Green Festival Speakers
Speakers at Green Festival® are articulate, powerful advocates for a just and sustainable world. From authors and filmmakers to politicians, musicians and scientists, these renowned individuals inspire packed audiences with their expertise—one of the most compelling draws to Green Festival® since 2002. Our tremendous speaker line-up exemplifies why Green Festival®, a project of Green America and Global Exchange is the largest, most-respected event of its kind.
Mindy oversees zero waste initiatives and programs for Lincoln Elementary’s parent-run PTO Green Team; Lincoln was successfully awarded grant funding from the State of Illinois to implement recycling, zero waste strategies, and composting in the schools. Mindy is also very active in community sustainability. Her sustainability management experience includes collaborative design and implementation of waste reduction strategies including the successful rollout of an organics recycling (composting) program for local schools, businesses and residences. Mindy lives in Oak Park IL with her husband and 2 young daughters.
Jamal Ali is a native of
Ali has always taken an active role to better his community. and he views going green as a major way to continue in this effort. He is working to make sure the information flow and the benefits of going green, reach the Black community.
In addition to promoting his book, he works closely with the Chicago Public Schools and various
He is married and lives in
Arlene Jones is a native Chicagoan, a product of both public housing and the Public Schools. She attended UIC where she majored in Spanish and minored in education. She has a diploma in Computer Programming. She has worked in the insurance industry for over thirty years. She is currently the featured columnist for the Austin Weekly News where her column has earned her two Illinois Press Association award. Arlene Jones has lived on the west side of Chicago for over twenty years since purchasing a home in Austin. Over those years she has worked with a variety of community groups, including her block club, serving as the president of the Lafollette Park Advisory Council, Secretary to the 25th District Housing Subcommittee, WVON 1690 Volunteer and too many others to name. Arlene is a distinguished author, with her first novel Billion Dollar Winner winning an award from the African-American Arts Alliance of Chicago. She has completed two other books that will be published shortly. She is currently working on a her fourth novel. Arlene has been practicing being “green” all of her life and is proud to have instilled that idea in her two children, Alessandra and Austin. Her hobbies includes sewing, woodworking, home remodeling, gardening, art collecting, cooking and reading.
Susan Ask is an ecologist, organic gardener and educator. Susan leads the climate change education and engagement working group of the Chicago Wilderness alliance. In collaboration with national parks, museums and others, she has presented climate clinics that help hundreds of educators enhance climate education and communications.
For more than 25 years, Susan has been exploring the relationship between the built environment and the natural environment—as a scientist, teacher and land manager. Susan has a master's degree in Ecosystem Science and Management from Yale University— where she received the American Lawn Fellowship from the authors of ‘Redesigning the American Lawn.’
Susan recently founded animalia project, a new endeavor that bridges science, action and education to create a better environment for all of us. Susan also teaches Natural History at North Park University and she trains master gardeners and master naturalists on water-friendly landscaping with the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.
Jocelyn loves green tipping points and is currently the CEO of PPS, a Green America and certified B-Corp company which helps corporate, educational and non-profit customers tell their sustainability stories with effective, interesting and socially responsible promotional collateral. Prior to starting her company, she was a Sr. Research Analyst in the corporate social responsibility group of the largest denominational pension fund in the world, the pension fund of The United Methodist Church, with $14 billion of assets under management. She has a Master’s of Theological Studies (specializing in economic ethics) from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University and has been published by John Wiley & Sons, the University of Indiana Press, Fortress Press, and socially responsible investing publications.
Imari Beardon is a senior at CCA Academy. She has worked with the aquaponics program since its inception in the fall of 2011. After graduation, she would like to attend college and pursue a career in nursing.
Gregory Berlowitz, founder of Chicago Cooperative, is a passionate supporter of sustainable urban and rural food production, and an advocate for healthier and more just communities. He was formerly an environmental attorney for two Chicago law firms. Before law school, he worked as a waiter at several Chicago restaurants such as Harvest on Huron, Everest, and Blackbird. Currently, he is on the CPS School Food Parent Food Advisory Committee, and is part of the advisory council and leadership group for Ruby Garden in Schreiber Park. Greg lives with his family in Rogers Park. His wife is the education director of a cooperative pre-school and his two children attend CPS schools.
Katie Blanchard is an aspiring farmer and Midwest Coordinator for the Real Food Challenge, a national student organization dedicated to building a just and sustainable food system. Katie supports campus campaigns throughout the Midwest organizing towards a national goal of shifting $1 billion in existing food spending by college and universities towards local, fair, ecologically sound, and humanely produced food – ‘real food.’
Brekke has worked as an educator for nearly 10 years with a background in environmental education. Lately, her focus has been on educating people about sustainable food systems, specifically for urban areas. She lives and works in the Logan Square community where she enjoys reading, gardening, and playing outside.
Roman is familiar with observing his audience and providing audio journeys for all occasions and moods. He has Dj’ed large scale events, intimate gatherings, and guided dance journeys. At Green Fest Chicago he will weave a myriad of genres, incorporating house, funk, world music, and down tempo into his mix. Come ready to have fun and be taken on a unique ride of sound, mood, and movement.
Brekke has worked as an educator for nearly 10 years with a background in environmental education. Lately, her focus has been on educating people about sustainable food systems, specifically for urban areas. She lives and works in the Logan Square community where she enjoys reading, gardening, and playing outside.
Cheryl Muñoz is the Co-Founder and Programming Director for The Sugar Beet Co-op. Inspired by her neighbors, family and her local farmers' market, she is turning the conventional grocery store on it's head. With her neighbors, Cheryl is building a member-owned food co-op and community center that will serve to connect people with their farmers and the land and empower them to make choices that support our local food system. From leading workshops on cooking, gardening and preserving to planning community events and farm tours, she loves sharing and celebrating good food.
Adam Clark, Certified Bicycle Technician rode his way into business when he founded Pedal to the People, the mobile bicycle repair service in 2009. Dedicated to making bicycle riding easily accessible by doing the tune-up at your doorstep. He utilizes mobility to its best advantage so that you can too! He also works to instill confidence in others by demonstrating simple techniques with an adjustable wrench and allen keys. Pedal to the People services bikes on-site from 63rd St. to Rogers Park and east of Pulaski. Ride Safely!!
The mission of the Fashion Studies Department at Columbia College Chicago is to provide a comprehensive, integrated education designed to support a wide range of career opportunities in fashion. The curriculum encompasses a broad range of practical, aesthetic, and intellectual skills, devised to anticipate and incorporate the ongoing changes synonymous with the dynamic nature of the international fashion industry. Our faculty is comprised of industry professionals, artists, and scholars who are active practitioners in their field of expertise and share their wealth of real-world experiences in the classroom. In Fashion Studies the students work in collaboration with the faculty to co-author their course of study and actualize their career aspirations.
Naomi is one of Chicago’s most celebrated environmentalists, advancing economic development in black neighborhoods. An attorney, activist, proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers Naomi is President/Founder of BIG: Blacks in Green™ – a national network and thought leader on green jobs and enterprise across 13 economic sectors. She authored and teaches “The 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building” -- a whole-system solution for the whole-system problems common to black communities everywhere – in lectures and workshops around the country and at the University of Chicago Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. Naomi works with neighbors to create “walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-play, walk-to-learn villages.”
Chelsea has been a graphic designer, strategist, photographer, community organizer and fair trade advocate for many years. She is the owner/founder of Chelsea Bay Design: branding, design and creative consulting specifically for environmentally and socially responsible companies and organizations. She was previously the Design Director and co-owner of The Change Creation.
Aaron, founder of Stone Hut Studios, is dedicated to using film and video to create positive change. He has worked across the globe to tell the stories of non-profit, environmental and humanitarian initiatives. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Film program, Dennis has been a part of several national PBS documentaries and specializes in filming, editing and motion graphics.
Lisa Elkins is a licensed architect and LEED Accredited Professional with more than fifteen years of architectural experience in Chicago, San Francisco and London. She is the founder of 2 Point Perspective, an eco-architectural and interiors firm, which works in both the residential and commercial sectors. Lisa has also worked as a furniture designer and an architectural writer, and has taught architectural design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lisa received her Master of Architectural Design degree from The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London which was preceded by a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Ball State University.
Nakysier Evans is a junior at CCA Academy. She has recently started working with aquaponics and is one of the main students involved in CCA's soap making endeavors.
Marueen Forte is the Executive Director at The National Action Network Chicago Chapter.
Emmanuel Garcia is a Chicago journalist, activist and community organizer.
Ana leads Zero Waste implementation programs -- as well as communications, training & outreach -- in her role as a founding member-volunteer of the Beye Elementary Green Team. Ana has a vested interest in sustainable schools as well as green communities, and is a lead organizer of the annual One Earth Film Festival. She is digital marketing professional by trade. Ana and her husband Jim (and their 3 young children) recently underwent a green remodel of their 100-year-old Oak Park IL home, in which they installed a geothermal and a greywater system.
Steve has been a paraprofessional in the classroom for five years. Steve does it all from assisting students with their involvement in classroom activities to personal care. Inspired by this experience, he is presently in a Special Education Masters program at St. Xavier University. He will be an excellent Special Education teacher.
An eco-entrepreneur for the last 24 years, way before it was ever cool, Jeff is an Honours Graduate of the Ivey School of Business.
He is the Co-Founder and President of Prairie Pulp & Paper Inc. , which is active in the research, development and sales of recycling agricultural wheat straw fibres into tree-free chlorine-free sulfur-free paper (www.stepforwardpaper.com).
Jeff has had, and continues to have, many lives.
He’s created things. He was the founder of Winnipeg’s Blue Box curbside recycling program, 20 years ago, as well as Pulse Furniture, a custom furniture manufacturer that creates sweat shop free furniture in Canada, for clients all over North America. (www.pulsestyle.com)
He’s philanthropic. Jeff is the Founder and Volunteer President of Green Kids Inc., an environmental education touring theatre charity for Children which has inspired over 1 million students in 1,000 + schools since 1991. (www.greenkids.com).
He’s been an event organizer. Over the years Earthday, Donald Trump, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Dr. David Suzuki have been featured.
He’s won awards: The Federal Business Development Bank’s Entrepreneur of the Year, The Sustainable Development Award of Excellence, Western Living’s Westexpressed and the Silver Lining Award.
He practices what he preaches (although he would never preach, really). He has infectious, boundless energy derived from his low impact lifestyle, large world view, active days and dietary choices.
Jeff is the creator & face of The Cool Vegetarian which can be found atwww.thecoolvegetarian.com
Amy Goodman is an awardwinning investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, author and the host of Democracy Now! airing on more than 1,000 public television/radio stations worldwide. Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the Alternative Nobel Prize for developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media. The Independent of London named Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! an inspiration. Pulsemedia.org placed Goodman at the top of their 20 Top Global Media Figures.
Goodman is the author of four New York Times bestsellers. Her latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, proves the power of independent journalism in the struggle for a better world. She coauthored the bestsellers, Standing Up to the Madness and The Exception to the Rulers, with her brother, journalist David Goodman.
Gravitz has helped lead the national agenda to create a socially and environmentally responsible economy for more than 25 years. As the Executive Director of Green America (formerly Co-op America), Gravitz has pioneered effective techniques for addressing issues of sustainable consumption and production with American consumers and businesses. She has taught family and business solutions for a more just and sustainable future, and now understands at an even deeper personal level, how important these solutions are. She is the recipient of the 2006 Sustainability Award exemplifying economic and ecological responsibility, and was named one of the six most important people changing the way companies think about the environment by the Green Business Letter. Gravitz is the coauthor of the Green Festival Reader.
Kathleen Hallal is the Co-Founder of Moms Across America and Moms Across America March to Label GMOs at 4th of July parades. She is an Art Consultant, Public School Foundation Member, Soccer Mom, mother of three boys, one of whom has an autoimmune issue, which led her to become a speaker and educator about GMOs.
Natalie is a Senior at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science (CHSAS). She always has a smile on her face and enjoys moving around the classroom in her dynamic stander, visiting her classmates and teachers.
Felicia Howard is a junior at CCA Academy. She is part of the after school soap making project.
Jeff Smith is an environmental and renewable energy activist with 30 years' experience in grassroots campaigns and political organizing. A graduate of Northwestern University and Harvard Law School, he has tackled zoning, energy, environmental, and development cases, advised political candidates, not-for-profit groups, and local governments, and won a landmark case for Lake Michigan's public trust doctrine. Past president of a large community organization and a veteran board member of many others, he is intimate with political obstacles to progress. Jeff and allies successfully advocated for Evanston's adoption of a green building ordinance and aggregate purchase of 100% green electricity. Jeff served on the Evanston Mayor's Wind Farm Committee, as regional environmental representative on Illinois's Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council, is a director of Citizens' Greener Evanston, has lobbied in both Washington and Springfield for green causes, and chairs Illinois Sierra Club's Wind Committee.
Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified foods” by Acres USA magazine. Ken is editor and publisher of The Organic & Non-GMO Report, a monthly news magazine that focuses on threats posed by GM foods and the growing non-GMO food trend. He is also editor and publisher of The Non-GMO Sourcebook, a directory of suppliers of non-GMO seeds, grains, and ingredients. Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook both published by Basic Health Publications. He is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association. Ken appears in the new documentary film, GMO OMG.
Seneca wants to be an Agronomist when he grows up. Really geeked about the Mycelia Project and curriculum database. Loves growing mostly because he likes eating. Well. Does not have a soft spot for squirrels or slugs, but loves ladybugs and dragonflies. Chicago born, California bred.
Charlie is a Freshman at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science (CHSAS). Charlie is very kind and thoughtful. He enjoys sports and is very athletic.
Alice Kim Director of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Women's Studies from Northwestern University and her Master of Arts in English from DePaul University. She is a Chicago activist and has worked on a wide range of social-justice issues. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and was a recipient of the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World Award for her work to end capital punishment in Illinois. She also previously worked at the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and served as the coordinator for the WIHS National Community Advisory Board.
She is a founding member of the STW Legacy Network and on Children and Family Justice Center’s advisory board. Alice Kim is active in the movements to abolish the death penalty and create street peace and works to build bridges and linkages between social movements. In her professional capacity, she is the director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council.
Jane has been a Special Education Teacher for more than thirty years. This is her 11th year as a teacher and Case Manager at Chicago High School for Agricultural Science. Helping students with disabilities prepare for fulfilling adult lives is a priority as she works with teachers and administrators to implement vocational preparation and transition curriculum. Dog Gone Delights were the first of many products produced and sold by the students in this program.
Grace Koehler entered the nursery and landscape industry in 1980 and joined Pizzo Native Plant Nursery in April, 2010 as Sales and Marketing Manger. She has extensive background experience in ecological restoration and the wholesale nursery business. Grace’s strong interpersonal skills, commitment to client satisfaction, experience in nursery product development, and knowledge of horticultural and native plant communities on the ground level and the roof top provide the basis for her duties to grow and expand the Pizzo nursery.
Elena Kulakovska is a certified holistic health coach and educator of plant-based nutrition lifestyle. She is passionate about helping people reach optimal performance not just in day-to-day life but in top-level athletics. Her approach is not to dwell on calories, cabrs, fats, and proteins. Instead, Elena works with clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding. She also runs workshops on nutrition for runners, showing them how to fuel their way to uber athleticism. Check out her website www.kulhealthyyou.com for upcoming workshops as well as her virtual health coaching programs.
Marc J. Lane is a nationally recognized business and tax attorney, a Master Registered Financial Planner, a Registered Financial Counselor and a Certified Investment Specialist. He is the author of 34 books on corporate organization, management, taxation, investment, personal finance, and social enterprise. Twice a recipient of the Illinois State Bar Association's Lincoln Award, Marc teaches law at Northwestern University School of Law and has taught business in the MBA program at the University of Illinois.
Peace Bees started as a 4-H project that grew into honey bee advocacy. Alex is a five-time 4-H County Grand Champion beekeeper. In 2007, she began visiting elementary classrooms teaching about honey bees, which led to her winning the 2007 Indiana Beekeepers Association Young Beekeeper of the Year. In 2009, the demand for Alex’s appearances grew far beyond her availability, so she put her curriculum materials on a website where teachers and beekeepers could access them. Alex’s efforts led to her receiving Indiana Lt. Governor’s 2010 Hoosier Rising Star Award and the 2010 Indiana AXA Equitable Achievement Scholarship; she reigned as the 2011 Indiana Honey Princess and finalist for the Gloria Barron prize for Young Heroes. Peace Bees has formed a partnership with The Unity Gardens of St. Joseph County (Indiana) to bring bees to urban gardens and provide classes. Alex is a sophomore Pre-Veterinary student at Purdue University.
Jon A. Levey, executive vice president and chief lending officer at GreenChoice Bank, is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and a seasoned executive with 20 years of real estate, finance and entrepreneurial expertise.
An active proponent of community service, Levey, serves as a member of the board of directors for The Delta Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – Illinois Chapter, The Standard Club, and the North Shore Center for Performing Arts Foundation and is an advisory board member for Community Partners for Affordable Housing. He also lends his expertise as a member of the loan committee tasked with distributing proceeds of a federal Community & Economic Development Grant from the Office of Community Services in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Local Economic and Employment Development Council (LEED Council) received the grant to benefit tenants of the Chicago-based Green Exchange who agree to hire federally designated low-income or otherwise disadvantaged individuals.
Levey earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he also completed his undergraduate studies. He is a licensed real estate broker and has earned the GREEN designation from the National Association of REALTORS® Green REsource Council.
GreenChoice Bank is the first community bank of its kind in the Midwest implementing core values that are designed to enhance the environmental, social and financial well-being of our communities and the planet, offering a values-based choice in banking to consumers and businesses. Conscious about more than your money, GreenChoice Bank marries contemporary sustainability with a relationship-driven approach to providing financial products and services. GreenChoice Bank’s flagship location in Chicago’s Green Exchange building is expected to be the first LEED Platinum community bank location in the Midwest, and one of only a few in the country. Its branch facilities in Cicero and Lockport, Ill are also currently seeking LEED certification. For information about GreenChoice Bank’s products and services, please visit online at www.greenchoicebank.com.
Chef Lloyd has over 30 years of cooking experience. He graduated from The Great Chicago Food Depository Culinary Arts Program. Cooking vegan foods and creating out of this world fruit smoothies and healthy drinks are his forte. He has created vegan cream pies, cakes, cookies, and patties that meat lovers are not ashamed to say, "seconds please!"
Marc Loveless is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Justice and Respect. CJR is a Civil Rights and Social Justice Organization of African-American Same Gender Loving Black Gays and Lesbians in the Chicago Area.
Andrew comes to SavATree with a wealth of experience in tree service gained over a career that includes stops at the Department of Housing and Economic Development for the City of Chicago and the Office of Sustainability at the University of Illinois at Chicago.Most recently Andrew worked for the Illinois Green Economy Network where he developed and maintained programs to further environmental sustainability goals at Illinois community colleges and in surrounding communities.
Ryan Maley is a leader with demonstrated success in translating strategic goals into operational results. Maley has a unique variety of business and technical skills as well as diverse experience with services and manufacturing companies. With a talent for making rapid assessments of situational challenges and developing and leading the resulting plans, he has successfully led efforts to open new markets, restructure organizations, and to grow companies through successful acquisition and integration.
He is currently Vice President of Global Inventures, a firm providing operations, management and leadership services for technology alliances and standards organizations. He has provided services for a variety of clients including the ZigBee Alliance, Open Mobile Video Coalition, Multimedia Over Coax Alliance and Open Identity Exchange.
Previously, he was VP of Operations for Software Technologies Group, an engineering firm specializing in product development services for advanced electronics products companies. Maley holds profit and loss responsibility and directs finance, sales and marketing operations. The company has positioned itself as a subject matter expert in the low-power wireless industry by participating in and leading technical standards efforts within a variety of vertical markets including Smart Energy, Health Care, Industrial Networking and Home Automation.
Prior to joining Software Technologies Group, he was President and on the board of directors of Equipto Electronics Corporation, a $13 million manufacturer of sheet metal enclosures for the electronics industry. While at Equipto, Maley held P&L responsibility and initiated a value-add strategy, adding complementary products and services for existing customers. In its first year, the program generated an 18% increase in dollar sales and a 26% increase in profits. Under Maley’s leadership, the company acquired and integrated a company with complementary products. The acquisition exceeded profitability projections and became ISO 9001 registered in six months.
Maley is on the board of directors for Expleo Solutions a software-as-a-service company providing solutions for approving digital content to advertising agencies and consumer package goods companies. Expleo is a publicly reporting startup on a track to become publicly traded. Maley is on the Social Venture Advisory Board of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a creative think-and-do tank that combines rigorous research with effective solutions for urban sustainability. The Board helps build ventures that promote sustainable living like the I-Go car sharing service.
Maley serves as chairperson of the Dunham Fund, a grant maker with a $70 million endowment. Maley has led efforts to apply successful, appropriate business strategies to grant making and has led the Fund into a venture capital model of operation. He developed a grant proposal writing competition credited with successfully inspiring a variety of new projects in the community with minimal investment from the Fund. Maley sits on the Human Relations Commission for the city of Aurora, the second largest city in the state of Illinois. The Commission is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination and furthering understanding among the diverse population of the city. He serves as the vice-chair of the Marketing Group of the ZigBee Alliance, an international non-profit trade association of companies in the wireless industry.
Maley holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Business (cum laude) and Psychology (magna cum laude). Maley is recognized as a subject matter expert in low-power wireless and information technology. He frequently presents on a variety of technology and management topics and has been published in a variety of magazines including as a monthly IT columnist for four years.
Maley is a second-generation Mexican-American and resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife Ursula who is extensively involved with local non-profits. They have three college-age children.
Marilyn Jones has been the proud Founder and President of Chicago-based Consolidated Printing Company since its inception in 1973. She knew she always wanted to own her own company almost as much as she wanted to have a company that was good to and for its employees. Little did she know that goal would be the back-drop to a thirty-five year effort to create the greenest printing company in America. The entrepreneurial spirit and concern for others in Marilyn drove her to pursue the elimination of all toxic and carcinogenic chemicals from her company’s printing process from its beginning. Way before green was a common household term. The song goes “I was country before country was cool. Well, Marilyn Jones was “green before green was cool.” She’s been called the “mother of green printing” because she’s lead the way in the printing industry’s efforts to become environmentally responsible. Throughout her career, Marilyn has proven that a small business can achieve monumental results.
Consolidated Printing has received nearly every meaningful environmental award and recognition a company can receive. It was instrumental in working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to promote a cleaner and safer environment. It was recognized as the first Illinois Great Green Printer. It received awards from four Illinois Governers, Mayor Daley, and the Chicago Department of the Environment. In 2009 the Printing Industry of America recognized Marilyn and Consolidated Printing with its highest environmental award. A lifetime of commitment spent on Boards and organizations promoting integrity and professional responsibility – social, economic, and environmental responsibility – are the hallmarks of Marilyn Jones and Consolidated Printing Company. Marilyn Jones has included the needs of the environment and the well-being or her employees and her community with each and every job Consolidated Printing accepts. The practices of Marilyn Jones and Consolidated Printing are an example for all of us who own or operate a business. She brings to mind a a few words from Shakespeare that belie a principle that applies to those who are truly successful in business and in life, “above all else, to thine own self be true.”
Kristen Martinek has always had a profound love for the environment and natural health. Her passion to live a healthy & sustainable life has led her to work on three organic farms, literally learning from the ground up what a sustainable diet entails. As the Produce Lead Buyer at the Dill Pickle Coop, Kristen now acts as the voice between farm & city, to help better her community through the foods they eat. Whether it be offering up a healthy recipe, encouraging someone to try kale or beets for the first time, or selling as many local & regional foods as possible, Kristen pours her heart & soul into spreading her passions.
Mary Meyer co-designed, built and has lived in an off-grid strawbale house for 17 years with her husband Richard Cartwright in rural Southeast Indiana in Oldenburg. They were inspired to create an Earth harmonious lifestyle with a low carbon footprint and saw an opportunity to do this through building and living in this manner. Their home features stuccoed & plastered strawbale walls as structure and insulation, an annually renewable material acquired from Mary's brother, a nearby farmer. The house is built on a gently sloping hill creating a split level that naturally circulates air for heating and cooling. It features solar panels for electricity, a gravity-fed water system from their abundant well on the hill behind their house, an internal greywater wetlands, a wood-burning cookstove, solar ovens, recycled or salvaged flooring, windows & doors and composting toilets--the end product of which provides nourishment to their emerging forest garden surrounding them. For 13 years, their home was part of the eco-educational programs of Michaela Farm with the Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters from the building of the home to open houses to the public, and one-on-one consultations in which over 1000 people were exposed to this living example of an ecological home and energy systems, some of whom have reported making changes in their own lives. The biggest lessons that Mary & Richard have received from choosing this way of life, is the commitment, creativity and management required, how much the homestead gives back to them, as well as the overwhelming interest people have for elements of their building and energy practices. Mary is the owner of Environmental Harmony & Healing Arts, providing coaching and consultation in creating a clear space and new habits for harmony and workability in any environment. She is also Massage and Movement Therapist at the Oldenburg Retreat Center.
Andrea manages Edible Alchemy Foods Co-operative, a locally & sustainably-focused produce & bulk co-operative. She also manages the Eco Rooftop garden, teaching workshops to students of all ages. Her passion for food began while studying art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and extended into creating a structure which allows people to learn skills like gardening, composting, cooking, preserving food & using medicinal herbs while developing community bonds with all who cross her path.
Rooted in classical yoga, Moksha Yoga Center provides an interdisciplinary approach that includes physical postures, meditation, breath-work and more. Moksha offers classes, teacher training and master workshops at its three studios.
Sheelah Muhammad has provided strategic services to the philanthropic, Fortune 500, government and not-for-profit communities in domestic and international markets. She is co-founder of Food Desert Action and co-creator of the Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market. Her organization uses innovative community-based solutions to increase access to fresh, healthy food options in low-income, historically excluded and underserved communities. As a community development practitioner, a naprapath and the daughter of a grocer, Sheelah is ardent about positively shifting the health trajectory of children and families in low-resource communities. Prior to launching Fresh Moves she was program officer at Oprah’s Angel Network and The Oprah Winfrey Foundation. Sheelah currently serves on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Minority Health’s Action Learning Collaborative. She is a member of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Cook County Place Matters team, board treasurer of Healthy Schools Campaign, and a guest lecturer at Northwestern University School of Education & Social Policy.
Nancy Jones is Executive Director of Chicago Fair Trade, a metro-wide organization that works with businesses, faith based organizations, non-profits, universities, and individual activists to expand support for Fair Trade through education, advocacy, and consumer campaigns. Nancy’s experience as a community organizer in Chicago combined with work experience in rural communities in El Salvador informs her approach to building global relationships based on justice and mutual respect. She holds an M.S.W. from the University of Chicago.
Byron is a Junior at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science (CHSAS). Byron is their gentle giant, who always greets people and has the best manners.
Twenty years of experience as a resource, consulting with businesses regarding energy efficient applications in lighting remodels and upgrades. Meeting /exceeding design specifications for utility incentives and tax credits in commercial and industrial facilities.
- Formed partnerships with over 50 contractors, businesses and building owners for energy efficient lighting upgrades amounting to over 3.5 million kWh hours saved.
- Performed lighting energy assessments and identified opportunities for improved energy efficiency in commercial and industrial buildings.
- Proven resource to sales professionals and branch managers for utility energy conservation efficiency programs, incentives and state tax credits.
- Successfully led southern and central Oregon in energy efficient lighting sales, remodels and retrofits.
- Recognized by the Energy Trust of Oregon as a Trade Ally that assisted commercial and industrial businesses to over one million kWh in energy savings in facility and site lighting.
- Project management for lighting projects, both new construction and remodel/upgrades.
Greg Palast is best known as the investigative reporter who uncovered how Katherine Harris purged thousands of African-Americans from Florida voters rolls in the 2000 Presidential Election.
Author of the New York Times and international bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse, Palast is Patron of the Trinity College Philosophical Society, an honor previously held by Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde.
He is also the author of Vultures' Picnic and has just released his brand new book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.
Greg Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering. Palast's reports appear on BBC's Newsnight and in Britain's Guardian, Rolling Stone and Harper's.
Palast directed the US' government's largest racketeering case in history (that garnered a $4.3 billion jury award) and the investigation of the Exxon Valdez.
Palast is recipient of the George Orwell Courage in Journalism Prize for his BBC television documentary, Bush Family Fortunes.
With 22 years of experience in managing community economic development projects, Palms-Barber is CEO of Chicagos North Lawndale Employment Network and CEO of Sweet Beginnings.
Perkins, a former economic hit man, is a founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations devoted to creating stable, sustainable and peaceful worlds. He has lectured and taught at universities on four continents including Harvard, Wharton and Princeton, and is a champion of environmental and social causes.
Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller lists and has been published in more than 30 languages, details the clandestine operations that created the world's first truly global empire. His book The Secret History of the American Empire provides a compassionate plan for crafting a world that future generations will be proud to inherit. His other books include Shapeshifting and The World Is As You Dream It.
Mae has been a CPS Special Education Teacher for more than 30 years. For the past eight years, she has been an innovative, caring educator for her students at CHSAS. She is always there doing what needs to be done to make her student’s day as meaningful and worthwhile, and always mindful of the accommodations they need to be involved and successful.
Alex Poltorak joined Education Pioneers in Chicago in summer 2010 after completing the MBA program at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Alex spent the summer working at the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in the Office of Teaching and Learning. Alex's projects included designing a database to store implementation data for the Response to Intervention (RtI) initiative. He coordinated with other departments to ensure that this stopgap measure would fit into longer-term technologies like CPS University for professional development and Sharepoint for interaction logging in the future. Before graduate school, Alex worked at LSI Corporation, a leading semi-conductor engineering firm, as a customer engineer managing intellectual property between globally dispersed internal and customer teams to enable cutting-edge semiconductor designs. During his undergraduate studies in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Alex interned with Micron Technologies as a product engineer to validate and characterize new Flash memory products. Alex has also worked in a family IT consulting firm and as a tennis instructor in roles that were face-to-face with customers, children, parents and all sorts of stakeholders on a daily basis.
Alex is currently on the Steering Committee for the Advocates for Urban Agriculture, Illinois Stewardship Alliance. He is also the founder of Urban Canopy.
Emmanuel Pratt earned his BArch from Cornell University, his MSAUD (Masters in Science of Architecture and Urban Design) from Columbia University, and is presently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning also from Columbia University. While most of his early work was anchored in the field of architecture, Emmanuel work has since explored the role of art and interactive media as a key component of urban design, urban farming, and sustainability. Emmanuel spent several years working closely and traveling around the country with McArthur Genius Award winner Will Allen of Growing Power and is the co-founder and Executive Director for the Sweet Water Foundation. He is also the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University and teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, he has been featured as a guest speaker for the NSF ‘Challenges in Vertical Farming Workshop’ and received a 2013 Green Award from Chicago Magazine. Emmanuel's professional and academic work with the MacArthur/Mozilla Foundation supported AQUAPONS badge-based learning and The MYCELIA PROJECT concentrates on new paradigms for education and 21st century city planning through transformative processes of community development across the intersections of food security and sustainable design innovation.
Dylan Ratigan is the host of MSNBC’s "The Dylan Ratigan Show," one of the highest-rated daytime shows on the network. This make-versus-take, analysis-driven daily broadcast fearlessly takes on the world of politics, money, and the unholy alliance between big business and government.
The former global managing editor for corporate finance at Bloomberg News, Ratigan has developed and launched more than half a dozen broadcast and new media properties. They include CNBC’s Fast Money and Closing Bell, as well as DylanRatigan.com, which is home to his podcast, “Greedy Bastards Antidote.”
Ratigan left as host of Fast Money in 2009, provoked by outrage over the government’s handling of the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, he has dedicated his work to launching platforms that engage and debate the U.S. government on policy, while opening the door for millions to learn more about money’s often poisonous role in our democracy. His first book, the New York Times bestseller Greedy Bastards, details this broken system. More importantly, it illustrates how fixing these problems will release a renaissance of growth and innovation.
Since late September 2011, more than 300,000 people have pledged support, millions of dollars have been raised, and an organization with a staff of a dozen people has been formed under Ratigan’s leadership to pursue the singular objective to pass a 28th Constitutional amendment to separate business and state. You can learn more at UnitedRepublic.org.
Brian Rowland Co-Founded A Safe Haven L.L.C. in 1995 and serves as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Rowland is an alumnus of Loyola University of Chicago in 1985 and DePaul University in 1990 and the John Marshall School of Law 2007.
Lover of all things FLY. Musically Gifted. ILL DJ. Supporter Of The Arts. Promoter Of Sexy. A Dreamer. A Motivator. A Trendsetter. A Socialite. #TeamMoneyBags!
Environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo describes his way of living as the crossroads where style meets sustainability. Through his best-selling books, television programs, products, magazine and syndicated newspaper columns and his how-to lifestyle lectures, Danny Seo continues to share the creative ideas that have made him America's leading lifestyle authority on modern, eco-friendly living.
Born on Earth Day in 1977, Danny has championed the natural biodiversity of our planet from a very young age. On his 12th birthday, he founded the organization Earth 2000 with just a few friends and $23. By his 18th birthday, he had transformed the grassroots organization into the country's largest teenage activist charity, spearheading worldwide campaigns on behalf of the environment.
Danny encourages America to live a greener lifestyle with great style. His first of nine lifestyle books Conscious Style Home (St. Martin's Press; 2001) chronicled his renovation of his parents' home in Green Hills, Pennsylvania, using easy-to-find, eco-friendly materials. The beautifully photographed book received rave reviews in The New York Times, Elle, Food & Wine, Elle Decor, and USA Today, who raved "Say 'environment' to Danny Seo, and it's as if you've punched the word into the search engine Google: Out roars an avalanche of ideas and references that threatens to scramble your brain." Conscious Style Home helped Danny soon become America's favorite environmental lifestyle authority.
Danny’s environmental activism and teachings earned him honors from the Albert Schweitzer Institute and, in an honor of a much lighter note, was named one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” Danny has also given keynote addresses around the world, including the State of the World Forums, The College of William & Mary and the commencement address to the graduating class of UC Berkley.
Danny’s creative how-to approach towards green living is the blueprint for Danny Seo Media Ventures, which includes a multi-platform portfolio of products, corporate partners, and media properties all designed to help people do just one thing to help the world around us. The publishing segment includes more than 9 books with over 1 million copies in print including the bestselling "Upcycling" series of craft books and a nationally syndicated column called "Do Just One Thing" distributed by Universal Syndicate. The television segment includes regular appearances on NBC's The Today Show as a lifestyle contributor and previous TV shows including HGTV's "Red Hot & Green" and "Simply Green with Danny Seo." Danny Seo Media Ventures also has an extensive line of home, beauty and food products sold in over 4,000 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe that range from bedding and bath, mattresses, furniture, organic gourmet food, cookware and bakeware, decorative accessories, gardening equipment, stationary, fragrances, lighting and more sold at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, HomeSense, and Winners. More information can be found at dannyseo.com.
Ranece is a Junior at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science (CHSAS). She is their busy bee and is very helpful with many tasks in the classroom.
ROBERT T. STARKS, columnist and political editor of N’DIGO is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the HAROLD WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES at Northeastern Illinois University’s Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies in Chicago.
Professor Starks teaches several courses in Inner City Studies, politics, and economic development. He is nationally regarded as an expert in analyzing African-American and African politics and has appeared on several local and national radio and television programs, including THE TODAY SHOW, NIGHTLINE, C-SPAN, CNN, CROSSFIRE, AND CHICAGO TONIGHT (WTTW TV Chicago). He is often quoted in national and local newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.
Professor Starks has also authored several articles which have been published in professional books, journals, and newspapers, including the article entitled “Harold Washington and the Politics of Reform in Chicago: 1983-87” that appeared in RACIAL POLITICS IN AMERICAN CITIES, edited by Rufus Browning, et al.
Mr. Starks, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (1986-87), is in the process of completing the first draft of a manuscript for a forthcoming book on the political life of Harold Washington. He lives in the South Shore community of Chicago with his wife Judith. They have two adult children and one grandson.
Leslie is 25 years old and the Co-Founder of GMO Free Idaho, a grassroots organization dedicated to GMO education and passing GMO labeling laws in 2014. For the last 3 years she has been working within the entire state with farmers, consumers, and scientists.
She has collaborated with leaders in this movement such as Jeffrey Smith, Dr. Don Huber, Zen Honeycutt, and the Coalition of States for GMO Labeling.
She is an advocate for food transparency and consuming a whole foods, plant-based diet. After cutting out GMOs and eating whole foods, she successfully treated Ulcerative Colitis without medications. she hopes to empower people to take personal responsibility for their health and our environment.
Aaron is a Senior at Chicago High School for Agricultural Science (CHSAS). He loves music. Every song he hears is "his song." He goes on great vacations with his parents and makes his teachers wish they were along.
Dorothy J. Tillman is a former Chicago alderman in the 3rd Ward. A member of the Democratic Party, she represented part of the city's South Side in the Chicago City Council. As an Alderman, Tillman was a strong advocate of reparations for slavery. In April 2007, she was defeated in a runoff election by challenger Pat Dowell. Tillman defeated Dowell in 2003. Prior to her career as an alderman, Tillman was active in the civil rights movement, working for Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as an activist.
Tillman has also hosted her own show of WVON.
Claire Tinley is a researcher focusing on the food service industry with UNITE HERE Local 1, the labor union that represents about 16,000 hotel, food service, and casino workers throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana. UNITE HERE represents the food service workers within Chicago institutions such as Wrigley Field, Chicago Public Schools, O’Hare airport, and United Center. Part of Claire’s work is dedicated to Real Food Real Jobs, a project of UNITE HERE, which supports food service workers as they advocate for justice on the job and within our food system. Based in Chicago and an avid home-cook, she supports the city’s many farmers markets and believes Chicago has great potential to be a leader in instituting justice for workers at all stages of our food system.
Micro-farmer turned tech-entrepreneur, Todd is a student of food systems and all things edible. He is the CEO of Every Last Morsel, a social network for Midwest gardeners to share planting tips, excess food and more.
Chicago native LeeAnn Trotter is a reporter at NBC 5. Previously, she hosted “Metromix: The TV Show” on CLTV, and has worked at Fox News Chicago, WUSN-FM, WBBM-AM, and WGN Radio.
Master Chef Tyrone Barnes has over 20 years of professional cooking experience. He earned his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from Dawson Technological Institute. Chef Barnes brings a variety of cooking experience t the "table" and has a range of knowledge gained from work with Palmer, Inc., Sutton Place Hotel, Sutton Place Thomason and Hotel, Days Inn, just to name a few. When asked what does he enjoy doing most, a big grin and smile appeared on his face, then he answered firmly, cooking! Finally, Chef Barnes' passion is preparing delicious meals for family and friends. As a member of the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church, he prepares fellowship dinners for upward to 400 people! When Chef Barnes is cooking, people eat well!
John Viera was appointed director, Sustainable Business Strategies for Ford Motor Company in January, 2007. Mr. Viera is responsible for developing global sustainable business plans, reporting externally on the company's environmental and social performance, and leading the company's engagement and partnerships with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders. In January 2009, Mr. Viera assumed the responsibilities of the company's environmental policies, consistent with his current title of Director, Sustainability and Environmental Policy.
Viera has held several positions within Ford Motor Company during his 25 year tenure before being named to his current position. For the first seven years of his career, he worked in the company's Heavy Truck Division. In 1992, Viera was responsible for the Truck Product Planning organization that lead Company efforts in the development of natural gas-fueled pickup trucks. In 1994, Viera led the efforts of the Truck Computer Aided Design organization.
In 1997, Viera was appointed manager, Plant Engineering Vehicle Team, Explorer and Mountaineer programs. Located in
Viera is an active member of the Product Development arm of the Ford African Ancestry Network (FAAN), with a focus on mentoring and counseling, and speaking at workshops. Mr. Viera currently serves on the advisory board at Georgia Tech in
Matthew is a renaissance man of the modern age and dedicated to finding Truth in all things claiming, "I can build anything out of anything." Matthew specializing in functional art and interior designs made from scrap and salvaged materials as well as theatrical and musical performance. He is the Program leader for the Safer Foundation deconstruction program, training ex-offenders in his craft of creating functional art, the designer for Einstein Moments interactive art installation for Electric Forest music festival, a certified yoga instructor, founder of the improv comedy troupe, Organic Monkey Improv, philosopher and poet. Matthew loves to create in all means possible and is always looking for the next big challenge. He thanks his friends and family for all the support and knowledge they have shared that have brought him to where here is now.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality, and her quote from that book beginning, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure" has become the spiritual anthem for a generation.
She founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily. She also founded the grass roots campaign to establish a United States Department of Peace.
On January 1, 2012, she launched her own Internet TV network, providing viewers with consistent support for an alternative, sustainable perspective on everything from relationships to politics.
A pacemaker within the green movement, Rev Yearwood has successfully bridged the gap between communities of color and environmental justice for more than three years. Shortly after founding the Hip Hop Caucus, Yearwood became National Director of the award winning Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign where he spearheaded a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Katrina survivors.
Later, on August 4, 2009, Yearwood led the Hip Hop Caucus to create theGreen the Block campaign in partnership with Green for All. In result, the Hip Hop Caucus is the first organization to launch a national grassroots campaign from the White House.
In 2010 Yearwood was named one of the 100 most powerful African Americans by Ebony Magazine, and one of the 10 Game Changers in the Green movement by the Huffington Post.
The Hip Hop Caucus is fighting poverty and pollution at the same time with theOne Planet. One Voice. campaign. Money matters when it comes to environmental justice.One Planet. Once Voice. addresses the disproportionate affects of pollution on impoverished communities. Yearwood’s unique influence promoted Discovery Communications to produce a full-length documentary covering his life and leadership.
With a diverse set of celebrity allies, Yearwood raises awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns. Yearwood’s innovative stance has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from several environmental leaders including EarthJustice, National Wildlife Federation, and the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Find more about Yearwood’s work and opinion onCNN, Huffington Post, BET, XXL magazine, Newsweek, The Nation, MTV, AllHipHop.com, Al Jazeera, BBC, C-Span, MSNBC,Washington Post, The New York Times andVIBE magazine.
THE HIP HOP CAUCUS: Dubbed as the civil-rights organization of the 21st century, the Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit, that aims to promote political activism for young Americans using hip-hop music and culture. The group's programs are intended to promote social and political equality in the areas of economics, education, health care, housing, social justice and the environment. The group is a member of the Black Leadership Forum and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Nancy Zook has worked as CCA's art instructor for the past five years. She became the Sustainability Coordinator in the fall of 2012 and now manages the school's urban agriculture program in addition to teaching sculpture, working with Sweetwater Foundation intern, Jason Axt, and supervising school recycling and composting efforts.
Amber Zuckswert is an online and live international pilates and yoga instructor, plant based nutrition lifestyle coach/educator, professional dancer, and raw vegan superfoodie. She runs the largest and most active organic health and rawfood meet up community in her home base of San Francisco, CA. Her website Epicself.com features over 500+ self written articles, how to videos, online store and virtual coaching services. She loves nothing more then transforming people's lives through conscious fitness, eating and lifestyle. Check out all of her virtual programs, and upcoming workshops/all inclusive retreats at Epicself.com.