown Bread ˜˜The last thing you need for this dish is a recipe. For every person you’re serving, cut a modest slice of brown bread (the fresher, the better). Spread it generously with softened butter; use the best you can afford. The Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market (12th & Arch St.) sells some truly luscious local butter. Then, cover with one layer—two if you want more crunch—of sliced radishes. Top with a judicious sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. Eat. Repeat as necessary.

marisa mcclellan is a food writer, canning teacher and dedicated farmers market shopper who lives in Center City. Find more of her food (all cooked in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, foodinjars.com.

Creamy Dandelion Soup Roasted Lamb Shoulder serves four with Garlic Scape Pistou 2 tbsp. butter 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1 large bunch dandelion greens*, washed and chopped (discard tough stem ends) tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 1 tsp. salt 6-7 turns of a pepper grinder 4 cups filtered water 1 cup light cream cup honey

˜˜Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. ˜˜Add the chopped dandelion greens and stir until they wilt. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. ˜˜Bring contents of pot to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer. Cover and cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes. ˜˜When soup is finished cooking, transfer to a blender. Carefully blend until soup is puréed. Add cream and honey and blend briefly to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. ˜˜For a smoother soup, press through a fine mesh sieve to remove fibrous bits. Serve hot or chilled.

serves four For lamb

1 tbsp. olive oil 2 lbs. lamb shoulder salt and pepper For garlic scape pistou

2 cups flat leaf parsley leaves 3-4 garlic scapes, chopped 1 tsp. salt 5-6 turns of a pepper grinder cup olive oil

the internal temperature reads 150 degrees. ˜˜While the lamb cooks, prepare the pistou. Combine parsley, garlic scapes and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to break up the parsley and scapes. Then set the motor to run while you stream in olive oil. You’re looking for a loose purée in which the deep green oil is still visible. ˜˜When lamb is finished cooking, serve it warm with plenty of garlic scape pistou drizzled on top. 

˜˜Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Over high heat, heat a cast iron skillet large enough to hold your piece of lamb. If it is rolled and tied, cut the strings so it lays flat. Add olive oil and heat until it shimmers. As it is heating, season one side of your lamb with salt and pepper. Once the oil shimmers, place the seasoned side of the lamb down in the pan. Season the other side with salt and pepper. Brown three to four minutes on each side. ˜˜When the meat is well-seared, place the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Cook approximately 15 minutes per pound, until

*Dandelion greens are quite bitter. If that isn’t your preferred flavor profile, you can replace half the greens with baby spinach, for a milder soup.

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food Confit of bluefish with yogurt, French fingerling potatoes and grilled whole wheat bread.

’Catch the Wave The Farm and Fisherman tips the scales


eople think the ocean is a bottomless pit,” says Josh Lawler, chef and owner of the recently opened 30-seat BYOB the Farm and Fisherman. “It’s not. And even though certain farmed fish may be sustainable, there’s a whole economy of local people fishing the Jersey coast. Instead of farmed salmon, I’d rather serve porgy and croaker.” These fish, known as bycatch, are caught unintentionally by fishermen seeking tuna, striped bass and other more marketable species. “These [bycatch] fish can be delicious,” says Lawler. “Skate used to be a throwaway, and now it’s on every restaurant menu.” Though the Farm and Fisherman’s opening menu included that Jersey croaker wrapped in crisp feuille de brick pastry with red-eyed peas, clams and lemon basil ($24), expect menus to change daily as Lawler and chef-wife Colleen source ingredients that convey a sense of place to diners. To that end, chef Lawler has already forged an alliance with a landowner in west Cape May to plant his own tomatoes, as well as financing and building an “egg mobile,” essentially a moveable henhouse, to be located on the land where Jennings Farm in Medford, NJ, raises 100 percent grass-fed beef. “The hens will fertilize the grass the cows eat,” says Lawler, “and they’ll be eating a natural diet of forage. I’ll then buy the eggs for the restaurant at a market rate.” Five years as chef de cuisine at Dan Barber’s landmark farm-restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY, inform Lawler’s approach to cuisine. “Some people take simple food and make it soignée,” he says, referring to the ongoing trend of polishing and sophisticating so-called “comfort food.” “My style is more naturalistic. It’s all about the food, and where the food is coming from.” —Felicia D’Ambrosio The Farm and Fisherman serves dinner Tue.-Sun., 5-10 p.m., 1120 Pine St., 267-687-1555, thefarmandfisherman.com 24

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BY the


Unlike animals specifically targeted for capture, bycatch describes living creatures caught unintentionally by fishing gear. Since multiple species live together in shared habitat, it is difficult for fishermen to be selective, whether they are using hook and line, long line, trap, gill net or bottom trawl gear. Bycatch of legal size may be kept or sold by fisherman, but undersized or protected specimens, known as discard, are thrown back and often die. Though innovations in gear design have helped reduce bycatch, chef Lawler suggests consumers look closely at where their fish comes from and how it is caught by visiting montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx

photo by jason varney

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Saturday april 23, 2011 11 am to 6 pm LIVE MUSIC . KIDS’ ACTIVITIES . ARTS VENDORS . FOOD rain date saturday, april 30

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fishtown shad fest • Saturd a y •


april 23 2011 1 1 am t o 6 pm

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE black landlord

Music: Main Stage

Music: Kids Stage

Black Landlord, 5:00 – 6:00 pm blacklandlord.com

The Lara & Joe Show

the Spinto Band, 3:45 – 4:30 pm

Rock to the Future




West Philadelphia Orchestra, 2:30 – 3:15 pm westphiladelphiaorchestra.com

SpringS, 1:15 – 2:00 pm (XPN Shaking Through Artist) shakingthrough.com/springs

Girls Rock Philly, 12:45 pm girlsrockphilly.org the spinto band

Kids’ Activities » » The magic of Matt Cadabra. » » WXPN Kid’s Corner Booth w/ Kathy O’Connell. » » Children’s Book Drive: bring a children’s book to donate to Fishtown schools/ organizations. » » Moonbounce! » » Info/arts and crafts: Portside Arts Center, By My Side Neighborhood Parenting Program, Rock to the Future.

The Kenzinger Challenge Run The Kenzinger Challenge is a three-mile non-competitive, point-to-point scavenger hunt highlighting Fishtown and Kensington’s breweries and taverns. Using a map/questionnaire, runners go to various points collecting historical information and doing various activities, including a Beer Boot Camp at Philadelphia Brewing Company. The run is named in honor of Kenzinger Beer, Philadelphia Brewing Company’s most popular brand, and concludes in the PBC Hospitality Tent at Penn Treaty Park. The Kenzinger Challenge Run is sponsored by the Philadelphia Brewing Company and the Fishtown Beer Runners. The run begins at noon. Online registration (through April 22) is $20. On-site registration (day of ) is $25 and will open at 11a.m. Please check in at the Shad Fest Info Tent at the front of the park. The first 100 participants will receive a T-shirt. Only participants 21 years and older will be admitted to the PBC Hospitality Tent. Please bring a photo ID. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Penn Treaty Park.


2011 fishtown shad fest


fishtown shad fest • S a t u r da y •


april 23 2011

A Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission grant to bring community programming to the river helped FABA launch the first Shad Fest two years ago. “We’ve demonstrated that a non-ticketed festival can raise money for the Friends of Penn Treaty Park,” says Kimport. “In addition to celebrating the return of shad to the Delaware River, we’re getting people interested in the ecology of the river. Music is a helpful tool in drawing folks to the event.” In addition to headliner Black Landlord, the free concert will feature Spinto Band, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Girls Rock Philly campers and Springs, XPN’s Shaking Through artist. At least 15 nonprofits are already on board to provide educational programming; look for the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s fishing demonstration, as well as students showing off one of their handmade, 19-foot sailboats built under the auspices of the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory’s out-of-school program (see p. 10). Visitors will even have a chance to participate in making a traditional shadfishing net with the students manning Wooden Boat Factory’s interactive offering. Since a party’s no party without food and drink, Kimport is currently calling on some of the city’s most interesting food trucks to line Delaware Avenue and the Penn Treaty parking lot during Shad Fest. This move will encourage festivalgoers to try new local vendors, while preserving the open spaces of the park and eliminating the logistical and licensing challenges of having many food vendors in the park itself. For those seeking an experience with the festival’s namesake fish, Kimport will be setting up a pecan hickory-fired smoker to illustrate one historically accurate way of cooking shad. “People will be able to see the breakdown of the raw fish; pecan hickory smells incredible. It’s a more sensory experience,” he says. “Hopefully they will take something away from that, and be inspired to be supportive of the river and the park. It sounds corny, but [in Fishtown] you do get a river breeze that is unique. It’s cooler in the summertime; it’s important mentally to see actual natural horizons and sunsets. This is a really strong community thing.” –Felicia D’Ambrosio Festival goers queue up for a smoked shad sandwich, 2010. Photo by Jason Bachman.

1 1 am to 6 pm

Down by the River How Shad Fest got its start


enn treaty is the only city park, besides Fairmount, with a soft edge that meets the river,” says Paul Kimport, cofounder of Shad Fest and river ward destinations Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s. “Three years ago, I was running the Fishtown [Area] Business Association (FABA), and was looking for a way to showcase the capacity of Fishtown. We’ve been cooking with seasonal stuff like shad at the Tap for over a decade now, and the combination of history, ecology, a great park, art and music… it just seemed to me there was a festival there.”

american shad timeline along the delaware river by Torben Jenk and Rich Remer 1676




First recorded mentions of shad fishing along the Delaware River in Gloucester and Salem counties, NJ. “Fenwick purchased a title; when he came there, he found a colony of Swedes... one was called the Fintown tract...Penn bought the estate of Fenwick... some of quitrents paid in shad.”

First U.S. Supreme Court case covers the jurisdiction of the shad fisheries between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, decides to respect the boundaries running down the middle of the Delaware River. Arguments continue about the line of the arc boundary of the State of Delaware into the river.

Alexander Wilson, noted American ornithologist, classifies shad as Alosa Sappadissima–“shad most savory.”

Gas works built on the Lower Schuylkill. Their heavy pollution is considered to cause the end of shad migration up the Schuylkill.



Schuylkill Navigation Company builds the Shawmont and Reading dams, closing the upper Schuylkill to shad migration.

Gillnets allowed. Fishtown fishermen expand to the New Jersey side of the Delaware.




Mentions of shad for sale in Pennsylvania Gazette, often with Kensington byline.

Gillnets outlawed for 20 years to reduce over-harvesting of shad.

Fairmount Dam, built to power the Fairmount Water Works, blocks the Schuylkill River to migrating fish.

U.S., PA & NJ Fish & Game Commissions organized in part to regulate shad fishing.


2011 fishtown shad fest


1871 Juvenile (fry) shad successfully transplanted to the Pacific coast by Seth Green, and thrive today from Alaska to Southern California. By 1925, the drop in shad populations

1881 Thomas Eakins photographs shad fishermen at work and paints Shad Fishing at Gloucester on the Delaware (above) and Mending the Net. in eastern rivers had become so drastic that two million pounds of Green’s transplanted Alosa Sapadissima

were being shipped east annually from California and sold as “fresh Atlantic shad.” (continued on p. 6)

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2011 fishtown shad fest


fishtown shad fest • S a t u r da y •

april 23 2011

In his article “Fishtown and the Shad Fisheries” that appears on the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s website, local historian Rich Remer writes: “In the spring of 1778, the rich shad runs in the Schuylkill River at Valley Forge probably saved the lives of many Continental soldiers, men who had been reduced to eating boiled boots over the long Worth winter.” the wade An early 20th Though Washington’s starving army was unlikely to comcentury shad plain about the maddeningly bony creature, Micmac Indian fisherman legend deemed that shad must have first lived as an unhappy displays his catch. Photo porcupine, who begged the Great Spirit Manitou to change from the Library his form. “Manitou obliged,” wrote Jonathan Reynolds in of Congress. the New York Times, “by turning the porcupine inside out… and hurling it into the river. An ichthyologist [count of its bones]: 769!” Despite its dangers to the throats of the unwary, in 1811 American ornithologist Alexander Wilson classified shad Alosa sappadissima, for “shad most savory.” Americans’ ravenous appetite for the fish–and the profits it brought at market–alarmed Appletons’ Journal; on October 2, A brief history of shad 1875, writer J.S. “urged that a law be passed for the prevention of fishing nown as “ poor man ’ s salmon ” for their prized taste and from Saturday night to Monday morning, a ‘period during which even habit of returning to the rivermouth of their birth to spawn, fish should have rest.’” Though gill-nets had been intermittently outlawed to prevent overAmerican shad once ran up the waterways of the Delaware harvesting of shad, by the early 20th century, the deadly trifecta of overRiver estuary in schools abundant enough to support great fishing, damming and pollution had effectively ended local shad migrashad fisheries; the industry likely gave Fishtown its name. As early tions. It is only recently that cleaner waters, proactive stocking from hatcheries and fishways through dams have primed this largest member as 1686, colonists including William Penn marveled at the migrat- of the herring family for a comeback. April 23 will see Philadelphia’s third ing schools, which seemed thick enough to walk upon. Penn wrote: annual celebration of the fish at “Shads are excellent fish and of the Bigness of our Carp: They are Shad Fest, a community festi“When the Lord made shad, so plentiful, that Captain Smyth’s Overseer at the Skulkil, drew val of ecological programming, live music, local artisans and The Devil was mad, 600 and odd at one Draught; 300 is no wonder; 100 familiarly. food, held on the banks of the For it seemed such a feast They are excellent Pickled or Smokt’d, as well as boyld fresh; they Delaware in Penn Treaty Park. of delight, –Felicia D’Ambrosio are caught by nets only.”

1 1 am to 6 pm

The Comeback Fish


american shad timeline along the delaware river [cont’d] 1890


Commercial fishermen are taking four million shad annually from the Delaware River, weighing about 16 million pounds, or one-third of the total shad catch on the Atlantic Coast.

Polluted, oxygen-starved waters off Philadelphia block fish migrations. Without shad to fish, many Fishtown fishermen join the other major industry along the Delaware waterfront in Kensington, shipbuilding.

1905 Annual Delaware River shad catch drops to three million pounds.

1916 Last million pound haul of shad from the Delaware River.


1955 “In August, 1955, came two hurricanes so close together that their eyes were almost like double yolks. Called Connie & Diane, they attacked and flooded eastern America... Exponentially gaining momentum on

2011 fishtown shad fest

the way downstream, when the waters reached the filth and deep sludges of the pollution barrier at Philadelphia, they scoured them like a blown nose... The spring shad run came back significantly in 1960, and by 1962 the river was laced with anglers.” —John McPhee.

1999 Shad fry are stocked in the Schuylkill by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. All fry are tagged for later study to see if stocking efforts are successful.



Ninety-one American Shad are counted swimming through the Fairmount Dam fish ladder, the highest number since recording began in 1979. A sample of 24 adult shad were collected at the Fairmount Dam and all had the fish tags, indicating that they originated from the hatchery. Ten dams on the Schuylkill River once blocked shad migrations. Four will have fishways installed or improved.

Starting in March, members of the Delaware River Sports Fishermen’s Association report catching shad from Trenton to Easton. On April 4, 2006, the Lewis Fishery in Lambertville reported catching their first shad this season: one roe and five buck shad were hauled in. Sightings of American and Hickory shad have been reported in the Schuylkill River.

So to poison the scheme, He jumped in the stream, And stuck in the bones out of spite.”

–an old fisherman’s poem credits Poem excerpted from Torben Jenk, at workshopoftheworld.com/resources/shad_ most_savory.html. Timeline excerpted from “American Shad History Along the Delaware River” by Torben Jenk and Rich Remer, at workshopoftheworld.com/ resources/shad_timeline.html Research for Spawn Stars came from articles by Torben Jenk, Kenneth W. Milano and Rich Remer. Read more by visiting the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s website, HSP.org Thanks to Kevin Martin, Digital Curator at Hagley Museum and Library, for assistance in acquiring archival images.







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fishtown shad fest • S a t u r da y •

april 23 2011 1 1 am to 6 pm

Rocking the Boat W

The students at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory learn more than how to build a seaworthy vessel

hen shad fest takes over Penn Treaty Park on Sat., April 23, there will be music to dance to, arts and crafts to peruse and a by felicia d ’ ambrosio bevy of food trucks in addition to demonstrations on the history, fishing and cooking of shad. And in keeping with the festival’s mission of connecting the community to their river, at least 15 nonprofits will be on-site providing educational programming. ¶ One of those groups will be the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory (PWBF). Look for the ground-driven stakes and pole marking the spot where their students will be making a traditional shad fishing net with help from festival attendees. “People can come over and not only get their hands on the net, but get to know our students and learn the history of shad on the river,” says Brett Hart, PWBF’s executive director. “We’ll be bringing one of the boats the kids are building, so people can see what we are all about.” Located in the old Globe Dye Works factory (4520 Worth St.) in Frankford, PWBF spans 4,250 square feet over two shops, where bandsaws and woodworking benches await daily ministrations by students in two ongoing programs: the Canoe Build 19-week project for in-school groups, and the longterm, out-of-school Boat Build and Sail program running for 11 weeks each spring, six in the summer and 13 in the fall.


2011 fishtown shad fest

The latter project is neighborhood-based; Hart recruits “primarily along the El corridor, for obvious reasons. Most kids are from the 19124, -25 and -34 area codes: Port Richmond, Kensington and Frankford.” Over the year, participants build a 19-foot Lightning model sailboat and then learn to sail it as part of “one of the strongest classes in the international racing fleet,” according to Hart. “These are kids identified by risk factors for dropping out of high school. We teach them to build their boat, learn to sail it, learn to race it competitively, and then maintain it. We recruit kids in eighth grade and hope they stay in through their secondary education.” Though graduates of the program will boast proficiency in woodworking, fine joinery and sailing skills, in addition to increased GPAs, it’s the “soft skills” development so prized by educators that make PWBS so effective. Founded in 1996 by Geoff McKonly (who is currently working with a similar program, Rock the Boat, in the Bronx), the maritime academic program photos by brett hart

fishtown fishtown shad shad fest fest •• Saturd Saturd aa yy ••

april april 23 23 2011 2011 11 11 am am tt oo 66 pm pm

transcends educational buzzwords like “locus of control” and steady as she goes (opposite) Miguel Ger“articulation of concepts” into real behavioral changes. ena, Siddig Johnson “This is about team-building and problem-solving,” afand Hector Rodriguez, firms Charles Warner, special ed teacher in Sequoia Alterna- make a cradle for the tive Program, part of the Lenape Regional School District Lightning class sailboat; (above left) Jeliel Bess in New Jersey. and Isabelle Rodriguez What educators and psychologists call self-efficacy (a perprepare to fit a plank son’s belief in their own competence) is fostered here, as kids on the sailing team’s coach boat. get a chance not only to operate power tools, but to do so without “an adult taking the tools out of their hand,” as program director Leonard Bonarek puts it. “These kids are so enthusiastic about learning. They’ll work right through their lunch; they say, ‘We’ll eat on the bus!’ The more they do on their own, the more invested they feel in it. They want to work, for themselves.” “We’re not necessarily trying to create boat-builders here,” says Hart, himself a Frankford native and graduate of the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design’s one-year apprenticeship course in wooden boatbuilding. “Though some kids may want to move to Kennebunkport and pursue this as a career, it’s more about the power of young people making their destiny their own. “The reason we choose boat-building is because it offers so many different tie-ins to academics: the biology of wood, arithmetic, geometry.” PWBF’s canoe building program serves students from area public and charter high schools, who visit the workshop weekly during regular school hours. “The first three weeks, we go into the classrooms with a plan for the canoe design,” says Hart. “We introduce the abstract concept of scale, so when they get into the workshop, they are ready to get right to building.” Norman Hill, a math and science teacher at Philadelphia Mennonite High School at 24th and Girard, has been accompanying his students to the Wooden Boat Factory on Friday mornings for the last two years. “Making measurements helps them apply the principles of mathematics,” says Hill. “Computation and fractions, in particular, but the primary benefit is they work in a team environment to accomplish a goal.” This spring’s program will culminate around the time of finals in June, when the students

will finish, paint and launch their boats into the (shallow) waters of the Delaware River for an outing and picnic. When PWBF’s newest program, Community Sail, launches on July 8, students in the Boat Build and Sail program will have a chance to show off their new skills, taking friends and family members out on the Delaware for a sail. In addition to recreational cruises, Hart plans to connect participants with the ecology of their local body of water, using ideas from his last job as captain and director of maritime education at Philadelphia City Sail. “We’ve got the capacity to do dissolved-oxygen tests. We used to take the City Sail kids up to the source of our drinking water for the city. We’d talk about the quality of the water– what does ‘dirty’ really mean–and even go for a swim,” Hart says. “I show the kids a map showing how the city’s sewer system was built directly over the tributaries to the Delaware River, and they realize everything that is on the ground in the city ends up in their water.” Though many PWBF students live less than a half-mile from the river, the yacht clubs that line its edge aren’t necessarily a part of the river ward community. “The river has always been historically important to this community, but our kids are cut off from it,” says Hart. “Yes, there are Dunkin’ Donuts and strip malls and bodegas here, but there’s also the Wooden Boat Factory; it belongs to this community, and they can own it and be proud of it. We’re not working in a vacuum; there are maritime education programs all over the country. I don’t want to say what we’re doing is revolutionary, but it is.” To learn more, visit woodenboatfactory.org 2011 fishtown shad fest



2011 fishtown shad fest

fishtown shad fest • Saturd a y •


april 23 2011 1 1 am t o 6 pm

FOOD and BEER VENDORS JOHNNY BRENDA’S was the first restaurant to bring hickory-

D’ASCENZO GELATO Inspired by a trip to Italy in 1999, own-

smoked shad back to the shores of Fishtown. In 2009, Paul Kimport, co-owner of Johnny Brenda’s and Standard Tap, got the idea to celebrate the rich history of Fishtown by creating a festival in honor of the fish that helped give the neighborhood its name. The festival, like his businesses, strives to serve locally-sourced, wholesome food and beer and to forge a lasting bond with the surrounding community. In keeping with this mission, Paul will be cooking his freshly-caught seafood on a custom-built grill/smoker, with all proceeds from the Shad tent benefiting Penn Treaty Park. festival offerings shad, soft shell crab and bluefish

ers Kristin and Glenn D’Ascenzo have been making their own gelato since 2004. Their gelato contains only fresh fruits and nuts, with no added preservatives or artificial flavoring. Their dairy-based gelato is made using organic milk. festival offerings a wide variety of flavorful gelati


COSMIC CATERING believes in only using locally made and grown products. The majority of the company’s ingredients come from a cooperative organization called Farm Fresh for Chefs, which brings local foods to its doorstep. Owner and Executive Chef Peg Botto is a member of the Sustainable Business Network. festival offerings vegetarian burgers and hot dogs, BBQ seitan and salads

A FULL PLATE, a Northern Liberties neighborhood favorite, serves up a great mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare with their signature twist on Southern-style comfort food. festival offerings falafel sandwiches

FESTIVAL FOOD MANAGEMENT caters many larger Philadelphia-area events, including the July 4 celebrations on the Parkway and New Year’s Eve at Penn’s Landing. festival offerings hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and soft pretzels

DON MEMO TACO uses only fresh ingredients to serve some of the finest Mexican fare in the city, all from a small food truck and restaurant located in Upper Darby. festival offerings tacos and burritos

RENAISSANCE SAUSAGE sources only the highest quality, pastured meats from local farms in order to produce all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free sausage. The area farms they currently work with include Country Time (pork), Green Meadow (beef ), Jamison (lamb) and Eberly (poultry). festival offerings four types of sausage sandwich,

PHILADELPHIA BREWING COMPANY is located in Kensington on the site of the old Weisbrod & Hess Oriental Brewing Company, which operated from 1885-1939. Years of extensive renovation have resulted in a beautifully restored 19th century brewing facility that produces some of Philadelphia’s favorite craft beers, including Kenzinger, Shackamaximum, Newbold IPA, Fleur de Lehigh and Walt Wit. Owners Bill & Nancy Barton and Jim McBride have committed to supporting their community by partnering with area organizations such as Greensgrow Farms, Flat Iron Wildcats animal rescue and Buy Fresh Buy Local. PBC, in collaboration with David April of the Fishtown Beer Runners, also sponsors the Kenzinger Challenge Run, a Shad Fest event that raises money for Penn Treaty Park. Philadelphia Brewing Company has been with the Shad Fest from year one and we couldn’t do it without them! festival offerings delicious craft beer

Roe With It

Shad dishes around town Belle of the ball, fish of the moment… isn’t it time you got a taste? Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684) chef Don Salamone adds shad riffs to his everchanging menu: Try sautéed fillets over roasted Yukon gold potatoes with shallots and stone-ground mustard vinaigrette. Just down the street at Standard Tap (901 N. Second St., 215-238-0630), Carolyn Angle has been creating a bevy of swimmy dishes with the fish, including a shad BLT. In Center City, Oyster House (1516 Sansom St., 215-567-7683) has been dishing up pan-fried roe sacs–described by owner Sam Mink as “rich and minerally”–with eggs and onions at brunch. For DIY dinners, scope Whole Foods Markets’ (2001 Pennsylvania Ave., 215-557-0015 and 929 South St., 215-733-9788) deboned shad fillets ($11.99/lb.) and roe sacs ($11.99 for a set of two) through mid-April, when shad runs stop and supply dries up until late next winter. –Felicia D’Ambrosio

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2011 fishtown shad fest




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For the Asian refugee farmers of Growing Home, adapting to a new land means sowing a patch of it. by ariela rose


he narrow, winding streets of South Philadelphia are home to some of our city’s most diverse populations. Over the past five years, hundreds of immigrants from Bhutan and Burma (aka Myanmar) have fled refugee camps in their Asian homelands to resettle and restart in Philadelphia. Female refugees from Bhutan in their kiras, woven ankle-length dresses in a rainbow of colors, stand out against the muted tones of the neighborhood’s rowhomes, and represent the rich culture of their nation. What you’ll also notice are the scattered vacant lots that fill the area, two in particular on the barely 7-foot-wide Emily Street. As the bright orange survey flags reveal, these lots have big plans in store. Next month, with the guidance of the Nationalities Service Center (NSC) and its farm manag-

er, Adam Forbes, the refugees will clear trees and trash, then build raised beds in these and five other spaces throughout the area. From there, they will plant seeds for fragrant herbs and enticing vegetables to reconnect with their agricultural backgrounds, and plant their roots—literally and figuratively—in Philadelphia. Both groups of refugees arrived in the United States after experiencing severe ethnic discrimination in their homelands. Those fleeing the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan are

actually ethnic Nepalis; they endured discrimination because Bhutanese natives feared the Nepali population would outnumber them. The refugees from the Southeast Asian nation Burma (known internationally as Myanmar since 1989) are ethnic minorities, considered to be inferior populations in the eyes of a government run by a military junta. Members of both populations spent years in refugee camps before arriving in the United States, where dedicated resettlement agencies work to ease the stresses of relocation to a foreign land. In Philadelphia, the 90-year-old NSC has been assisting refugees from Bhutan for three years and from Burma for five. “Our resettlement philosophy is ethnic community building,” explains Juliane Ramic, the refmay 20 11

g r i d p h i l ly. c o m


ugee social services department director at NSC. “We define success as being able to fade away.” In other words, the goal of the staff at NSC is to no longer be needed by their constituents. Ultimately, they hope that the 300 Bhutanese and 300 Burmese refugees they serve will gain the confidence to access services and care on their own. In order to do so, Ramic and the rest of the Refugee Social Services Department must work with the refugees to find out what will make them happiest in their new land. Following a series of encounters and focus groups held last year, the answer became clear: The refugees wanted a space to grow. In the basement of the Holy Trinity Bethlehem Church in the Olney section of the city is NSC’s Senior Center, a place where English as a second language (ESL) and exercise classes, board games and cultural celebrations bring together immigrants from Cambodia, Bhutan and Burma with members of the surrounding neighborhood. It is here that NSC’s foray into refugee urban farming began. Last May, with the help of a nutrition grant, the center was able to build raised beds around the perimeter of the church and grow an abundance of produce for seniors to take home and incorporate into meals prepared in the building’s kitchen. “The garden actually grew vegetables and herbs that were familiar to them,” says Ganga Bastola and Ramic, beaming like her four children, all Bhutanese refugees, came to Philadelphia less than two years ago. Before living in the refugee camps, they were subsistence farmers in Bhutan.


gr idp h il ly.c o m

a proud mother. “Some of our elders saved seeds that they had brought with them from Cambodia and other places to use.” The resulting bounties of eggplant and Southeast Asian herbs were used to create delightfully spicy curry soups typical of both Bhutanese and Burmese cuisine. The Senior Center’s garden also stewed up envy from the younger crop of refugees; requests for their own space to plant began to pour in. The idea to create a community garden in the heart of South Philadelphia was born, and the search for a suitable patch of land began in the spring of 2010. It quickly became clear that the refugees’ desire to dip their hands into fresh, dark soil was not the sole driving force behind starting an urban farm. With high rates of malnutrition, little to no access to a large supermarket and, for many, a reliance on food stamps, the idea of a garden overflowing with fresh and familiar produce was intoxicating. Since none of the staff members at NSC had a background in gardening or farming, the agency brought in Forbes, the 24-year-old former farm education coordinator at Weavers Way Co-op who is wellversed in small-scale, organic growing with refugee populations. Following years of working on largescale organic farms while attending high school in New Jersey, Forbes traveled to Ne-

pal, where he spent six months farming alongside native Nepalese. Forbes earned his degree in Community and Sustainable Agriculture from Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., after which he received a post-college grant to research seedsaving. Forbes’ research led him to seed banks in India, Thailand, Peru, Greece, Ethiopia and beyond. When he returned to the East Coast last year, Forbes was eager to embark on another farming project, specifically one that involved immigrant populations. “The majority of the [refugees from Bhutan and Burma] come from an agricultural background, especially the elders,” says Forbes. “It’s obviously different growing in Philadelphia and urban lots, but, really, how I view my role is not like at Weavers Way being a farm manager, but as a community organizer to support and train them and get this off the ground.” The South Philadelphia refugee urban farm project will be known as “Growing Home”: With a grant from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s (PHS) City Harvest Growers Alliance, the project was awarded 60 raised beds, farming tools and seedlings for the spring, summer

Following a series of focus groups held last year, it became clear: The refugees wanted a space to grow. and fall. The project’s main sites will be the two adjacent lots on Emily Street, totaling 7,000 square feet and owned by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department. The remainder of the growing will take place in seven 600-square-foot lots owned by the city’s Department of Public Property. Originally, Forbes and NSC petitioned for one acre of land in Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park—located adjacent to the city’s crop of bustling sports stadiums—hoping to do all of the farming in one spot. Ultimately, the request was denied. “They don’t know how ugly tailgating fans can be,” says Gregory Jacovini, president of the Friends of FDR Park. “It’s not that we don’t want it in our area; we don’t want it to be destroyed in our area. There’s a big difference.” The organization feared that overzealous Eagles fans would litter the refugees’ garden with Miller Lite cans, steal produce, disrespect

m ay 2 0 1 1

phot os by a l bert yee

Bastola tells farm manager Adam Forbes (below) what their farm in Bhutan was like and how much she misses it.

those working in the garden, or worse. They felt more planning to ensure safety was necessary, and that on a whole, the park is presently not secure enough to welcome a project that holds such symbolic importance. Despite their initial disappointment, NSC has discovered that the newfound neighborhood plots will serve the refugees better in both ease of access and level of comfort. Once they are cleared of trash and brush, the smaller, scattered lots will each be given to one or two families to tend and be filled with rows of raised beds. The lots on Emily Street will also undergo the necessary clearing, and professionals will be brought in to level the sloping larger lot and remove trees that shade the space. Both spaces will be home to many raised beds, with two beds assigned to each family involved. Plans for a therapeutic gardening area, shed and

be used were carried by the refugees, safely sewn into their clothing as they made their journey to the United States. Others have been graciously donated by members of the Senior Center garden, as well as the airport’s Common Ground Farm, where fellow Southeast Asian gardeners grow an abundance of lemongrass and Thai peppers. Forbes will take charge of leases and approvals, garden design and seasonal planting, but as is the goal of NSC, his presence will ultimately lose importance. “There will be space in the first couple of years for me to help with training and logistics, but with most of the things we really want the refugees to be teaching each other and working together,” Forbes says. “Some of them have more

Many of the seeds that will be used were carried by the refugees, safely sewn into their clothing as they made their journey to the United States. community event space are also in the works. However, first on the agenda is to create space for growing as much colorful produce as possible. The families themselves are taking charge of what to grow, and requests for native Asian greens like mustard, bok choy and mizuna are at the top of the list. Eggplant, tomatoes and fiery hot peppers for stews and curries are also popular, along with traditional herbs like spicy mint from Burma. Many of the seeds that will

knowledge about preparing dishes, whereas others have a lot of knowledge about growing herbs, so I think a lot of the events I want to organize will facilitate them teaching and supporting one another and being a much more communitybased project, [rather] than me as a farming expert coming in and telling them what to do.” As the gardens begin to bloom, the families will use as much of the produce as they possibly can. Any excess will be sold at local bodegas and

informal distribution networks throughout the neighborhood, including a popular Asian market held in FDR Park on Sunday afternoons. Potential plans for a small farm market on Emily Street are also being pieced together. Even as they focus on the project at hand, Forbes and the staff at NSC are hard at work gathering signatures for a land proposal through the Delaware River Port Authority. The threeacre grass lot, two acres of which the project hopes to use, is located at Seventh and Bigler streets, just half a mile from the Emily Street home base. Their fervor is propelled by a $1,000 community micro-grant awarded at January’s Philly STAKE awards dinner. “What would be ideal is if we start with these lots in the neighborhood, and build up our community support, we could potentially use the Port Authority lot for next year,” explains Forbes, a distant look and hopeful twinkle in his eyes.  NSC will host a fundraiser to support “Growing Home” on Wed., May 11, from 5:30- 8 p.m. at José Pistola’s, 263 S. 15th St. To find out how you can get involved or support the project, email aforbes@nscphila.org. For more on the Nationalities Service Center, visit nationalitiesservice.org.

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The Laws Have Changed I How Rob Fleming and Philadelphia University are writing the rules of sustainability education. story by Brian Howard photos by gene smirnov

Not the university where they’re pursuing their degrees, per se (though that case is easy to make, too), but the net-zero energy school that each group is designing for the site of a vacant brownfield—the remains of an old U.S. Gypsum plant—adjacent to Southwest Philly diamond in the rough Bartram’s Gardens. One group has imagined a small college; its campus doubles as an environmental education center and graduate research facility, and capitalizes on the site’s amazing upriver vistas, while obscuring views of the decommissioned refinery on the opposite bank. A second group has dreamt up a high school that incorporates a riparian forest to shield the campus from nearby industrial sites and an exterior wall that both collects sunlight and allows

STUDENTS AT WORK standing Rob Fleming From left Steve

Thomas, Mamta Borkar and Jeff Lappin in the SEED Center studio


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t’s an overcast March Thursday in the open mezzanine studio of Philadelphia University’s Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design (SEED) Center, and the students in professor Rob Fleming’s Sustainable Design Studio are gathered around blueprints and architectural renderings. They’re talking, occasionally heatedly, often animatedly, about how to save money here, how to get a little more sunlight there, and which direction the wind is blowing. This is the hard work of making their schools better.

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it to pass through. A third group has conceived a charter school, complete with glass roof, flex classrooms, a boathouse, a boardwalk connecting to the Schuylkill River Trail, an orchard, bee hives, habitat nesting areas and a pledge that the school itself be an educational tool. A fourth group works on a K-through-5 school with pre-K that was to be presented at this month’s Brownfields 2011 conference. As impressive as the diversity of the projects is the diversity of the groups: The charter school team, for example, is made up of Heather Park, an interior designer; Mamta Borkar, an architect; Steve Thomas, a teacher; and Jeff Lappin, a cabinet maker. The high school team includes architect Gage

IN THE HUDDLE From left Allison

Moore, landscape architect Chris Mendel from Andropogon and Associates, Jenny Whitson, Missy Demaio and Gage Duran.

Duran and interior designers Missy Demaio, Allison Moore and Jenny Whitson. The university team is composed of architects Peter Dunne and Dominic Cacioppo, math teacher Sarah Wood, landscape architect Julia Dougherty, construction specialist Sonam Shah and international relations expert Caroline Park. The K-5 team is composed of architects Guruprasad Pandit and Rodrigo da Silva, civil engineers Rishi Kakad and Fatima Balkis Hassane, architectural engineer Andrew O’Dom, interior designer Jill Konigsbauer and landscape architect Pinar Busra Salmon. It’s this interdisciplinary approach, perhaps more than anything else, that makes Philadelphia University’s M.S. in Sustainable Design unique among the sudden proliferation of university sustainability degree programs. Begun in 2007, the program is directed by Fleming and taught by professors Robert Fryer and Chris Pastore with an army of fellows—design professionals contracted from working firms. In the traditional process of making a building, architects and designers create the design, engineers make that design function, and contractors provide value engineering to bring a project within budget. Like a very expensive game of whisper down the alley, the original intent can get lost in translation. “We try to have everybody together solving a problem in the very first week,” says Fleming. “In sustainability, it’s all about the first 1 percent.” This emphasis on truly integrated design and early collaboration is a hallmark of a program the university started from scratch with the specific goal of throwing conventional wisdom to the wind. “I don’t want to have a program that greens the mainstream,” says Fleming. “The problem with ‘greening’ is that you take your normal consumptive behavior and mitigate it, but you’re still on that trajectory toward exhaustion of resources and the destruction of nature. We need to redirect the stream correctly. You don’t use any of the old rules—they’re what got us in trouble in the first place.” So unlike some universities that tack a week or two of green lectures onto pre-existing curriculums, Philadelphia University’s program was grown from the ground; so much so that, in its infancy, it wasn’t even on campus, existing in an old textile mill in Manayunk. (Keeping with this theme of reuse, the program’s current home, the

SEED Center, is a re-imagined gymnasium.) “Right now we’re in a culture where fossil fuels are relatively cheap; electricity is relatively cheap,” says Fleming. “Five years from now, we’re going to be looking at a different system. So the things that our students are designing right now, we’re looking at that five-year, 10year curve.” It’s an approach that seems to be working. With just a few graduating classes under its belt, the M.S. in Sustainable Design has already landed two alums, Alex Dews and Adam Agalloco, in high-ranking positions at the city’s Sustainability office.

You don’t use any of the old rules— they’re what got us in trouble in the first place. —Rob Fleming


t’s either fascinating or painfully predictable that the proverbial seeds of this program were sowed in 1969. At Woodstock. “I was 5… and I hated it,” recalls Fleming, laughing in his first-floor office at the SEED Center. “It was no place for a 5-year-old. But the thing that I learned was that amazing things can happen if the will and the idea is there.” Which is, in a way, the story of Fleming’s early life. When he was 6, as large swaths of the city’s white population were migrating to the suburbs, Fleming’s parents—a nature-loving mother and a mathematician/engineer father—moved from the ’burbs back into the city; first to the mostly Hispanic neighborhood at 20th and Green and later to the primarily African-American neighborhood of Powelton Village. “I really was raised in an integrated community where I got to understand that people are generally good,” says Fleming. He was educated in one of the era’s progressive public schools where there was no grading system. “It was learning for the sake of learning, with a lot of collaborative work.” The experience clearly made an impression. Those principles—many of which would be decried in the wake of No Child Left Behind’s may 20 11

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Rob Fleming with students

Ecosystems sometimes need to burn down and come back again in a new form. In history, there are recessions when major changes are happening in societies. Right now, we’re changing from fossil fuels to renewables. It’s a different model, and I don’t know if it’s quite there yet. —Rob Fleming


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obsession with scores and accountability—are core principles of the University’s program. Collaboration is emphasized, but not just as a buzzword. Ownership of ideas is downplayed in favor of problem-solving. Fleming attended Temple University where he received his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1987. “One of my first projects was to design a beach house that was off the grid—not because they wanted to be sustainable, only because there was no grid,” he recalls. “This was back in the ’80s, my design had a wind turbine, water collection, south-facing windows—I guess there was the DNA of sustainability already there.” After graduating, Fleming spent seven years at Francis Cauffman Foley Hoffmann Architects. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s got to be more than this.’ I just told them, ‘I’m going to Japan for a month, I don’t know if I’ll be back.’ I wanted to understand the relationship of buildings and nature. There was a different kind of architecture there. I needed to see that.” He returned to the States, quit his job and in 1995 began work on his Master of Architecture degree at Virginia Polytechnic and his thesis, “The Seeds of Sustainability.” “I wanted to know what the origins of sustainability were,” says Fleming. “Were there other architects who were doing this but just weren’t talking about it? Like Frank Lloyd Wright, was he a sustainable architect? It took me a while to graduate; I don’t think sustainability was something that was recognized back then. To their credit, they eventually let me out.” People seem to get sustainability now. After a 60- or 70-year stretch—essentially since World War II—of American society believing science could free it from nature, much of the population is coming to terms with the fact that our Jetsons and jet-pack ideals of the future were folly. “I use the word reconciliation. We’re reconciling our relationship between us and the natural world,” says Fleming. “I wouldn’t trade the 20th

century and all the progress and technological process, because we need it. We teach that as part of an evolutionary path toward where we’re heading. I argue that we’ve left the age of industry and we’ve entered the age of ecology.” Fleming says he can pinpoint exactly when that transition happened: 2005. “With Hurricane Katrina we were connecting our actions to larger impacts on the natural world. Gasoline was $4 per gallon in this country. Al Gore’s movie, whether you liked it or not, had a big impact. There’s the Iraq war, which has been associated with fossil fuel. And then George Bush, a guy elected on oil, says we have to end our addiction to foreign oil.” Fleming likens the recession of 2007-2008 to a forest fire. “Ecosystems sometimes need to burn down and come back again in a new form,” he says. “In history, there are recessions when major changes are happening in societies. Right now, we’re changing from fossil fuels to renewables. It’s a different model, and I don’t know if it’s quite there yet.”


t’s this new model that Philadelphia University’s program is trying to prepare students to work within. Students are being taught to design beyond LEED (“I love LEED, I love that we’re in a LEEDrated building. That’s a good start,” says Fleming). The next threshold is the Living Building challenge. Unlike LEED, it doesn’t have points; your building’s either a living building—waterand energy-neutral, with all materials either generated on site or with no bio-accumulated toxins—or it’s not. Back in the studio, the teams are conferring, solving problems and, importantly, trying to get their projects under budget. Though Fleming preaches that sustainability should never be about money (because it should be about priorities, he emphasizes: “We use money as a way to say ‘no’”), he realizes that there’s an idealistic side of this equation, and a practical side. Without a balance, it’s all for naught. “Students are designing to budget,” he says. “If you want to have money for solar panels and geo-thermal, you’ve got to make the building less expensive, which means you can’t do all the fancy stuff you’d normally do in design school. … If you’re a sustainability professional and you don’t get the money part, you can’t be in that conversation. If you can’t have all that stuff under control mentally, then you can’t have that argument. We’re trying to train them to get ready for that.”  Rob Fleming and Chris Pastore host a weekly sustainability Internet radio show, “Ecoman and the Skeptic,” at philau.edu/ ecomanandtheskeptic. For more on Philadelphia University’s M.S. in Sustainable Design, visit philau.edu/green.

sustain your mind at penn

Why Penn? Because we want you to pursue your passion and combine it with purpose. You have a precious opportunity to explore broadly and focus on what matters most. Amy Gutman, Ph.D.

President, University of Pennsylvania

Whether you’re an urban farmer in the Northern Liberties or you’re buying organic on the Main Line, you’ll find a community of committed, inquiring, and engaged adult students at Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies. Complete your bachelor’s degree, earn a cross-disciplinary master’s degree in the liberal arts or environmental studies—or take a course for career or personal development in more than 50 fields of study, from anthropology to environmental studies to urban studies. Our flexible scheduling, in partand full-time programs, fit even the busiest schedule.

www.sas.upenn.edu/lps or search

penn lps

Walk-In wednesdays

Meet one-on-one with a recruitment specialist — no appointment needed

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The four-story biowall in the atrium of Drexel’s under-construction Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building



A sampling of local universities’ sustainability-minded courses, degrees and on-campus programs compiled by my le bui

Drexel University

La Salle University

As part of its Drexel Green initiative, the engineering powerhouse is striving to make the campus a sustainability leader with programs such as greenhouse gas inventory, green building assessments, smart grid implementation, and water- and energy-reduction initiatives. Student groups include Drexel Smart House (a “living lab” for designing a better urban home), an energy club and a branch of the Sierra Club. The university also runs a bike share program. More at drexel.edu/green.

In March, the Christian Brothers’ school hosted its inaugural Sustainability Symposium devoted to a holistic approach to sustainable development. The school's food services has undertaken a sustainability initiative including responsible procurement from food to EcoLogo towels and napkins, reduced energy consumption and oil recycling.

The Programs: BS, MS, PhD in Environmental Science MS, PhD in Environmental Policy BS in Urban Environmental Studies MPH in Environmental Health Great Works Symposium: an interdisciplinary course, with many courses available with a concentration in sustainability issues (visit drexel.edu/green/research/courses.htm)

Philadelphia University An old gymnasium was converted into the Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design (SEED) center specifically to house PhilaU’s graduate sustainability programs, including future offerings in Interior Architecture and Real Estate Development. The school’s Sustainability Committee works with the Student Organization for Sustainable Action (SOSA) to educate the university community on green practices. It also boasts the Engineering and Design Institute, a research center for green materials, design and outreach. The Programs: Online Graduate Cetrificate in Sustainable Practices BS in Environmental and Conservation Biology BS in Environmental Sustainability MS in Sustainable Design (See p. 28) BS in Engineering with concentration in Environmental Engineering


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The Programs: BA in Environmental Science with concentrations in Biology, Policy and Natural Science

Saint Joseph’s University The Jesuit institution’s 2009 statement on sustainability describes it as a matter of faith as well as good policy. The school has embarked on food, energy, recycling and transportation initiatives aimed at waste reduction and efficiency. Student groups include a sustainability club and GREEN COW (Get Ready for Environmental Education Now Conserve Our Wildlife), which has pushed the university toward the use of cage-free eggs. The Programs: BA in Environmental Science with concentrations in: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Environmental Policy

University of the Sciences The school has partnered with Practice Greenhealth to provide sustainability training for its pharmacy students. The Program: BS in Environmental Science

The Path is Yours: Penn’s MES program

Shaping a Future: Temple’s MLA program

Penn’s choose-your-own-adventure Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program provides its students with impressive flexibility— banishing any taint of stuffiness implied by ivy-covered halls. Offered through the University’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies, the interdisciplinary degree draws on Penn’s full range of graduate resources, and is open to both full- and part-time students interested in environmental issues. Students can select one of six specific concentrations for study, which include Environmental Advocacy and Education, Environmental Biology, Environmental Health, Environmental Policy, Resource Management and Urban Environment. But Penn also offers students the opportunity to develop their own curriculums, allowing scholars the freedom to tailor their studies to fit individual needs and environmental passions. The program’s interdisciplinary approach encourages participants to take classes at the Wharton School, Law School, Engineering School, School of Design, School of Nursing, School of Arts and Sciences and at the Fels Institute of Government. Overachievers may also consider the MES Special Programs, which grant a second degree in either business or governmental administration on top of one in environmental science. Super overachievers may apply for admission into the International Environmental Management program and will be granted degrees from the Ecole des Mines de Paris in France and Tsinghua University in China in addition to their Penn diploma. Full-time students can expect to earn an MES in less than two years while part-timers can expect to receive a degree in approximately four years. Classes are held both during the day and in the evening to accommodate busy work schedules. The College of Liberal and Professional Studies even offers regular “Walk-In Wednesdays” for students interested in meeting with recruiting specialists. That’s beyond flexible; it’s bending over backward. —Char Vandermeer

North Philadelphia’s brownfields might not be the first place an aspiring landscape architect looks to study, but Philly students have a gem in their proverbial backyard. Founded in 2010, Temple University’s Master of Landscape Architecture program emphasizes ecological landscape restoration by equipping graduates to make creative and scientific design choices based on specific ecological conditions. Temple’s program is one of only five in the nation to emphasize restoration, and it’s the only one in the East. Graduates not only learn necessary design, horticultural and technical skills; they gain a deep understanding of woodland and wetland ecosystems, native plant communities, and invasive species management. The program’s integrated approach stresses understanding a region’s natural characteristics so that graduates’ design work can mitigate or even reverse negative human impact. Students learn to increase regional biodiversity through hands-on experience in the field and the studio. Participants study stream bank stabilization, wetland restoration, industrial brown field remediation and urban reforestation—all of which help restore and strengthen local ecosystems. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts tough competition for landscape architects seeking work with large firms, it also predicts that employment is likely to grow much faster for landscape architects than the average for all occupations; in fact, employment opportunities in the field are expected to increase by 20 percent between now and 2018. In the late 19th century, Temple founder Russell Conwell famously promised Kristen Brown giving a his students they could find “acres of presentation at Temple. diamonds” in their own backyards. Students in Temple’s MLA program likely understand that Conwell’s promise was a figurative one, but the idea—a focus on local surroundings—still resonates. —Char Vandermeer

University of Pennsylvania As part of its Green Campus Partnership, the Ivy Leaguer has implemented sustainable purchasing, design, waste, emissions, energy and, with White Dog Community Enterprises Farm-to-Institution program, local food initiatives. Student groups include Engineers Without Borders, Eco-Reps, International Sustainability Association and Farm­ ecology. The school’s T.C. Chan Center provides continuing education for professionals in the building energy and technology fields. More at upenn.edu/sustainability. The Programs: Minor, Sustainability and Environmental Management MSinEnvironmentalStudieswithconcentrationsin:EnvironmentalAdvocacyand Education,Biology,Health,Policy,ResourceManagementandUrbanEnvironment (see above) International Multi-Master of Environmental Management Certificate in Environmental Policy in Environmental Studies (law) Certificate in Environmental Science in Environmental Studies (law) Certificate in Ecological Architecture (architecture)

Penn MES Alum Virginia Ranly in the field. Virginia is the director of education at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.

Temple University In addition to a veritable flotilla of green-minded degree programs, the North Broad behemoth boasts a rigorous campus recycling program (from bottles and cans to batteries, bags, chemicals and waste oil), numerous sustainability student groups (including a branch of Engineers Without Borders) and a community garden. The Temple Office of Sustainability has already well exceeded its goal of getting 3,000 students to take its sustainability pledge by Earth Day. More at temple. edu/sustainability. The programs: Minor in Corporate Social Responsibility (Fox) BS in Civil Engineering with concentration in Environmental Engineering BS in Engineering Technology with track in Environmental Technology MS in Environmental Engineering Graduate Certificate in Stormwater Management MS in Environmental Health MPH Public Health with concentration in Environmental Health PhD in Public Health with concentration in Environmental Health & Health Policy MLArch in Landscape Architecture (see above) MS in Community and Regional Planning with optional concentration in Sustainable Community Planning and Transportation Planning Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Sustainability Graduate Certificates in Sustainable Community Planning and Transportation Planning BA in Environmental Studies Minor in Environmental Studies BS in Environmental Science

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Wonderful Machines words and pictures by neal santos


hoto finishes are all but guaranteed in the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, an annual design competition and informal race celebrating sculpture, art and human-powered transit. Currently led by Henry Pyatt of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), the derby and concurrent Trenton Avenue Arts Festival were expressly designed to

show off homegrown artistic ingenuity while stimulating local, sustainability-minded businesses. ¶ Photographer Neal Santos (who’s also a partner at Farm 51, farm51. wordpress.com) followed two teams using salvaged and recycled components in creating their respective entries into the sculpture derby, which takes place “sprinkle or shine” on Saturday, May 21, noon to 5 p.m.




merald Street Urban Farm team is led by captain Mat Shiley, a collector and modifier of bike parts and scraps. Members of this team (who took home a Best Costume win at last year’s derby) will utilize found objects in costumes addressing their theme: genetically modified foods. For more information, visit emeraldstreeturbanfarm.wordpress.com

1 The ESUF team meets to discuss its theme. 2 Elissa Russe (right) pauses while riding. 3 Team captain Mat Shiley rides on Hancock Street in the Northern Liberties/ Fishtown area of Philadelphia.



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2 3

4 The ESUF team poses with its modified bikes. 5 Colored pencils and sketches spread across the table during a meeting. Their costume theme this year is intended to be “informally educational� about genetically modified foods.


6 Courtney Dozor and Anders Morholt help carry down bikes for a test ride. These bikes are all modified, welded and assembled from a random assortment of found/scrap/ donated bikes acquired by team captain Mat Shiley.



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Bike Works


he Neighborhood Bike Works team consists of a small group of youth members, with artistic direction and leadership from the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program in West Philadelphia. This year’s theme is inspired by the megalodon, an extinct species of shark. Many of the bike parts and costume supplies have been sourced from Neighborhood Bike Works’ basement. For more on Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW), a nonprofit program that promotes youth development through bicycling, visit neighborhoodbikeworks.org. For more on the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence, a program that provides studio space to West Philly artists in exchange for community service/activism, visit 40streetair.blogspot.com/.



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1 Plans for the megalodon theme are taped to the wall of NBW’s work space in West Philadelphia. 2 Marcus Payton-McNair holds a model of the team’s idea of the megalodon. 3 The NBW team.


4 5

6 4 Jim Garvey holds up tires in the basement of St. Mary’s Church, which houses hundreds of donated and salvaged bicycles. 5 Repurposed bottles are saved by the NBW team to be used in costumes and diagrams. 6 Saleem Coates holds helmet decorations in place.

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urban naturalist

One Tough Nut

by bernard brown

Can the chestnut tree make a comeback?


ou know Chestnut, the street that runs west to east between Market and Walnut? Have you ever seen a chestnut tree? Locusts, pines, spruces and walnuts are all around, even if you’ve never noticed them. But you’d be hard pressed to find a chestnut tree. They’re almost all dead. Back when William Penn named Philly’s streets in 1682, the chestnut was as common as the oak and maple, making up something like one-quarter of our upland hardwood forests. Chestnuts were big: shooting up as tall as 100 feet from the ground with trunks bulging up to 10 feet in diameter. Into the early 20th century they gave us sturdy lumber and yummy nuts, and were common enough to make their way into an enduring Christmas reference (the chestnuts you can roast today come from overseas). Then the trees—virtually all 4 billion of them—started dying from an introduced chestnut blight; their bark puffed up in a lethal cracking, girdling ring. By the 1940s, they were gone. We are witnessing an age of extinction, much of it wrought by exotic agents we have unleashed upon virgin species. Case in point: Right now the woolly adelgid (a tiny Japanese insect) is slowly sucking the life from the Pennsylvania state tree, the dark, brooding eastern hemlock. The fate of the American chestnut reminds us of what is at stake, of the hole left in the landscape and our culture when something so ordinary as to be taken for granted is erased.

The American chestnut isn’t quite extinct. I nearly tripped over a sapling last summer on the side of a ridge a couple hours north of Philadelphia. I’m a big fan of a tree called the chestnut oak, which grows thick on that mountainside; the long, toothed leaves on this sapling, however, weren’t quite right. After a moment of staring at it, it hit me. The chestnut oak was named after the chestnut because, presumably, at the time everyone knew what a chestnut tree looked like. It’s telling that in this instance I had to make the identification in reverse. I took a few photos and kept hacking my way back to the car. On my next trip, now able to recognize them, I saw more popping out of the forest. (Previously, I couldn’t see the trees for the forest?) It was enough to make me believe in a chestnut comeback—except for the malignant swelling that marred the ones wider than a few inches.   You, too, can see Chestnut saplings on your next hiking trip. Nearly 100 years after the blight swept through our forests, hundreds of millions of saplings spring from the fading root systems of their strangled, majestic former selves, lingering like ghosts, hoping to see justice done.

Want to help the American chestnut in its comeback? 38

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Their champion, the A rare American Chestnut spotted American Chestnut Founin Ricketts Glen dation (ACF, manned by State Park in hundreds of incredibly paLuzerne County tient volunteers), has been crossing our trees with blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts. They then repeatedly breed the offspring back to our trees to end up with trees that are, genetically, 94 percent American chestnut, but that carry the blight-resistant genes from the Chinese trees. Keep in mind that it can take a decade or more for a chestnut tree to produce nuts, making for a glacial-pace breeding process. It turns out I should have grabbed a few leaves on my hikes. Saplings identified by hikers can expand the ACF’s genetic base. If you want to see the American chestnut coming back, head for Old City. The once mighty tree is taking one small step in its return through a sapling recently planted in the park below Independence Hall. The wee little tree has a lot of growing to do before we can declare it a complete success, but it shows that hope survives even in the midst of extinction.  bernard brown is an amateur field herper, parttime bureaucrat and director of the PB&J Campaign (pbjcampaign.org), a movement focused on the benefits of eating lower on the food chain. Read about his forays into the natural world at phillyherping. blogspot.com.

Plant a tree, log wild saplings, even get involved in the breeding effort. Check out the Pennsylvania chapter of the ACF for more information: patacf.org

phot o by Nichola s A. To nel l i


May is Magical



by char vandermeer

Let the warming weather cast its spell

ay is that lovely month when your garden is a sea of tender shoots, awash in almost unnatural greens and bathed in light. Your fingernails are suspiciously and unsatisfactorily clean, the dirt is fresh and fertile, and garden pests and pestilence are but distant nightmares. In short, May is a time of hope. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Breathe in the warm spring-scented breezes and think positive thoughts. This is your garden’s year to shine. Repeat after me: May is magical. Of course, May is only magical after soil temperatures climb over 60 degrees. When this finally happens, it’s time to transplant your selfstarted tomato, pepper, eggplant and melon seedlings (or garden center starts) and to direct-sow heat-seeking crops like beans and cucumbers. Generally, indoor starts are ready for the great outdoors when they’ve developed two to four true leaves. The first tiny “leaves” to appear are not leaves at all. They’re called cotyledons, and they provide the seedling with food during its early development; these miniature shoots will lack the definition and characteristic shapes of the true leaves to follow. Once your plants are flaunting those big-plant leaves, it’s time to begin toughening up the darlings for the big bad urban world. This two-week process— people call it hardening off— is one of the fussier aspects of growing your own, and is generally unnecessary for garden center finds. It’s worth it, though, as precious starts may be shocked and (gasp!) stunted if they hit the dirt without time to adjust for the extreme contrast between indoor and outdoor growing conditions. For the first few days, stick the starts outside for a few hours, in a sheltered location out of the sun’s direct line of vision. If you’re lazy, or have a full-time job that precludes neurotic plant-sitting, lock them in a room and open the widows. After a few days of that, increase their outdoor exposure and include some direct sun, making sure they’re well-watered— but continue to bring them in at night. For the last week, continue increasing their exposure to direct sun. If overnight low temperatures are holding steady above 45 degrees, begin leaving them out overnight. After performing the seedling shuffle for a couple of weeks, they’ll be ready for transplanting. To gently remove the seedling from its container, run a dull knife along the edge of the container. Tap the bottom of the pot while supporting the surface dirt in the palm of your hand; the stem of the lucky seedling should rest

gently between your fingers. Once freed from its pot, loosen the base of the root ball to stimulate root growth, stick the plant into a container and fill it with soil. Tomatoes (unsurprisingly) are a little more finicky. While most plants are transplanted to the depth of their existing soil line (where the plant sticks above the soil in its starter vessel), tomatoes demand extra attention. To encourage a vigorous root system and strong stem, strip the lower leaves off the plant. Place the plant deeper into the pot, leaving only the top third of the seedling exposed. Roots will develop along the portion of the stem you submerged, and the plant will grow up to be sturdy and strong. A quick word about melons: If you’re planning on transplanting them, be especially careful not to disturb their delicate root system in the process. Because their roots are so fragile, many folks direct-seed melons; however, they take a while to ripen, and you may have better luck come harvest time if you buy a few extra weeks of May growing time. Cucumbers, beans and root vegetables are all candidates for direct sowing into well-moistened soil. For cucumbers and beans in particular, it’s important to wait until soil temperatures are holding steady at 60-70 degrees, as these veggies need a warm environment to germinate. Root vegetables do well in cooler soil, but cannot tolerate being transplanted. Bean seeds should be planted about one inch deep, cucumbers 3/4 to ½ inch, and smaller seeds, like carrots and lettuce, should be planted to a depth of ¼ to ½ of an inch. After all that, crack open a beer or stir up a martini. Take a sip. Gaze over your greenery. Summer has arrived.  char vandermeer tends a container garden on her South Philly roof deck; she chronicles the triumphs and travails at plantsondeck.com.


GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES A COLLABORATIVE, MULTIDISCIPLINARY LEARNING EXPERIENCE “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


www.PhilaU.edu/greengrid may 20 11

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michael brune

by shaun brady

Standing Tall Michael Brune, West Chester alum and head of the Sierra Club, talks up the state of environmental activism


ierra Club executive director Michael Brune celebrated his one-year anniversary on the job the way any self-respecting environmental agitator would: picking a fight with unfriendly legislators. On Feb. 10, Brune announced that the Club was launching a new campaign to battle GOP efforts to block Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rules. Brune stopped to assess his first year at the helm in preparation for a visit to his alma mater, West Chester University, for a lecture sponsored by the WCU Sustainability Advisory Council, Chester County Sierra Club Committtee and Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection. We caught up with him to talk about coal, clean air and water, toxic messes and New Jersey. So March marks one year for you as the Sierra Club’s executive director. What is the state of the Club’s union?

We just celebrated the defeat of the 150th proposed coal plant in the United States, which is significant because coal is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, the largest source of mercury poisoning in the country, and [the source of ] thousands of tons of toxic wastes in our air and water and atmosphere every year. So, by stopping the construction of new coal plants, we’re also allowing for clean energy development to accelerate around the country. That’s probably the biggest victory that we’ve had. Your most recent initiative has been to fight Republican attempts to weaken the EPA’s authority. Where does that stand now?

We’re faced with some significant threats to the EPA’s authority coming from Congress, and that’s our top priority moving forward. The bill [H.R. 1] passed the House, but we don’t think it has any chance of getting through the Senate, and certainly not past the President’s desk. So, we see it as just another example of our opponents being out of touch with the majority of the American public, who actually want the EPA to do its job, and want to protect public health and make sure that we have clean air and water. We have been mobilizing Sierra Club members in every state around the country to pressure their legislators not just to defend the EPA’s authority, but to make sure that the standards that the EPA is enforcing are updated and relevant for the 21st century. 40

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Why is this legislation in particular such a top priority for the Club?

Because we have the EPA to thank for preventing literally thousands of deaths every year from air pollution and water pollution. The pollution that comes from oil refineries or coal-fired power plants or industrial facilities across the country are significantly reduced because of the work that the EPA does to make sure that companies are following the law. I think the thing that most people don’t know about the EPA is that when it issues these rules, it does so in a way where not only are we preventing more deaths or preventing more people from getting sick, but we’re doing it in a cost-effective way. We’re literally saving money at the same time that we’re saving lives. The reason there are so many attacks on the EPA is because oil and gas and coal companies are threatened by what they do, and so they’re fighting hard to maintain the status quo. How do you deliver this message beyond the ears of Sierra Club members so that you’re preaching to more than just the choir?

Just by making very clear that the solutions that the Sierra Club is proposing will make a very positive impact on the lives of everybody in our country. If you care about clean air and clean water, then the Sierra Club’s your friend. If you care about parks and wilderness areas and preserving healthy forests, then you should be standing with the Sierra Club because we stand for those values too. A lot of times our opponents will attempt to vilify us as being anti-American or antibusiness, when we’re anything but. The Sierra Club is made up of Republicans and Democrats,

people from rural and urban areas, and we have a very broad purpose of trying to make our country and our planet a better place to live. With so many threats to our environmental well-being, how do you set priorities for the Club?

The top priority for the organization is to fight climate change and in doing so to move our country beyond coal. As I mentioned before, coal is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, it is the dirtiest form of energy that we have, and it also is holding us back from creating more jobs by developing clean and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. So that is in fact the biggest priority for the Sierra Club in our history—we’ve got more staff and volunteers devoted to moving America beyond coal than we’ve ever had. The other thing that we’re working to do is utilize technology to connect with individual members and supporters as effectively as we can. The Sierra Club is the largest grass-roots environmental group in the country and so we want to make sure that all of our volunteers and supporters have the tools they need to organize in their own communities. Where does your personal interest in the environment stem from?

I grew up in New Jersey, which is both a beautiful place to live and also the scene of probably some of the most toxic places in the country. So I had phot o by L ori Ea nes

both the benefit and burden of seeing the consequences of good organizing that helped protect some beautiful places, and also bad industrial behavior that helped to destroy other beautiful places. My wife and I have two young children now, so I think every day about the world that they’re growing up in and there’s no shortage of motivation to try to make it a little safer, a little healthier and just as beautiful a place as it was when I was growing up. You’re about to return to speak at your alma mater. What did you learn at West Chester that has benefited your work with the Sierra Club?

Well, I studied economics, finance and accounting at West Chester, so what I credit my time there with is helping me to understand how the business community thinks and works so that the solutions we’re proposing here at the Club help to respond to the economic needs that we have as a country. It’s been very important for me being in the environmental movement to have a grounding in economics so that we can think about what a more just and sustainable economy would look like.

think that has a bad environmental footprint. I will confess that I do have a deep longing for a larger television screen and I’m waiting for an energy-efficient one to come on board. I travel a lot, so my wife says that I have to stay at home enough to get a big screen, but I’ve been thinking that once the baseball season starts it would be nice to have a bigger screen to watch it on.

As an environmental figure, do you have any guilty pleasures?

The thing that I think many folks don’t know about the Club that really makes it unique is that we’re volunteer-led. There are more than 10,000 volunteers at the Sierra Club who have titles. There are more than 70,000 volunteers who are spending at least 15 hours a week with the Sierra Club. So last year when the oil spill happened I found myself down in the Gulf several times throughout the spring and summer, and it was fascinating to meet with some of those Sierra Club volunteers. One person had worked on an oil rig for 35 years, but he loved the Gulf and knew what it would take to hold oil companies accountable; he knew where the shortcuts were. Another volunteer in the same group was a marine biologist and had been studying the effects of smaller oil spills on marine mammals in the area. Another volunteer used to run a commercial fishing operation and took me out on his boat. So I think the great thing about the Sierra Club is you have people who don’t get paid, who don’t get their names in the newspaper or their faces on TV, they have their day jobs, and on weekends or nights or vacation hours, they’re taking whatever time they can to learn about their environment and about their community and to figure out how to make as much of a difference as they can. I find the fact that people have such a pure sense of ideals and are working selflessly to try to advance them really inspiring.

I do have a weakness for ice cream but I don’t

Coal is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, it is the dirtiest form of energy that we have and it also is holding us back from creating more jobs by developing clean and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. —michael brune photo c o u rte sy o f t he S ierra C lu b

Do any stories come to mind that illustrate the work of the Sierra Club on a more human, less abstract level?

When we look back on your 10th anniversary in the position, what do you want to be telling us?

I’d like to say in 10 years that we are getting more of our power from clean energy sources than dirty. In 10 years we should be getting more power from solar and wind than we are from coal and oil and nuclear power. If we can do that in 10 years, then maybe I will go off and write my memoirs and have a vacation on a beach.  For more on the Sierra Club or to join, visit sierraclub.org.

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Artist in Nature: Observational Drawing for Adults Participants in this multi-level drawing class will hone their hand skills, while exploring the vast range of plants and wildlife present at the Schuylkill Center through discussions and slide lectures. Artist Mary French, a lifelong nature lover and painter who has been teaching for over 22 years, will instruct.

Earth Day Events

06 27


30th Anniversary Run for Clean Air 16 5K The 5K Run for Clean Air and Earth Day Celebration is here once again! This run is a community effort to raise awareness about air pollution; specifically how it triggers respiratory problems like asthma. The run aims to decrease this pollution by raising money for programs that reduce waste and slow down global warming. Through paperless registration, recyclable chips and reusable race bags, the annual run aims to be a zero-waste event.

→→ Weds., April 6, 13, 20 & 27, 9 a.m. – noon,

four-class series $85-100, The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd., to register email scee@schuykillcenter.org or call 215-482-7300


Go West! Craft Fest spring with all things craft 09 Welcome in West Philadelphia. Shop affordable handmade goods from local artists including eclectic jewelry, ceramics, prints and paintings, adult and children’s clothing and accessories, locally made baked goods, soaps, hula hoops and more. Live music, a special kids program and an all-day bike sale at Firehouse Bicycles are also on tap. →→ Sat., April 9 (rain date April 10),

noon – 5 p.m., FREE event! Cedar Park, 50 St. and Baltimore Ave., for more information contact gowestcraftfest@gmail.com and visit gowestcraftfest.blogspot.com


Driving a Sustainable Practice Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) for 14 Join a breakfast discussion on incorporating sustainable practices into your organization. A panel, featuring UPenn Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Daniel Garofalo and Philadelphia Eagles Chief Operating Officer Don Smolenski, will share their experiences. Stay until the end for networking opportunities. →→ Thu., April 14, 8 – 10 a.m., Lincoln Financial

Field, 1 Philadelphia Way, RSVP by April 7. For more information and to register, contact Linda Jones at Linda.k.jones@us.pwc.com or 267-330-1436


Screening of Economics of Happiness 17 The This film describes a world moving in opposing directions: towards massive expansion, big business and globalization, while simultaneously rebuilding communities and supporting localization. Hear voices from across six continents, including Vandana Shiva and Bill McKibben, and prepare to challenge what you believe is possible to build a better planet. This is one of 42


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3rd Annual Uhuru Earth Day & Flea Market in Clark 16 Fest Park One of West Philadelphia’s most popular flea markets will make its triumphant return to celebrate this year’s Earth Day. Enjoy local crafts, art, clothing, food and drink vendors, plus live music and guest speakers. The event will also feature workshops on sustainability, green living, urban gardening and social justice. Bring the whole family and stay all day. →→ Sat., April 16 (rain date April 17), 9 a.m.

– 5 p.m., FREE event! Clark Park “B”, 43 St. and Chester Ave., for more information, visit uhurufleamarket.blogspot.com

→→ Sat., April 16, 7:30 a.m., $25 by April 11,

$30 day of, Martin Luther King Dr., for more information and to register, visit 5krunforcleanair.org


ANSP Earth Day Celebration Academy of Natural Sciences 22 The will host its own Earth Day event, showcasing important research into the environmental health of streams, lakes and estuaries. Attendees can participate in four special events: Tools of the Trade, Testing for Toxins, Meet Real Environmental Scientists and Eco-Action Expo, in which they can learn more about environmental research and initiatives. →→ Fri., April 22, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., FREE


Earth Day Volunteer - Wissahickon 16 Event Carl Ewald, organizer of the Earth Day Volunteer Cleanup, is teaming up with the Fairmount Park Commission, Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers, Philadelphia Rock Gym and the US Fish and Wildlife Commission to host a massive cleanup in honor of Earth Day. There will be three main locations for cleanup: Wissahickon Valley, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and their newest site, Ralph Stover State Park. →→ Sat., April 16, 10 a.m. for Wissahickon,

FREE event! Meet at Wissahickon Valley Park, for more information, visit meetup.com/Adventurers-in-Action/ events/16494586/

with general admission, $10 - $12, The Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, for more information, visit ansp.org/earthday/ index.php


2011 Earth Day of Service Urban Tree Connection, 30 Join DVGBC, Earth Force, Philly Food Forests, NKCDC, EKNA and Mural Arts as they get their hands dirty constructing an urban organic vegetable garden at the LEED Platinum Kensington CAPA High School. The day will also include the creation of a mural; volunteers are invited to work on one or both projects. →→ Sat., April 30, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., FREE

event! Kensington CAPA High School, 1901 N. Front St., for more information, visit muralarts.org/event/2011-earthday-service

only a handful of North American screenings, sponsored by the Food Bank of South Jersey. →→ Sat., April 17, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., $20, Rave Mo-

tion Pictures Ritz Center, 900 HaddonfieldBerlin Rd., Voorhees, NJ, for more information, visit theeconomicsofhappiness.org and foodbanksj.org/events.html#thought


An Evening with Tim Flannery Dr. Tim Flannery is an 19 Conservationist internationally acclaimed scientist and award-wining author who chronicles the effects humans have on the world’s ecosystems in his book, Here on Earth. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him speak about the true relationship between humans and the earth at this ANSP lecture. →→ Tue., April 19, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. FREE event! The

Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., for detailed info, visit flanneryhereonearth.eventbrite.com


Innovative Agriculture the 21st Century 28 for Join sustainability experts at this lecture focusing on modern farming techniques that produce high yields, but rely on large amounts of resources and chemicals. Learn about the cutting-edge techniques some growers are using to incorporate more earth-friendly practices into their farming. This lecture is part of “Feeding the Future: Food, Agriculture and Land Use in Uncertain Times,” a series emphasizing food and farming issues. →→ Thu., April 28, 6 - 8:30 p.m., FREE event! The

Academy of Natural Sciences Main Auditorium, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., for more information or to register, visit innovativea-



April 29, Seeds of Discent an exciting year since his ap01 After pearance in Grid, Philadelphia urban farming activist and writer, Nic Esposito will celebrate the release of his first novel, Seeds of Discent at Studio 34 in West Philadelphia. The night will include a multi-media story telling of the book, a musical performance by an exciting collaboration of Philly-based musicians, and local fare. Come see what happens when literature meets sustainability. →→ Fri., April 29, 8 p.m., $5 suggested

donation, Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore, Ave., for more information, visit seedsofdiscent. wordpress.com


3rd Annual EV-ent in Macungie The cars of the future are on display at this all-electric auto show, returning for its third year to Macungie Memorial Park. There will be opportunities for individual Q&A and a panel discussion with electric vehicle owners.


→→ Sat., April 30, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., FREE event!

Macungie Memorial Park, 50 Poplar St., Macungie, Pa., for more information, contact macungieevent@gmail.com


Flavors of the Avenue samples of signature dishes from 30 Enjoy award-winning restaurants all along East Passyunk Avenue at this local-centric event. Participating restaurants include Birra, Cantina los Caballitos, Izumi, Le Virtu, Salt and Pepper and many more. After the Flavors event, there will be an assortment of trunk shows and demonstrations at businesses along the Avenue. Purchase tickets by April 25 to receive $5 off. →→ Sat., April 30, noon - 5 p.m.,


DVGBC Best of Greenbuild and Design Competition 28 Sustainable Awards Ceremony An educational half-day conference featuring regional thought leaders, plus fresh talent in the world of sustainable design. Connect with 200 fellow green building supporters on the networking garden and vendor floor; accomplish your continuing education credits and expand your knowledge of regional perspective from guest speaker Secretary Colin O’Mara of Delaware’s Department of National Resources and Environmental Control. →→ Thu., April 28, 3:30 – 8 p.m., $15 - 45, Fed-

eral Reserve Bank of America, 121 N. Seventh St., for more information and to register, visit dvgbc.org/education/best-of-greenbuild

VIP Hour noon – 1 p.m., VIP $50, General Admission $30, 1628 E. Passyunk Ave., for more information and to purchase tickets, visit visiteastpassyunk.com/flavors.htm


Second Annual Green Fair 01 Interfaith Connect faith to action in this workshop highlighting the ties between spiritual values and the environment. Topics include home energy costs, neighborhood sustainability and environmental action. This workshop is open to families, children, teens and seniors. →→ Sun., May 1, 1 – 5 p.m., FREE event!

Germantown Friends Meeting, 47 Coulter St., for more information contact lknapp@netreach.net


PennFuture’s 2011 NE Global Warming 01 Pennsylvania Conference This conference seeks to raise awareness on how global warming will not only “wreck recreation,” but our jobs, economy and environment as well. A forum featuring experts on global warming will offer suggestions on fixing the problem and separate fact from fiction. →→ Sun., May 1, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. $10 admis-

sion fee (includes lunch), free for PennFuture members, The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, 1 River Road, Shawnee on Delaware, Pa., for more information and ticket sales, visit my.pennfuture.org/site/ Calendar?id=107241&view=Detail


Cinco De Mayo at Elmwood Park Zoo 05 the Take the tiger (of environmental responsibility) by the tail at this Cinco De Mayo celebration with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. Tour the Zoo’s new greenroofed pavilion, meet and mingle with fellow Bucks- and Montgomery-county professionals and even offer suggestions for improving the Zoo’s stormwater management system. →→ Thu., May 5, 5 - 7:30 p.m., $10-25,

Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown, register by May 2, visit dvgbc.org/elmwood-park-zoo


Monthly Macrobiotic Potluck potlucks are held the first 07 Macrobiotic Saturday of every month at the Strengthening Health Institute (SHI), a macrobiotic education center with a mission to promote health and well-being through cooking classes and seminars. Please RSVP at least three days in advance, and bring along a macrobiotic vegan dish to share. →→ Sat., May 7, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., FREE event!

The Strengthening Health Institute, 1149 N. Third St., for more information or to RSVP, please contact Briel at 215-238-9212 or Briel@strengthenhealth.org, strengthenhealth.org


Southwark Queen Village Community Garden 07 Spring Plant Sale 08 Embrace the colors and scents of spring at this annual event benefiting the Southwark Queen Village Community Garden. Offerings include herbs, vegetables, hanging pots, heirloom tomatoes and baked goods. A great opportunity to find a unique Mother’s Day gift! Cash only. →→ Sat. May 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sun., May

Got an event? E-mail getinvolved@gridphilly.com.

8, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Christian Street, between Third and Fourth, visit swqvgarden.org

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Vegan Cooking at Farms 14 Greensgrow Dig vegan food, but don’t know how to prepare your own? Rachel Klein, owner of the all-veg lunch-delivery service Miss Rachel’s Pantry, is here to help! Join her at Greensgrow’s new outdoor kitchen as she guides participants through the ins and outs of preparing delicious vegan fare.


The Green Town 10 Country This event, named for William Penn’s dream for his city, will feature a panel discussion of Philadelphia history moderated by Drew Becher of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Panelists include Inga Saffron of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eugenie Birch of the University of Pennsylvania and Pete Hoskin of Laurel Hill Cemetery. Every attendee will have the chance to offer their suggestions for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, a digital information project presently in its planning stages. →→ Tue., May 10, 6:30 p.m., FREE event! The

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 100 N. 20th St. for more information, visit events. allaroundphilly.com/philadelphia-pa/events/ show/167578805-the-green-country-town#


First Annual Ultimate Chef the Enterprise Center for this ben11 Join efit event in support of their $5.1 million Center for Culinary Enterprises. Modeled on the popular Food Network mano-a-mano cooking show Iron Chef, this display of culinary prowess will feature a five-course tasting menu highlighting the evening’s secret ingredient. Competitors include Michael Solomonov (Zahav), Jennifer Carroll (10Arts), Brad Spence (Amís) and Chip Roman (Blackfish). As seating is limited, be sure to purchase your ticket before May 3. →→ Wed., May 11, $500,

the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY, Independence Mall West, 150 N. Sixth St., for more information, visit philafood.org/ultimatechef


→→ Sat., May, 14, noon – 1:30 p.m.,

may 11

SA VA Spring Fashion Show and Community Street Fair

Score the first look at SA VA’s new spring collection at their Nature Worship Spring Fashion Show & Community Street Fair, spanning the 1700 block of Sansom Street and featuring special guest speakers and a DJ. This event will help sponsor the Career Wardrobe, a non-profit that empowers women transitioning into the workforce. →→ Wed., May 11, 6 – 8 p.m., FREE event!

1700 block of Sansom Street, for more information, visit sbnphiladelphia.org/ events and shop.savafashion.com


Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St., for more information and to RSVP, contact kitchen@greensgrow.org with “Vegan Cooking with Rachel” in the subject line, greensgrow.org

may sep

Fore! The Planet The Academy of Natural Science’s newest exhibit, Fore! The Planet: A Putt-to-Learn Adventure, opens today with your chance to play miniature golf and learn environmental lessons. Each hole in the course uses colorful graphics and playful components to engage children and teach lessons on dinosaur extinction, recycling, pollution and more. The exhibit will run through September 24 and is free with regular museum admission.

21 24

→→ Sat., May 21 – September 24, 10 a.m. – 5

p.m., $10 – 12, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for more information, visit ansp.org

Green Schools & Expo 12 Conference Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Program, will be the keynote presenter at this event. Horst will discuss the creation of sustainable learning environments for students, teachers, staff and administrators. Do not miss the opportunity to learn how you can make an impact in student performance and health through sustainable classroom improvements.

Local Food – Safe Food: It to Market 23 Bringing Another installment of the Academy of Natural Sciences’ “Feeding the Future” series, this event will address the difficulties local growers face when marketing their products to the public. Experts on agriculture, health and food policy will present ideas for increasing the availability of local foods while ensuring consumer safety.

→→ Thu., May 12, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.,

→→ Mon., May 23, 6 p.m., FREE! event, The

$15-55, Penn State Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd., Center Valley, to register online, visit dvgbc.org/civicrm/



Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for more information and to register, visit localfoodsafefood.event-


Race Street Pier Promenade new Race Street Pier will officially 11 The open to the public on May 12, but here’s your chance to preview the outdoor park before the big reveal. Local restaurants will provide light fare; Yards Brewing, Asonia Wines and Luksosowa Vodka will bring the libations. Live entertainment will also set the mood, and the evening will end with a fireworks display. Ticket proceeds will benefit arts programming on the waterfront.

Useful Urban Plants Walk the spring season, the city 14 During grows lush with green plants, herbs and wildflowers. Take a tour of the Northern Liberties area with staff from the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Botany Department, and listen as they demonstrate the ecological and morphological aspects of both native and introduced plants. Be prepared to get down and dirty!

May 26, Pennypack Farm Annual Community 26 Second Appreciation Dinner This celebratory event will honor Bob Pierson as Founder of Farm-to-City, and Jocelyn Crosby as Pennypack Farm Volunteer of the Year. Celebrate their achievements by coming out to enjoy a cocktail hour, seasonal dinner highlighting the farm’s bounty, and locally produced beer and wine.

→→ Wed., May 11, 6 – 9 p.m., $150, Columbus

→→ Sat., May 14, 10 a.m. - noon (rain date: May

→→ Thu., May 26, 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., $50, Spring

Blvd. at Race St., for more information and to purchase tickets, visit racestreetpier.com


22). $15 - 20, for more information, visit



Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland, for more information, visit

pennypackfarm.org/Get-Involved/ Community-Appreciation-Dinner/113 44


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trash to treasure by terrie lewine


s a holistic health care provider in the city, it has been my goal to understand why people are not able to sustain their wellbeing. I’ve discovered that human health follows similar patterns as ecological health—life cycles! But it can be hard for us urbanites to notice these cycles; they’re hidden beneath the asphalt. Since they are critical to good health, I wanted more of my life to follow these cycles. But don’t worry, I’m not about to get all mystical on you. I’m talking about my rooftop garden! It all started about four years ago when I moved to Northern Liberties. I started with a few containers, some herbs, tomatoes and a fig tree I brought with me. I was hooked immediately. I got more containers, which meant more dirt—and carrying it up three flights of stairs. It is heavy! And, worse, I had to drive to Home Depot to buy it, and it came in big plastic bags that went into the trash. As my garden grew, I got creative. Rather than throw my food waste into the disposal (where it would end up in the river mixed with sludge), I wanted to compost it. I have only a concrete backyard, so I took a class in worm composting. I started with a 12-gallon container in my kitchen 46


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and 1 pound of worms. I discovered that they ate not only my kitchen waste, but the paper waste from my business and all the corrugated cartons from my deliveries. Now, I have three 18-gallon worm bins. It’s what I need to turn all my paper waste into garden soil, plus I get about 50 gallons of worm “tea” each year. While I do love my worms, I am deathly afraid to touch them, so I wear gloves. Luckily, they are very low maintenance as “pets” go. Every two weeks I feed them and cover them with more paper things. Twice a season, I empty the bins of their compost. I’ve also given some worms to friends to start their own bins. I now have a new commitment. My goal is to put out recycling (and trash) only once a month— from both my residence and my business. This requires some help. Because I don’t have enough

food for my worms, I have made relationships with some local businesses. I get wonderful organic vegetable kitchen waste from Essene Café; I get coffee grounds from Rocket Cat Café; and I pick up spent grain from Yards Brewery. Not that I really make a dent in their organic waste, but it feels pretty nice to have created a relationship with my neighborhood businesses that’s reduced my waste to landfills or recycling by 75 percent. The best thing is that my relationship to the earth—to wind, sun, rain—is changing. Elements that used to be inconveniences mean something new to me now. 

Terrie Lewine is a network chiropractor, relationship coach and proprietor of Northern Liberties’ Back to Life Wellness Center (getbacktolife.org), and a founding member of Green Village Philadelphia (greenvillagephiladelphia.org). She is developing the 2012 Philadelphia Health Festival (philadelphiahealthfestival.com, site active next month), a week-long event designed to widen the perspective of what activities lead to good health.

i llust rat i on by meli ssa mcfee ters



• Be one of the first 25 people on April 21 or 23 to bring your own bottle to get a FREE 2X Sun & Earth laundry detergent refill (up to 50 oz.). Must bring your own bottle to get free refill.



• $4 (50 oz. laundry detergent refills) all day long during both events. • Super Deals on 2X Sun & Earth laundry detergent refills during both events.


• Unique annuals and perennial that you won’t find anywhere else



• Organic and locally grown using compost tea

• Super-recycling days for e-waste, blue jeans, and cell phones

• Guaranteed to brighten anyone’s home and/or garden, including yours

• Dozens of local artisans displaying their uniquely Philadelphia artwork • Local non-profits supporting and uplifting Philadelphia’s neighborhoods



Thursday, April 21, 2011 The Shops at Liberty Place Rotunda (1625 Chestnut St.) 11:00 AM-2:00 PM


EARTH SaturDAY, April 23, 2011 South Street (between 9th & 10th Street) 11:00 AM-5:00 PM



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Profile for Red Flag Media

Grid Magazine May 2011 [#026]  

Towards a Sustainable Philadelphia

Grid Magazine May 2011 [#026]  

Towards a Sustainable Philadelphia