SYMPOSIUM: SUSTAINABILITY 2012 – SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES Date: Next Thursday, May 3rd, 2012, 5:30 – 8:00pm Place: Green Home Chicago Design Center, 213 N. Morgan St. #1D, Chicago, IL 60607


Date: Next Thursday, May 3rd, 2012, 5:30 – 8:00pm

Place: Green Home Chicago Design Center, 213 N. Morgan St. #1D, Chicago, IL 60607 click here for directions

Registration required, $10 per person, limited seating


The issue of sustainability as it pertains to commercial and residential building is large, multi-dimensional and evolving. Join us as a panel of leading national experts discusses the current state of the industry, and addresses important, relevant questions about its status and growth. To focus the forum, the panel will begin with the intellectual and philosophical question – “What is sustainability?” – and will then move to discuss its applicability to building specifically. This is intentional to focus discussion along the parameters of whether we are, as an industry, focusing on the right issues in day-to-day business.

The symposium features a panel presentation with audience question-and-answer. Diana Tychsen, senior editor, CS Interiors, will moderate the session, which is hosted by Karen Kalmek, president, Green Home Chicago Design Center.

Ken Dunn
Founder and Director, The Resource Center

Helen J. Kessler FAIA, LEED Fellow
HJ Kessler Associates, Inc.

Christopher R. Drew Ph.D
Director of Sustainability, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architects

Amanda N. Mahon LEED AP BD+C
Interior Designer and LEED Consultant, Green Home Chicago Design Center

Panelists will be answering specific questions and the audience will be invited to participate in the moderated event.


Please visit our website:
or our webstore:
Please share any comments, products or ideas with us as we continue to grow.

In peace,

Karen Kalmek, Founder
Green Home Chicago

213 N. Morgan #1D | Chicago | IL | 60607 | 312.432.9400
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Ken Dunn to Keynote Toledo Hunger Summit

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Grand Opening of Creative Reuse Warehouse at the ReBuilding Exchange

ReCreate celebrates the new Creative Reuse Warehouse
at the ReBuilding Exchange!

Grand opening April 28, 3:00-5:30pm
2160 N. Ashland Avenue in Chicago (enter from Webster).

Grand Opening 4/28/2012 3-5:30 pm

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Ken is kick-off speaker at NU Sustainable Food Talks



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New City Farm Food to Farm Compost Collection Service

City Farm Food to Farm Compost Collection Service

The Resource Center now collects food waste from restaurants, food service, universities and other entities that want a higher level of sustainability while supporting a strong local food system.

Chicago generates over 2000 tons of food waste every day. The City Farm Food to Farm Compost Collection Service turns food waste into the nutrient-packed compost we use to grow our delicious City Farm produce. Call Ken at (773) 758-1351 for more information


  • Service Areas: Loop, lakefront, and nearby
  • Weekly or more frequent pickups to meet your needs
  • We provide collection carts
  • Up to 4,000lbs per pickup
  • Composting training for your staff.
  • Supports your sustainability and carbon reduction plans
  • Complementary waste audit to determine composting and recycling potential.
  • Can help organizations meet Section 3, MBE, WBE.
  • Assistance complying with the Chicago Climate Action Plan and recycling regulations including a recycling plan, collection requirements, and required documentation.


  • Supports local food system
  • Helps meet your sustainability goals
  • Clean, safe quick
  • Organic waste odor and vector control
  • Reduce conventional waste up to 25%
  • High quality standards.


Funded in part by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

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Transforming Chicago’s Green Community: Foresight Design Recognizes Three Leaders

Ken Dunn, Founder and President of Resource Center, along with Marilyn Jones, founder and President of Consolidated Printing, and Eco-Entrepreneur Barry Bursak were honored for their pioneering contributions at a special Green Drinks event held on December 7th at Haworth’s showroom in the Merchandise Mart.

These “trailblazers” in the Chicago green community were recipients of Foresight Design Initiative’s first ever Sustainable Transformation Award. The honorees were recognized for their relentless drive to bring about positive and green change in their communities. Together, they have a combined 80 years of experience in environmentally sustainable practices.

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Announcement: Wrightwood Drop-Off Site to Close on 11/9

As recyclers, we have persisted through both periods of great public interest and periods when it felt like we were the lone voice for recycling. And we will continue to advocate and promote recycling and sustainability initiatives throughout Chicago. We invite you to join us and support the Resource Center’s efforts.

And announcing the closure of the Wrightwood Recycling Drop-off site pains us because, as friends of the Resource Center know, we are passionate about helping Chicago recycle more. A letter from Founder & President, Ken Dunn, follows with details on the closure.

Changes in Resource Center’s Recycling Operations:

Wrightwood Drop-Off Location to Close on November 9th

Dear Resource Center Supporters,

For more than thirty years, the Resource Center has provided free recycling drop-off centers for residents at locations around Chicago.  We currently operate four drop-off centers: Wrightwood & Lincoln, Uptown, North Park Village and the Railyard. We maintain these drop-off sites and keep them open to the public because of our commitment to sustainability and our belief that communities should have access to recycling services. And this has been possible through the generosity of individual donors and the organizations that own the sites. Specifically, we owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Long his colleagues at the 7 Eleven at 2600 N. Lincoln Avenue for twenty-seven years of hosting our Wrightwood Neighbors Drop-off Center.

What’s Changing?

The Wrightwood collections site, located in the parking lot of the 7 Eleven on 2600 N. Lincoln Ave., is closing. The last drop-off day at this site will be Wednesday, November 9th. This change will not affect our other recycling services. We will continue to operate the three other drop-off sites, and all residential and commercial recycling collections will continue uninterrupted.

What You Can Do.

We value your commitment to recycling and we encourage you to continue your efforts. If you are affected by the Wrightwood site closure, we recommend taking your household recyclables to the recycling facility nearest you.  You can visit one of our other three drop-off locations or a nearby City of Chicago center. The nearest City of Chicago Blue Recycling Drop-Off Center is located at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Drive). For information on hours, materials collected and other City drop-off sites, visit the City of Chicago’s website. We support the City of Chicago in its efforts to expand responsible single stream recycling throughout the City.  While we still believe in the value of our Clean Stream approach, which keeps recyclables separate from one another and as pure as possible, we recommend using the drop-off center closest to you.

Recycling Collections for Commercial and Residential Buildings

We are Chicago’s largest not-for-profit recycler. We provide pick-up services for a variety of businesses, schools, universities, restaurants, museums and multi-family residential buildings. If you are interested in finding out more about our collection services, contact Mike McNamee to request a proposal or call us at (773) 821-1351.

Recycling is our core. Nearly forty years ago, we were one of the first organizations to recognize the value of recycling in Chicago. Today we recycle more than 6,000 tons of material every year. Read more about our 99% guarantee and the story about our recycling services here.

Thank you for your continued support. We invite you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the Wrightwood site closure. We want to continue to be your recycling partner and your source for all things sustainable. Visit our website to find out more about our other resource recovery and urban agriculture programs. Together we can make a difference.

Your Chicago recycling partner,
Ken Dunn

Founder & President

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A “Thank You” Farm-B-Q & a big ol’ fire!

Resource Center’s resident photographer (and Perishable Food Recovery program director!), Kristin Hartigan, snapped some shots of a fall Farm-B-Q.  Check out her other blog post featuring an American Idol Farm Day.

Last month, the Resource Center held it’s annual Urban Harvest.  It went MOST EXCELLENTLY!  the weather held off, and the sun was shining bright.  But this event could not have happened without our numerous volunteers.  People of all ages had signed up months in advance to help out with Urban Harvest and for that, the Resource Center is most thankful!  From multiple planning meetings, to cleaning up after Urban Harvest; the volunteers made it all possible.

In traditional Resource Center style, the farmers and the staff elected to give the volunteers a HUGE Thank You by throwing a potluck Farm-B-Q (a BBQ on the Farm…).  Farm-B-Q’s are a relaxed event that happen multiple times through out the spring/summer/fall and are generally reserved for staff.  By having a Volunteer Thank You Farm-B-Q we included the volunteers as “staff” for a moment and gave them a glimpse of how we all relax.  It was a good time, had by ALL!  (it usually is!)

Check out some of the pictures from the Volunteer Thank-You Farm-B-Q below:

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An Ode to the Majestic Plastic Bag: A Mockumentary [Video]

Have you ever thought of what happens to the plastic bags we throw out? They may end up on the street corner, beautifully floating about on breezy days, but not for long. They travel. Follow the journey of one plastic bag.

What happens to your grocery bags? We don’t have to contribute to the plastic cycle of life, you can choose reusable bags. What are your thoughts on the question “paper, plastic or bring your own?”

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Do you have what it takes to be a King Onion?

Become a King Onion & Support the Future of City Farm!

Urban Harvest, an evening to celebrate King Onion

Urban Harvest 2011 is upon us! On September 24 we invite you to a decidedly urban affair—on a farm. This unique event will feature hay rides and family activities from 4-6p m, featuring the Urban Worm Girl and food demos from Elena of the Kids’ Table.

Then after six o’clock, we bring out the stars—that is, the food made by our partner chefs, like Paul Virant of Vie and Jason Vincent of Nightwood, using freshly harvested produce from the farm. It’s the farm to fork to farm way of eating. It’s the King Onion way.

The Legend of King Onion

Onions are stinky little bulbs of goodness that add a sweetness to our dinner plates when sauteed and sometimes make us tear-up when we cut through their layers. And as the story goes, the wild onions growing along the mouth of the Chicago river gave Chicago its name. It is what some have come to refer to as the Swenson & McCafferty “smelly onion theory.” That is, John F. Swenson, an avid historian and heirloom plant advocate, along with friend Michael McCafferty published papers on the origins of Chicago’s name.

According to the legend, Swenson claimed that the name Chicago was derived from the Native American Algonquian tribe’s word for “wild onion,” shikaakwa. But other linguistics argue that it is a French word. But the legend, like the smell of an onion, lingers. And our City Farm emblem, the King Onion, is a bridge to the pasta past when local produce was abundant and accessible. Today, we look back over the history of the land to look towards the future, as we plan for new sites to grow new farms in the City.

King Onion is a champion of urban agriculture and on September 24 we are celebrating the past and future of Urban Harvests in the City of Chicago.

You & King Onion

As we prepare to grow the farm, we’re looking to our King Onion supporters to help pave the way to more acres. King Onion ticket holders will walk away with a special City Farm tote bag, made out of recycled PET, and filled with City Farm t-shirts and goodies from Chicago’s own bluegrass band, Tangleweed and the Kids’ Table.

Are you a King Onion?

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