Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gotham Greens to Add 'World's Largest Rooftop Farm' to Pullman Soap Factory By Mark Konkol on October 7, 2014 4:18pm @KonkolsKorner Gotham Greens 75,000-square-foot greenhouse atop Method's soap factory in Pullman could produce 40 jobs and up to a million pounds of produce per year. PULLMAN — Vacant land where railroad mogul George Pullman built palace cars and Joseph Ryerson’s company later fabricated steel soon will be home to new industry that's environmentally friendly and literally green. Eco-friendly cleaning products maker, Method Products, plan to top their new Pullman soap factory — which will be partially powered by solar and wind energy — with the “worlds largest rooftop farm,” a 75,000-square-foot greenhouse run by Gotham Greens. By this spring, the rooftop farm — Gotham Green’s first outside New York City — is expected to hire 40 workers and begin growing up to 1 million pounds of vegetables and leafy greens per year that the company expects to harvest and package the same day it’s sold at local farmers markets and stores. In New York City, Gotham Greens specializes in hydroponically grown gourmet leafy lettuce, herbs and tomatoes, including butterhead lettuce, bok choy, arugula, Swiss chard and a variety of cherry tomatoes. "This is an exciting opportunity to bring fresh, healthy produce year-round to Pullman, which is underserved for food, and going through an exciting resurgence in economic development,” Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri said. The dual-use factory project is the latest part of a slow-but-steady interest in the Pullman Park site near 111th and the Bishop Ford Freeway, which is anchored by WalMart. Method, which sells its cleaning products at Target and Lowes, could start making soap at the Pullman factory in January. Last month, Method installed an on-site windmill and solar panels that will produce about half the soap plant’s energy needs. Recently, construction started on an Advocate health center and urgent care in the strip mall parking lot. “There will be doctors offices and outpatient care that’s really needed in the community,” said project developer David Doig, president of Community Neighborhood Initiatives. On Tuesday, Doig was at the Chicago Deal Making Conference at Navy Pier courting restaurants that he hopes to lure to Pullman Park. “Development is incremental, but we’re trying to line up other tenants and get some restaurants here,” Doig said. “With Method, Gotham Greens and Walmart we’re probably close to 700 to 800 employees working here. Where will those people go to eat. And if Pullman gets designated a National Park, where are all those visitors and tourists going to eat. We’re going to need a lot of restaurants. That’s the pitch I’m making today.”

Starve a Landfill --Efficiency in the Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste

Starve a Landfill -- Efficiency in the Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste -- By KIM SEVERSONMARCH 3, 2015 SEATTLE — The nation’s first citywide composting program based largely on shame began here in January. City sanitation workers who find garbage cans filled with aging lettuce, leftover pizza or even the box it came in are slapping on bright red tags to inform the offending household (and, presumably, the whole neighborhood) that the city’s new composting law has been violated. San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t. In a country that loses about 31 percent of its food to waste, policies like Seattle’s are driven by environmental, social and economic pressure. But mandated composting reflects a deeper shift in the mood of the nation’s cooks, one in which wasting food is unfashionable. Running an efficient kitchen — where bruised fruit is blended into smoothies, carrot tops are pulsed into pesto, and a juicy pork shoulder can move seamlessly from Sunday supper to Monday’s carnitas to a rich pot of broth for the freezer — is becoming as satisfying as the food itself. The ethos stretches from Manhattan’s best restaurants to the homes of people like Kathleen Whitson, 44, who cooks for her family of four in West Seattle. Ms. Whitson, who didn’t discover fresh garlic until she was out of college, now drops vegetable trimmings in a compost bucket on the counter and keeps a list of what’s in her chest freezer on the refrigerator door. A stockpot simmers on the stove and kombucha ferments in the pantry. She cooks more like her grandmother than her mother, a woman she said raised her to believe in the magic of processed food. “In spite of the fact that it drives me crazy sometimes, I can’t imagine cooking any other way now,” Ms. Whitson said. “It just makes me feel better. Like, I love knowing I have raspberries from our yard in the freezer.” To be sure, the cook’s pursuit of thrift and efficiency is not new to American food culture. Sausage, home-churned butter and fermented cabbage were as much delicious foundations of farm life as they were essential to Depression-era survival. Homemakers during World War II considered themselves soldiers of the kitchen, with conservation their battle cry. In the 1970s, ecology drove the urge to make good use of kitchen waste. Somewhere along the line, the art of kitchen efficiency was lost amid grocery stores packed with pre-made pizza shells, bagged lettuce and fruit so perfect it needed no knife work. Dinner was almost as likely to come from the drive-through or the new corner bistro as from the stove. Continue reading the main story How were home cooks supposed to know what to do with a leftover chicken carcass if they didn’t know how to roast the chicken in the first place? Now, in this era of nose-to-tail eating, by-catch seafood suppers and farmers’ markets, the discarded is becoming delicious. “We are starting to really celebrate the curve of the vegetable,” said the Atlanta chef Steven Satterfield, “and not peeling things and showing off a little of the tap root or the green on the top of the radish to remind you of where the vegetable came from.” His new book, “Root to Leaf,” is a deep study of vegetable cookery, with instructions for making stocks from corn cobs and mushroom stems. Wasting less in the kitchen is just smart economics, said Dana Gunders, a project scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council whose book, “Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook,” comes out in May. Eating better may cost more, she said, but an efficient cook can make up the difference. “We are so price sensitive in the store, and 10 cents will swing us one way or other,” she said. “But in the kitchen we throw out so much money without even thinking about price.” Reducing food waste is moving so quickly into the cultural mainstream that it ranked ninth among the top 20 food trends on the National Restaurant Association’s annual “What’s Hot in 2015” list, based on a survey of almost 1,300 chefs. Imperfect fruits and vegetables are being promoted by grocery stores and organizations like, whose social media campaign includes a stream of misshapen produce photographs on its Twitter feed, @UglyFruitAndVeg. In October, the organization helped create what was billed as the Woodstock of food waste in Oakland, Calif. — a meal for 5,000 people from food that would have otherwise been thrown out before it made its way to the grocery store. Later this spring, a former Trader Joe’s executive will open Daily Table, a restaurant and grocery store in Roxbury, Mass., that is dedicated to ugly fruit and food past its sell-by date. Even in Europe, where classic dishes like pot-au-feu or the Tuscan soup ribollita sprang from a history of kitchen efficiency, 2014 was declared the year against food waste, a move that came six years after the European Union lifted its ban on selling produce that was knobby, excessively curved or otherwise misshapen. Last year, the French grocery chain Intermarch√© took things one step further and started a campaign to celebrate and sell what it called “inglorious fruits and vegetables” with special pricing and ads. Dan Barber, the chef and author, is so dedicated to ending food waste that he is turning his Greenwich Village restaurant, Blue Hill, into a pop-up in which every dish is based on waste. It’s an extreme extension of what many chefs already do. “The best restaurants today are focusing on how to utilize what’s unknown and largely uncoveted,” Mr. Barber said. “That has turned dining on its head so fast we tend to not even recognize it.” For his project, which begins on March 13, Mr. Barber and his cooks are putting kale ribs into a pressure cooker and turning them into vegetable rice and deep-frying skate bones with fish-head sauce for dipping. He has created a burger from the vegetable pulp left over from a fresh juice company. He tops it with cheese trimmings from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont and serves it with pickles made from cucumber butts and ketchup rendered from beets rejected by plant breeders at the University of Wisconsin. Even the food left on diners’ plates at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, his restaurant in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., feeds the restaurant’s laying hens. A list of the country’s best chefs have volunteered to do cameos at Mr. Barber’s pop-up this month. One of them is Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad in Manhattan. Considering how to use all the food that comes into Mr. Humm’s restaurants is a constant concern but offers opportunities for innovation. For a while, he was preparing a broccoli dish that produced copious amounts of stems. They became a gratin for the staff meal. “Then I started liking the stems better,” he said. “If you cook it right, it’s as great as an asparagus. We ended up just using the stems for the dish and serving the florets to staff.” Mr. Barber admits that waste is perhaps not the best selling point on a menu, but he hopes that if he can inspire his fellow high-end chefs to turn it into something delicious, using waste will trickle down to the menus at restaurants like Ruby Tuesday, and into home kitchens, too. Some cooks are already there, particularly a generation of millennial cooks enamored with D.I.Y. projects, kitchen hacks and social causes like hunger and agricultural reform, said Brandi Henderson, an architect who became a pastry chef and blogger. She teaches about 40 cooking classes a month at the Pantry in Seattle, a city whose environmental sensibility made the composting mandate less controversial than it might be in a city like New York. Many of her students are younger and interested in everything from how to coax the best out of a handful of beans to making jams and salami. They care as much about where the ingredients come from as what’s going into the garbage. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Like other cooking teachers and authors, she has shifted her emphasis to a kind of freestyle, technique-based instruction that is untethered from recipes. “So much home kitchen waste is from people shopping from a recipe,” she said. “Someone will use that weird curry paste once and then won’t have the confidence to think: ‘Hey, this curry paste is really good. I’m going to make some fried rice with it or saut√© some shrimp.’ ” So, she teaches the mechanics of a pan sauce, the science behind braising and a pie class in which pie is presented as a formula with endless variation. She recommends “The Flavor Bible,” a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg that features no recipes but encourages intuitive cooking using lists of ingredients and complementary flavors and techniques. “If we leave the recipe behind and get back to technique cooking,” she said, “kitchen waste will go away.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

282 Acres Along Lake Calumet Opens To the Public

Great news!!! 282 acres at Lake Calumet will be open to the public as part of the Millennium Reserve projects in the community!

After years of collaborating with other organizations to gain public access to Lake Calumet, the effort has come to fruition.  Now, people other than golfers, will be able to enjoy a view of Lake Calumet not seen from other vantage points.   There also plans to do shoreline restoration work and add water activities.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deep Tunnel Tour Almost Washed Out!

The rain came down hard and long the morning of our Deep Tunnel Tour.  We were afraid we would have to cancel.  As expected, it did impact our tour.  Our coach bus was not allowed to drive down into the quarry because of the steep, wet incline of the road.   Our tourists had to be satisfied with seeing and listening from the observation deck 400 feet above the quarry.

We were almost barred from the Deep Tunnel itself because it had to be on standby because of the rain.  But thanks to the persistence of  SETF's Tom Shepherd, the engineers allowed the group to go down deep within the rock layers to see the pumping station and learn about the project.

We thank MWRD for accommodating our request for the tour and for making their knowledgeable staff available to us.