Day 49,50: Chicago. Got Globes? Shelly & Irv’s FreshPicks and Green CityMarket

We rolled into Chicago thanking Marta (and our lucky stars) for the sweetest offering of her house to lay our heads – the most perfect haven of rest during our stay…plus super-fast wifi connection…Oh the things we can get done!!

Mayor Daly’s ultra “green” reputation encouraged us, so we put in a call to his office before we arrived. Now we just got a call that we will be meeting with Sadhu Johnston, city of Chicago’s Commissioner of the Environment! That’s almost as thrilling as the storm that sent giant pieces of construction flying off unfinished buildings downtown today, where we were meeting with Wendy Abrams, the founder of the CoolGlobes exhibit along the waterfront in Chicago right now.

Much like the colorful cows in the Chicago CowParade in 1999 (followed by NYC cows in 2000, horses in KY in 2004, and pigs in Seattle), these fiberglass sculptures started out as blank canvases and artists were invited to realize them as art objects. However, unlike those cool cows, horses and pigs, the globes project was designed to send a message which, I think you can guess, is a project after our own heart. I ran around madly taking as many pictures as I could while Ben and Mark pretended to interview one of the globes, Gracie Green Roof (Ben called her Myrtle). Once they retrieved me, we each interviewed passersby for their reactions to the installation and to the Environmental “movement” in general, and called it a day. (You can visit my little photo gallery to see some globes.)

At 5:20am we sucked ourselves out of sweet beds, forcing our scratchy eyes open all the way to Irv at the Green Citymarket in downtown Chicago. Holy hay, how do farmers do it every day? Irv, co-founder of Shelly & Irv’s Freshpicks, a completely homegrown Chicago CSA service (Community-Supported Agriculture), says he hasn’t gotten used to rising before the sun yet, but give him time – they’ve only been at this for about a year. We followed Irv and his son, Miles, around the market as they gathered vegetables from each farmer’s station and stopped to talk to an organic farmer named Vicki, who only started farming herself 8 yrs ago, and who said it took 18″ of good compost and several years to condition her 24 acres of soil so that it could nourish anything. After the market we went on to the storage house where the chosen produce is repackaged for customer delivery. The YERT team helped bag some of the customers’ weekly sacks of green beans, salsa fresca mix, and end of season blueberries, we sang to the workers in the cooler since their radio is not working, and came away with a nice bag of surplus apples and nectarines (Thank you, Shelly & Irv!). We even got to follow their driver to the first delivery of the day (though the customer wasn’t home and the driver left the box inside the gate…hope they got it!

Supper was real Chicago deepdish pizza, seemed a crime not to, and we have to thank our server, Anthony, for doing his part to help with our no-waste mission, even if he did say at first it was “impossible.” He snagged us some silver straight out of the dishwasher to avoid the usual napkins folded about them and he took back the straws for the water…Unfortunately, he did bring back sauce in plastic containers (hence my and Ben’s faces) and the fat juicy pizza came out on a cardboard round that is going to have to be stuffed into our shoebox. Fig.

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