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Southeast Chicago goes from steel to green

Where steel once was king, a green economy is beginning to bloom.

The Second Annual Green Summit, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Villa Guadalupe, 3201 E. 91st St., and on the street nearby offers area residents a snapshot of currently available green, eco-friendly and healthy initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life. The Summit will promote economic development consistent with the community’s cultural and economic diversity.

Photo: Maureen Kelleher

Green Summit bus tours will visit South Chicago's award-winning community gardens, like this one maintained by seniors at 82nd and Buffalo. 

The Summit will feature keynote speaker Naomi Davis, who launched Blacks in Green on Earth Day 2007 to rally people across the country around the cause of “global green practices.” Her grand vision for the Calumet region is to connect people to the land, celebrate the area’s natural and cultural heritage, and turn it around economically for the residents.

Other invited guests are State Reps. Barbara Flynn-Currie and Marlow Colvin and Ald. John A. Pope.

Learning to live green on the Southeast Side will be the focus of the 10th Ward Green Summit. Last year hundreds of area residents and visitors participated. (For an article about last year's event, please click here.)

This year attendees can learn about such greening efforts as new affordable, energy-efficient homes, roof gardens, community gardens, solar-operated trash collectors, and restoration of Hegewisch Marsh, the future site of the Ford Environmental Education Center.

There will be exhibits on healthy eating and energy efficiency, flea market, and recycled art activities for the family from South Chicago to Wolf Lake and Eggers Grove. Also back by popular demand from last year will be the 10th Ward free bus tour, which will be available to participants to visit and hear the history of Southeast Chicago and its transformation from the closing of the Steel Mills into a Greening Community.

Photo: Maureen Kelleher

The Bush Community Garden of Hope brings South Chicagoans healthy, locally grown food. 

“During these difficult economic times we really want participants to see how living a greener lifestyle can be healthier and affordable,” says Jackie Samuel, Claretian Associates, New Communities Program director. “We are so excited this year about the Green Summit because we are finally coming into our new identity as a greener community.

Along with participating in this year’s Burnham Plan Centennial we are celebrating our history and showcasing our efforts to be a greener and healthier place to live.”

A version of this article first appeared at www.claretianassociates.org

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