Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rain Garden in Winter

With the assistance of CCGT's rain garden program, we created this demonstration rain garden at home. It has been the inspiration for the InterAmerican Magnet School Chinampa Rain Garden. 65 great students and their teachers now know how to build it. And it cost only $100.00!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Curitiba Exhibit Teams Up With Cafe Igarai Artwork at Metropolis

Invitation for Metropolis Cafe
Sunday, April 6, 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Dear friends,
We are happy to invite you for the opening of an exciting exhibit at Metropolis Café in Chicago, this Sunday, April 6, 2008, from 6:30pm to 8:00 pm.

Address: 1039 W. Granville Ave, Chicago, phone: 773 -764 0400

The exhibit is about Sustainability in Brazil: a rural and an urban project.
The theme of the rural project is crafts with coffee as a theme by the group Café Igarai.
The theme of the urban project is Curitiba, a city that is a model of sustainability.
Below you will find more detailed information about the two joint exhibits.

Sustainability in Rural Brazil
Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza – an organic coffee farm
Mococa – Sao Paulo

Cafe Igarai is a project designed first for the women who live at Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza, which grew into the neighboring village of Igarai. The women work in the coffee fields but that takes only 4 to 5 months of the year. So the project has the purpose of giving them another source of income. The theme of their embroidery is coffee. They were encouraged to draw what they see, their working environment: coffee trees, beans, cups, terraces, etc. The women are descendants of Italian immigrants so embroidery is very much part of their culture. They knew mostly only cross stitches when they started, but they had a natural talent for learning very fast all the new stitches they were taught.

The exhibit was designed to show and tell who these women are and how they started. We can see their faces, read a little about them. At the bottom of the banners are the original exams at the end of their training course: the new stitches they learned. The embroidered pictures that are for sale for $150.00 are a way to fundraise for them. The fabrics were natural dyed, another of their new skills, and all designs are theirs. Highlighting the importance of original design, natural dyeing and elaborate embroidery and crochet as a means of expression, as well as coffee as a theme is important to encourage them to evolve in a way that supports the development or their own identity. The prices of other items range from $9.00 to $28.00.

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza sells its gourmet organic coffee to Metropolis Café.
See and

"Sustainability in the Big City:
What Chicago Can Learn From Curitiba"

This exhibit is an overview of the sustainable city of Curitiba in southern Brazil and lessons it offers our own environmental efforts here in Chicago. Curitiba has been at the forefront in urban sustainability for more than 30 years with outstanding policies in transit-oriented development and bus rapid transit (BRT), sustainable zoning, green space, architecture preservation, affordable housing, recycling and environmental education. This project was funded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Architecture and is posted on the Center for Neighborhood Technology's web site. For more information contact Carmen Vidal-Hallett, LEED AP, International Associate AIA at