School Garden Workshop in Northern Michigan

get-attachment-3.aspxJanis Groomes, food service director at Northport Public Schools, knows the power of school gardens to get kids interested in eating fruits and vegetables, even ones that are unusual.

She was already serving healthy salads to her Leelanau County students, but even she was skeptical that they’d eat kale as an ingredient in the salad bar. She watched in amazement—and joy—a couple years ago when students’ eyes lit up in the lunch line when they saw kale as a choice, piled it onto their plates and gobbled it up. The reason: The children had grown kale like it in their school garden. Last year, Ms. Groomes thrilled the kids again when she cooked up potatoes that they’d actually grown. Continue reading

100% Clean Energy By and For the People

Calling all Northern Michigan Renewable Energy Enthusiasts!  Great Lakes Bioneers invites you to join on December 9th from 7-9 pm to watch Billy Parish’s 2013 Plenary: 100% Clean Energy By and For the People.  

We will gather at 7:00 pm at the Inside Out Gallery.  Grab a drink at the Outré Lounge if you would like, and catch up with your Bioneers Tribe!  Then join us in the backroom to watch Billy Parish tell us how in this generation, we can shift from fossil fuels to a world 100% powered by clean energy, and we can do it in a way that makes all of us richer, healthier, and happier.

A lively discussion will follow, and local renewable energy rock stars will be on hand to be part of the discussion. If you have any questions, please email Sally at  or call (231) 233-7315.

Free fun for families at Dirt Fest this Saturday!

As the white stuff recedes, we begin to see and smell soil… earth… DIRT. And that means it’s the perfect time for the third annual Dirt Fest in Traverse City! Grab the kids, the cousins, grandma and the whole family and come on out to a FREE celebration of Earth Day on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College Saturday, April 12.


Continue reading

Reuse Your Money!

Odom.logoOdom Reusable Building Materials is expanding!  And to help fund the expansion, they are giving us the opportunity to ‘reuse’ our money.

Odom salvages building materials and sells them to builders and DIYers at it’s retail brew-barnwoodstore in Grawn.  Reused materials have more character than items found in your run of the mill big box stores. Just check out the reclaimed barn wood used to create a vintage look in Brew (right), the charming double french doors from a recent home remodel, or the table top made from repurposed bowling alley wood (both below).  Click here for more examples of Odom reuse in Action.

But, reusing building materials is more than quaint.  An estimated 170 million tons of construction waste is generated annually in the US.  Bruce Odom is passionate about giving these materials another life.  He believes that waste reduction should be a normal part of commerce in the building trades.  

Continue reading

Women and Environment: Highlights


There were many highlights from the day spent at the Women and Environment Symposium, in Grand Rapids last Friday.  One of my favorite moments was when a young woman asked the panel on citizen action: “What advice do you have for women to be heard when we try to speak truth to power?”  State Representative Winnie Brinks did not pause a moment:  “Become the power” instead, she advised.  I looked over at the four students from Benize Central High School that attended as part of their SEEDS afterschool program.  I hope they heard that.

Continue reading

Fracking Awareness Meeting TOMORROW

frackingRepresentatives of area environmental groups and individuals concerned about fracking will gather on Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 am at Michigan Works, 1209 S. Garfield on Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 am.

This will be the first meeting of the Fracking Awareness Coaltion, organized by NMEAC, to  make more people aware of the health and environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas.

Continue reading

Local beer, great people, green ideas = winning combination!

Winter can be a quiet time of year in northern Michigan, but you can’t stay in your slippers at home ALL the time, right? For those who seek good company and stimulating conversation with like minds, there is exciting growth, connectivity and community happening even when the landscape is grey and white.

A perfect example is the monthly convergence of ‘green thinking’ community members at various local pubs, microbreweries, etc.

Sustainable TC recently interviewed Andy McFarlane of TC Green Drinks about this local chapter of what, it turns out, is an international movement.

Continue reading

The Gift of Community Resilience

brrrp snapshotWe believe that the earth can be transformed from a place where excessive suffering is allowed to exist, to a place where harmony, peace and balance is accessible to all. We are committed to bringing about this transformation through partnership with those in our broader community, with a focus on communication, hospitality, education and service.

– Excerpt from the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center’s Mission Statement 

Bob Russell shared many gifts with our community.  His  life was dedicated to environmental and social justice.  As a result, he helped to birth projects like the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center for Peace and Justice (NREC), The Great Lakes Bioneers Conference, the Investigating Community Resilience show on Up North TV, and Traverse Peace Alerts,  to name just a few.  It goes without saying that we lost a great community leader when Bob passed away last August.  However, like most great leaders, his legacy will live on.

Over the next few years Bob’s presence will still be very much with us through one final unique gift he gave to us:  His favorite book list.

Continue reading

Drumroll please! And the winner of the $100 gift certificate is…

We’re so excited to have had so many entries for our drawing for $100 gift certificate to sustainable clothing shop Pretty Stinkin’ Green.

Yesterday we put all the names in a hat and drew out the lucky winner’s name. Congratulations, Shirley Murray of Traverse City!

We are inclined to believe Shirley must have some good karma on her side, since she was instrumental in bringing the recent “High Cost of Cheap Fashion” presentation to the American Association of University Women’s November meeting. Shirley is a member of the AAUW TC chapter. She tries to practice mindfulness in her clothing purchases and it seems the universe decided to reward her. :)

Pictured are Sustainable TC founder Maura Brennan (right) presenting the gift certificate to Shirley. Have fun shopping!

photo (45)

Thanks everyone for participating, and keep an eye out on Sustainable TC for other fun activities, new articles and features. We’ve got some great ideas in the works.

Don’t forget to use our Green Directory to help you shop local and sustainable this holiday season.

Please share with friends and family! (and if you know of a local artisan or business that not currently listed but you think ought to be, please encourage them fill out our survey to be considered for a free basic listing).