Archive for Events

Battle of the Brews a Huge Success

From the bottom of my heart I’d like to thank all of the guests, homebrewers and judges who made our inaugural Battle of the Brews a resounding success! Mother Nature co-operated and gave us great weather. The brats from Kinderhook Tap were seriously the best I’ve ever had. The staff and volunteers from the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry were enthusiastic and brought their passion to the party.

Marty Nachel, author of Homebrewing for Dummies, was one of our celebrity judges along with Paul Kreiner of Burke Beverage and Chris Withey of Kinderhook Tap. They voted Jeffrey Sobczynski Homebrewer of the Year. And the People’s Choice award, Master Hopster, went to Daryl Hoedtke! In addition to their Battle trophies, both winners also received $100 gift certificates to Kinderhook Tap.

Plans are already in the works for making next year’s competition bigger and better. Stay tuned!





Judges Paul Kreiner, Chris Withey and Marty Nachel with Maria Onesto Moran of Green Home Experts and Jeffrey Sobczynski, Homebrewer of the Year.



Judges and Queen Bee with Daryl Hoedtke, Master Hopster

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Join Us in July for Two Unique Events!

Ladies Staycation Saturday, July 21st 5-9pm

Get away from it all–at least for a few hours! Treat yourself to an all-inclusive evening of food and signature drinks. Enjoy express spa services from Team Blonde, chillax out back in our Garden Center and pick up fresh recipes from our cooking demonstrations by New Rose Catering.

Grab a friend and give yourself the night off for our Ladies Staycation!  Reservations are required. Come in or call 708-660-1443 to reserve your tickets, or buy online.

Battle of the Brews
Thursday, July 12 7pm-10pmJoin us as ten homebrewers compete for the People’s Choice award and Celebrity Judge award!

Enjoy savory food and beer from The Kinderhook Tap, receive a commemorative stein and giveaways! Marty Nachel, author of Homebrewing for Dummies and one of our celebrity judges, will be on hand to sell and autograph his books.

All of this for just $25! Non-drinking tickets are $15. All guests must be 21+. Tickets can be purchased at GHE or call 708-660-1443 or online. Proceeds benefit the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.

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Earth Fest was a huge success!

The Village of Oak Park’s 3rd annual Earth Fest was an oustanding success last Saturday, April 21st. Over 800 guests enjoyed 55 vendors who share information about local and sustainable foods and other environmental topics. Earth Fest was held at the Public Works building, a LEED-certified building. It’s always an honor for me to work with Karen and K.C. at the Village to put on this wonderful festival. If you need something done, ask Public Works!

Green Home Experts was there promoting our eco-garden center. Lucky for us, we were surrounded by Master Composters and Dig Right In eco-landscapers. It was a fabulous day and we are so thankful to everyone at the Village for their help. Thanks to our sponsors, vendors and everyone who came out!

More wonderful pictures of Earth Fest can be found here.

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Celebrate Our Big Leap!

Are you ready for it? It’s coming! On Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25 Green Home Experts is celebrating our grand reopening into our bigger and better location. From 11am to 1pm on Friday and 11am to 2pm on Saturday, our neighbors The Perfect Dinner will be serving up green appetizers and a special discount for GHE customers.

We hope you’ll come for the giveaways, product demonstrations and food. And we really, really hope you’ll come to see our enormous design showroom and expanded offerings of eco-lifestyle goods.

Celebrate with us!

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Be Mine, Valentine

I love Valentines Day.  I love it.  I love candy, flowers, romance and unabashed displays of affection.  I love chocolate, champagne, and hugs and kisses.  Get my drift?

Since this is the holiday for love, I think it’s the perfect time to show your love for Mother Earth.  Here are a few things we can all do to make Valentines Day greener:

1) Give the animals a break. Make a local, vegetarian meal for your honey.  You’ll reduce your carbon footprint and support family farms.

2) Use what you’ve got. Do you need to buy new valentines? Or can you use what you already have to make cards? Try to reduce what you consume as much as possible.  Reuse and recycle items.  And if you need to buy Valentines, check out our recycled paper valentines!

This Earth-friendly Valentine Card Making Kit comes with everything you need to make 25 sustainable valentine cards, along with a recycled paper “In-Box” to decorate.


3) Send organic flowers. Freshly cut flowers are one of my favorite indulgences.  But this time of year, they come from far away lands and usually are grown with conventional pesticides and fertilizers.  Ask your local florist for a more sustainable option, or check out

So, here are three quick tips for a greener V-Day.  Do you have other ideas?  Please share with us!




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What’s a CSA?

What is Community Supported Agriculture? How does it work to get fresh, local vegetables into your community each season? Why is that important for farming, your health and the Earth?

Certified organic vegetable growers will give a talk and answer questions about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 1st at the Oak Park Public Library, Main Branch.  The public is welcome to attend at no charge.  RSVPs to Green Home Experts are appreciated, but not necessary.

This method of subscribing for a full season of fresh produce from a local farmer started in Japan and Europe in the 1960s, making its way to the United States in the 1980s. It has grown from just two CSA farms on the East Coast to more than 3,000 listed on the Local Harvest web site.

Scotch Hill Farms is a member of the Madison Area CSA Coalition, in which all growers must be certified organic. The regional coalition also helps make vegetable subscriptions more affordable to low income families through a Partner Shares program, which raises funds annually to go 50-50 on purchase of organic vegetable subscriptions with qualifying households.

In the CSA program, Dela and Tony will explain how growers practice Community Supported Agriculture. Scotch Hill is entering its 16th year as a CSA garden and small-scale livestock farm, delivering to households in Fitchburg, Middleton, Janesville, and Madison, WI as well as Chicago and Oak Park. The farm started with 5 subscribers in Janesville in 1994, growing to 215 subscribers last year.  Scotch Hill delivers to Green Home Experts, 823 S. Oak Park Ave., in Oak Park.

Scotch Hill’s goal this year is to serve at least 300 households and make it possible for son Micah Ends to enter the growing operation as a partner. Micah is working to complete his associate’s degree in agri-business at Blackhawk Technical College in Monroe, WI.

For more information, please contact Maria Onesto Moran, President of Green Home Experts, at (708) 660-1443 or

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Local Trend Watch

Local Trend Watch
10 Ways Oak Parkers are Going Green

  1. Zero Waste Lunches. Several area schools have received funding from the DCEO to create zero waste lunch days.  This gets parents in the habit of packing lunches with reusable containers and composting food waste.
  2. Rain Barrels. Last summer’s successful “Roll Out the Rain Barrels” campaign (League of Women Voters) put rain barrels on the map—literally.  Residents are more aware of storm water management and water conservation, and rain barrels have become rather commonplace!
  3. Composting. Outdoor bins and piles, vermiculture indoors, whatever suits your fancy.  30% of what we throw away is food waste—unless you compost.  Make better use of your kitchen and yard waste by composting.  The result is nutrient rich—and free—compost for your yard!
  4. Gardening. Food mileage and eating locally are front line issues today.  Many people are returning to the Victory Garden movement by planting veggie beds at home and participating in community gardens.  This is a great way to save money and to know exactly from where your food is coming.
  5. CSA’s. To go further into the localvore movement, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  Your participation helps fund small farms and ensures you’ll have local, organic produce all summer long.
  6. Energy Incentives. Take advantage of federal tax incentives that expire at the end of 2010.  Insulation, alternative energy, doors, windows and more are covered.
  7. Greener Gatherings. We’re nearing the season for block parties, graduations, and family reunions.  Throw parties with paperless invitations, reusable or compostable plates, cutlery and cups; recycle and compost.  The possibilities are endless!
  8. Shopping Locally. Now, more than ever, local businesses are depending on you to help them thrive.  For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.  If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here.  Spend it online and nothing comes home.
  9. Cutting Out Cars. Consider biking/walking one day a week.  Reduce your carbon footprint, save on gas, and get in shape!

10.  Getting Organized. Many groups exist in and around Oak Park to
support your efforts.  Interfaith Power & Light is a group of different congregations who are active in greening their communities.  Power of 10 is involved in greening Oak Park. Area schools and PTO’s have wellness and/or green teams.  Start or join a green team at work and in your faith community.  Start a green block in your neighborhood!  Attend Earth Fest on April 24, learn more about the work of the Environmental & Energy Advisory Commission, and get involved!

Upcoming Events
More information about all of these events can be found in the Events section at All of these events are free, unless otherwise noted.

4/17: Great Paint Exchange

4/19: LEED for Homes 101: An Introduction to USGBC’s Residential Program

4/20: Green Tuesday: OPRF Community Foundation Sustainability Vision

4/21: Home Energy Reduction Workshop

4/22: Earth Day 40th Anniversary

4/24: Oak Park Earth Fest

4/27: Green Tuesday: What’s New in Waste

4/29: Renew. Refresh. Reconnect.  Bring a necklace or bracelet that you’d like to refresh.*

5/6: Create a Cocktail Container Garden*

5/9: Kids’ Activity: Create an Ecosphere*

* Denotes a charge for participation.

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