Composting in South Loop Made Easy

Have you been thinking about composting but just can’t swing it where you live? Good news! Now there is way to keep your food scraps out of the landfill without undertaking your own composting operation! Jon Scheffel has launched his Healthy Soil Compost service, which offers customers two ways to return food to soil, for a small fee.
1) Bring your food scraps to the South Loop Farmers Market every Thursday 4-8p.  (Until October 8).
2) Sign up for year-round at-home pick-up service

Drop-off Fee Info: Starter kits of $7 with 2-gal or 5-gal containers (or use your own container); Drop-off prices per volume of material: 2-gal = $4 and 5-gal=$7. Anything less, please make a donation to the service.

Interested? Ways to contact Jon:
Visit: South Loop Farmers Market (see hours, location below)
Phone: 312-927-4778
Website (currently under construction):

People’s Choice Winner

Our Veggie Chili Cook-Off was really fun. We came, we tasted, we savored and we supported the environment. Here’s one of the winning recipes, Gail Merritt’s 3-Bean Chili, People’s Choice


Gail’s 3-Bean Chili

Better if made 1 day before serving

Ingredients (approximate). Go organic if you can. ;]
Olive oil for sautéing
2 onions, chopped medium-fine
2 carrots, chopped medium-fine
5 cloves garlic, smashed+minced fine+smashed to paste with salt
4 Roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled, chopped medium
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1.5 qt vegetable broth
3 c. each: (cooked) cranberry beans, kidney beans, black beans
Spices (salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, curry powder)Process:
Sauté onions, carrots, garlic over medium heat until cooked.
Add to large pot: vegetable broth, tomato paste, tomato sauce, stir until well-mixed
Add veggies, beans, fresh tomato
Add spices to taste.
Slow simmer to thicken up/cook fresh tomatoes.

Mango Chutney Garnish

 (adds heat, color, sweet)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped fine
Equal part red pepper, chopped fine
Equal part red onion, chopped fine
Equal part green onion, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced superfine/smashed with salt
Leaves from 1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
2 cups mango, peeled, chopped medium
Lemon juice


Swag and swagger!

Swag and swagger!

Someone will be going home with both at the end of the Veggie Chili Cook-Off competition on Monday, March 31. Will it be you?
This Monday – March 24 – is the last chance to register your chili entry!

Besides bragging rights, winners of the Judges’ Choice and the Peoples’ Choice awards will be taking home an amazing artisan-made prize and either a Native Foods’Celebrations cook-book or $50 gift card. Plus, just like every other person who registers for the event – either with a chili entry or as a chili eater – they will be entered in a raffle for prizes donated by our 2014 MMM! participating restaurants. You don’t need to be a culinary expert to enter. Just someone who isn’t shy of a little challenge in the kitchen, and who likes fun with friends and neighbors. Don’t miss the chance to be named the maker of the best veggie chili and take home all the swag and swagger! Register your killer veggie chili for our Veggie Chili Cook-Off, now! Then, let your friends and neighbors know – so they can register, too. Every registered chili eater gets a vote in the Peoples’ Choice chili competition and entry into the raffle.

Veggie Chili Cook-Off
March 31, 6-8pm
Daystar Center, 1550 S. State St.
Join friends and neighbors as we cook, taste, and crown the best vegetarian chili in town. We’ll have beer on hand and raffle prizes from the South Loop restaurants participating in MMM!
Best of all, the proceeds will go toward a South Loop community garden.
Everyone who registers – as a chili entry or eater – is entered to win raffle prizes donated by our 2014 MMM! participating restaurants.

PLEASE CLICK HERE for details and to register.
Chili entry registrations due Monday, March 24.
Chili eater registrations due Sunday, March 30.end Event

Why a veggie chili?

Lots of people don’t know that eating less meat is a great way to be kind to the environment. Better than recycling, even. When we eat less meat we help reduce our carbon footprint, we help reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, and we help reduce water usage.  So eating less meat? Good for us; Great for the environment!

Action Opportunities in this Edition

Earth Hour: Saturday, March 29
South Loop Composting, April 3
2nd Ward Spring Clean and Green, April 26
Chicago River Day, May 10

Earth Hour 2014: Saturday March 29, 8:30pm

New this year. Turn off your lights for one hour on March 29 at 8:30pm AND contribute to projects that are delivering tangible results.
The aim of Earth Hour has always been to go beyond one hour. This year the program is introducing Earth Hour Blue. It is all about the collective effort of individuals around the world getting together to help fund or add their voice to support on-the-ground environmental and social projects – that deliver real, tangible outcomes. Take one of the actions below to get involved:

South Loop Composting
April 3, 6pm

Join friends and neighbors in the South Loop to learn how we can bring composting to our buildings and community. Please email us to let us know you are interested. We’ll be in touch with you about details.

2nd Ward Spring Clean and Green
April 26, 2014  9am/12pm 

Ready to pitch in to make our community a little cleaner and a little greener? Ald. Fioretti’s office would love to hear from you. Contact  Marcia Travlino, 2nd Ward Volunteer, at 312-263-9273.

22nd Annual Chicago River Day
May 10, 2014 9am/12pm 
Join Friends of the Chicago River for the 22nd annual Chicago River Day!  Everyone can help out!  Friends welcomes individuals, families, schools, corporate teams, scout troops, community and conservation groups to take part in Chicago River Day.

Signing up is as easy as 1-2-3
1. Go to the Chicago River Day site registration
2. Pick a site near you or one of particular interest
3. Register for your site online by clicking on the registration button for your site

Then show up the morning of May 10 with a smile and ready to get a little dirty making the river a lot cleaner.

South Loop | Greener Together Event

Ride your Bike for a Week wins our 5th Annual Greener South Loop Award

The project will launch in January, culminating with Ride Your Bike Week Scheduled for April 21-25, 2014. The project proposes that students, teachers, staff, and community members ride bikes – or take public transportation – for one week, with prizes, celebration, and recognition to make it a fun and engaging project. Bike safety (education) and bike racks are part of the winning project.

“The judges loved the idea of getting kids excited about doing a project that is both healthy for them and the environment, and that they can do with their teachers, parents, school staff, and even community members,” said Aaron Joseph event Master of Ceremony and Deputy Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago.

“We are so honored and excited to be chosen,” said Delia Bleahu, project lead. “We did not expect to win. This is great!”

The Ride Your Bike for a Week proposal was submitted by Delia Bleahu, Youth Guidance/Extended Day Instructor and Kelly Smoots, Youth Guidance/Assistant Resource Coordinator at South Loop Elementary School. Youth Guidance is an organization committed to creating and implementing school-based programs that enable at-risk children to overcome obstacles in their lives.

The Alliance for a Greener South Loop will be working with Delia and Kelly to explore the many ways the South Loop can support and participate in this fun – and green – project.


Video by Hannah Rajnicek, Columbia College Chicago journalism student and South Loop resident

September Newsletter

Here we are in September –  the start of fall, the start of a new school year, the start of our new newsletter format – the start of so many things!
Including the PR for a new contest for greening the South Loop. See details below for the South Loop | Greener Together Contest.

Also in this issue:
Resources for Going Greener
Green Apple Day of Service
Bike the 2nd Ward

South Loop | Greener Together Contest

The search for the most engaging and green community project for the South Loop

Are you always looking for ways to go greener by … riding a bike more? Recycling more? Composting? Using more energy efficient fixtures?

Do you wonder if you might be able to do more if you combined your efforts with your friends, neighbors, or co-workers?

Have you had an idea scratching at the back of your mind of something fun to do with them – to all go greener together?

If you answer “yes” to any of those questions, the Alliance for a Greener South Loop has just the incentive to help you take a next step in going greener:


This year, for the 5th anniversary of our Greener South Loop Awards, we will be awarding a $1000 cash prize to implement a winning plan that engages folks to go GREENER TOGETHER in the South Loop.

The South Loop | Greener Together Contest will award the money to winner of the most engaging and green community project design for the South Loop. Let’s break that down. . .

  • What’s “engaging?” – a project that lots of folks will actually participate in
  • What’s “green?” – a project that makes an environmental impact, by contributing to the City’s Sustainability Plan.
  • What’s a “community?” – any group of folks who have something in common: living, working, going to school, or playing. Work in the South Loop? It’s your co-workers. In school in the South Loop? It’s fellow students (or their families). Play in the South Loop? It’s your gardening club or softball team members (for example). Live in the South Loop? It’s your neighbors, members of your condo or town home association, etc.

To sum it up, contenders for the prize will be project designs that engage folks in the South Loop to work together on a project that contributes to the City’s Sustainability Plan. The winning project will have a clear environmental focus, a way to actively engage community members, a budget, and a four-month implementation timeline. The winning prize of $1000, funded by our contest sponsors, will be awarded to help implement the project.

The contest will launch in mid-October, but we wanted to give you a heads-up so you can get yourGreener Together ideas churning. How can YOU use $1000 to go greener, together?


Resources for Going Greener

Looking for ideas and inspiration for ways to go greener, together?

Alliance member Roosevelt University is hosting their second annual Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago event, November 1-3. According to participants, last year’s inaugural event was both inspirational and practical, the best kind of event. Click here to learn more about this year’s event.

ALSO: Check out our Resources page on our website for a directory of organizations and businesses that can inspire, guide, and support your efforts.

 The Green Apple Day of Service, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, gives parents, teachers, students, companies, and local organizations the opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects.Although no South Loop school is registered officially for this event with the U.S. Green Building Council-Illinois, we wanted to use The Green Apple Day of Service idea to invite you to reach out to a South Loop school, to volunteer to help with one of their “green” projects.
Or let us know where you might volunteer, and we can put you in touch with the right person(s):
Daystar School, 1550 S. State Street
Jones College Prep, 700 S. State Street
Old St. Mary’s, 1474 S. Michigan
Perspectives Charter, 1930 S. Archer
South Loop Elementary, 1212 S. Plymouth Court
South Loop Early Childhood Learning Center, 1915 S. Federal Street

Bike the 2nd Ward with Alderman Fioretti, Sunday, September 29, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

Alderman Fioretti will lead riders on a 17-mile leisurely bike ride to see scenic and historical sites in the current and new 2nd Ward.

and End Point: Fairlife, 1001 W. Adams Street.

Ride Begins: 9am sharp, please arrive no later than 8:30.

Biking in the South Loop

5 June: Bikes!

If you live, work, or play in the South Loop, you probably have a pretty good idea of how getting around on a bike would make life so much sweeter (not to mention increasing your “friend of the environment” quotient exponentially).
Going north AND south, on wheels, on Dearborn Street? Sweet!
Not dealing with Jewel’s or Whole Foods’ parking lot congestion? Sweet!
Getting to the lakefront and having lake breezes cool you off? Sweet!
But lots of things can get in the way of taking maximum advantage of biking fun in the city.
Now is a great time to be – or become – a Chicago biker.

Bike-to-Work Week 2013: June 10-13

Join thousands of others on a bike commute to work, during Chicago’s annual Bike-to-Work week. Riding with others is more fun than going solo, and also helps alleviate some of the anxieties of city biking, if you are not a regular bike commuter. Check out this website for more information about how you can join a team or create one to have some friendly competition during the week.

The Alliance is partnering with Roosevelt Collection to support bike commuters at the South Loop pit stop,150 W Roosevelt Road – Center Plaza. We’ll be passing out goodies, encouragement, and Alliance information while being part of a rolling good time. The pit stop is open from 6am-9am, Monday June 10. Please roll by to join in the fun!

DIVVY Bike Sharing comes to Chicago!

Have you signed up for Chicago’s new bike sharing program? Bike stations are scheduled to open this month, and there is one near you. Really. It’s easy to sign up and it’s easy to find a bike station, many in the South Loop. For those of us that live, work, and play in the South Loop, and don’t have a bike, it will be so easy to become a regular biker on our community’s new bike lanes! When will YOU ride south on Dearborn Street on a Chicago city-blue DIVVY bike?

MMM! Thanks

Thanks to our participating restaurants that helped make the 2nd annual Meatless Mondays in May a success:
* Amarit Thai, 600 S. Dearborn
* Brasserie by LM , 800 S. Michigan Ave.
* Cafecito, 26 E. Congress Pkwy
* Curry House, 899 S. Plymouth Ct.
* Epic Burger, 517 S. State St.
* Flacos Tacos, 725 S. Dearborn St.
* Hackney’s, 733 S. Dearborn St.
* SRO – Standing Room Only, 610 S. Dearborn St.
* Tapas Valencia, 1530 S. State St.
* Zapatista, 1307 S. Wabash

Earth Day 2013

It’s S P R I N G, and there’s so much to talk about.

20 April: South Loop Clean & Green. 

Celebrate earth day by helping clean up the South Loop! Tools and snacks will be provided. Please bring your own water bottle and gloves if you can.

  • Clean & Green in theSouth Loop
  • Mark Twain/Women’s Park, 18thand Indiana
  • Grant Park, Columbus and Roosevelt
  • PrintersRowPark,Dearborn and Polk
  • South Loop School,1212 S. Plymouth Ct.

RSVP by April 17th to 312-263-9273 or

Earth Day 2013

Got time for a few other earth friendly ideas this weekend? Here are a few suggestions:

Picnic for Earth – Earth Day at Millennium Park

4/20 – 11am-3pm

Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch on the promenade with the family. Kids will enjoy face painting and a hat making workshop with Rad Hatter. Plus, food, sustainable cooking demos and live music. Nature Conservancy staff will be on hand to share how and where they work locally and globally. Our earth friendly Ghaby of Ghabit will be on hand. Register at

Earth Fest – Oak Park

4/20 – 10am-2pm

Get ready to learn about green living at Oak Park’s fourth annual Earth Fest, which fittingly takes place at the suburb’s Public Works Center, a gold LEED-certified building. The festival’s goal is to educate the public on how to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into everyday living. Last year’s events included tips on how to compost and recycle. Organic farmers and local restaurants will be on hand during the event to inform the public of their environmental practices. This is a family-friendly event, with children’s activities planned.

Earth Day Family Fun Festival – Sod Room

4/21 – 10am-noon

Celebrate Earth Day! Come for live music, storytelling, crafting, snacks and fun.

Within Reach Film Screening – Overflow Coffee Bar

4/23 – 7-9pm

Overflow Coffee Bar, is hosting a film screening with discussion afterwards. Register, and enter a raffle!

About the Film Within Reach

Mandy and Ryan have given up their corporate jobs and their traditional houses to “bike-pack” thousands of miles around the USA, looking around as they look within.

Their journey and their film has answered the question that they and many others are asking: Is it possible for all of us to live in a sustainable way? After circling the country, and talking with over 20,000 people they have found that not only is it possible but its already underway…

Watch the Trailer.

Earth Hour in the South Loop

Earth Hour 2013 is this Saturday

March 23rd, 8:30pm


The idea behind EARTH HOUR is that everywhere — business, home or school — turns off the lights for one hour at the same time on the same day to raise awareness of climate change. Let’s turn off our lights in the South Loop and show that we care about our neighborhood.

Email your photos of the LIGHTS OUT in the #SouthLoop, and we’ll share them on our Facebook page.

Earth Hour 2013: Uniting People to Protect the Planet


Recycle Your Old Cell Phone for Earth Hour in the South Loop

Dare the World to Save the Planet. Hundreds of millions of people around the world turn off their lights for one hour on the same night, to focus on the one thing that unites us all – our planet. Join us for this year’s Earth Hour challenge, March 23rd, 8:30pm. (

I Will

The Alliance for a Greener South Loop will bring your old computer/cell phone to Chicago’s Computer Recycling Depot for you

If You Will

Turn your lights off for one hour on March 23, 8:30pm and drop off your old computer/cell phone to Overflow Coffee Bar, 1550 S. State St. , from March 9-22.

Take the pledge

That’s it. It’s that simple. Drop off your computer equipment and we’ll bring it to the recycling depot for you. But just for these two weeks. And if you turn off your lights for Earth Hour, March 23, 8:30pm.

Email or call  312-504-3538 if you have any questions.

Accepted materials at Chicago’s Computer Recycling Depot are:

  • all computer related equipment (monitors, mouse, hard drives, CPU’s, computer cables, keyboards, laptops, etc.)
  • cell phones
  • fax machines
  • scanners
  • printers/copiers
  • DVD players
  • MP3/digital music players
  • PDAs
  • VHS players
  • Video game consoles
  • Zip drives
  • Computer cables

Chicago ’s Computer Recycling Facility
1150 N. North Branch St.