Friday, December 31, 2010

Kris Carr comes to Tulsa

Greetings to all of you and Happy New Year!! Green Drinks has been on a bit of a hiatus, but there are some great things in store for 2011. For the first event this year, I am beyond happy to say, we will welcome actress, author, and film maker Kris Carr!

When: February 5th at 7:30pm
Where: Whole Foods Tulsa - 1401 E 41st St - Tulsa, OK 74105

Back in 2003, Kris released her documentary on The Learning Channel: Crazy Sexy Cancer. She was diagnosed with an incureable, inoperable cancer - epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE). It is so rare that only 0.01 percent of the cancer population has it. The cause is unknown. When Kris was diagnosed she was in stage IV. There is no stage V. But instead of sitting back and waiting for her time to run out, she took matters into her own hands and began her journey to wellness.

TV appearances '07 from Crazy Sexy Life on Vimeo.

Since there was no medication or treatment, Kris looked to nutrition and lifestyle for the answers. She began a raw vegan diet, loaded with juicing, wheatgrass, smoothies, and lots & lots of veggies. She meditated, did yoga, swang from the trapeze, danced, jumped on trampolines, met with gurus....and she is still doing all that today, in 2011. almost 8 years later Kris is not only still alive, but she is ROCKIN'! Since the release of her film, her tumors have shrunk, she got married, adopted a rescue dog (Lola), has been on Oprah, worked with Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation,
established a website with a super star panel of contributors (AND which won the website launch of the year in 2009 with Vegnews Magazine), and has spoken all over the country inspiring millions. This year she releases her third book, Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!

As you can see, this woman is a red hot spark of illumination & awakening. Over the last 5 years or so, I have followed her blogs, read her books, and put her DVD in the hands of countless friends looking for inspiration. Much like Kris, I prefer to not sit back and wait. When the breeze has been taken out of my sails I search for trade winds. A few months back, I was looking to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies for retreats. Along the way, I also looked for speaking events Kris might be holding. That was when I discovered her upcoming release and book tour. Being the literary hot spot that Tulsa has become (thanks to our favorite Tulsan Jeff Martin and his killer line up at Booksmart Tulsa), I figured she would want to make a stop here. A few emails with her publicist later and there you go - Kris Carr's last stop is on February 5th, at 7:30 pm at Whole Foods Tulsa! She'll be speaking about the new book, answering questions, and signing. This is another great partnership with Booksmart Tulsa. Some of our most exciting events have been with this organization, which is making it's indelible mark on our fair state. I encourage you to check out their site and show your support.

Though you may want to run out and buy her book ASAP, Kris is asking that you wait until January 16-22. Those are the (only) dates that count towards getting her onto the best sellers list. So hold your horses, cowgirls and cowboys. Let's help a sister out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pro Energy Consultants with PSO at Exhibit

Summer is officially over, but Green Drinks is just warming up for the fall season. In October, John Abdo, Owner of Pro Energy Consultants, will parter with Public Service Company of Oklahoma to speak about greening your home or office through energy audits. This will be a great chance to learn about utilizing monetary incentives from PSO to improve the energy efficiency of your home while saving you money.

So what is a home energy audit, you ask? It is a process used to check your home for leaks, insulation, & drafts. Is the A/C unit in need of a tune up? Do you have proper ventilation? The Pro Energy Consultant performing your home energy audit will take pictures of your home with an infrared camera to locate hot spots. A blower door will be used to pull air flow through the home in search of leaks. Duct work will be checked for proper installation and sealing. These are just a few examples, but come October 13th and you'll be able to learn more about the benefit of having your own home energy audit.

At the October Green Drinks event John will talk about the updates he has been making to a home here in midtown Tulsa, showing before and after pictures taken along the way. You might be surprised at how simple and inexpensive some of the updates can be! PSO has also been working on a project with Habitat for Humanity where the energy efficiency of the home was considered in each step. In fact the home was built to Energy Star standars - Energy Star homes are 20% to 30% more energy efficient than average homes.

Why is all of this important? First of all, making small improvements can save you a lot of money on your energy bills. Secondly, by drawing less power from the grid, you reduce the load that must be supplied by the energy company. That equates to burning less coal! As our cities grow, so must the capacity - unless we all make small steps to lessen the demand. This is called Demand Side Management and it puts the responsibility into the hands of the consumer...every little bit makes a difference.

There are a number of incentives being offered by PSO to customers interested in energy efficiency improvements, including HVAC tune ups, home energy audits (up to $1500), and even a $125-$825 rebate for the replacement of your old, inefficient heating and cooling units with new energy effcient ones.

This Green Drinks will not only be an excellent learning experience that will send you home with new tools and resources, but it is being held in a lovely modern art gallery on Brookside: Exhibit. While networking you can enjoy artwork by Adam Shaw and hor d'oeuvres from The Kitchen, a new restaurant located just a few doors down. The catering will use ingredients from local producers. Parking is located on the back side of Center 1. There will be door prizes to win and you can find out how you can recieve a $50 gift card from the Pro Energy Consultants referral program!

Green Drinks with Pro Energy Consultants and PSO
October 13, 2010, 5:30-7:30pm
Held at Exhibit
3524 S Peoria

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Green Drinks at The Canebrake

While I'm not sure what you might look for on a vacation, or a weekend getaway, I can tell you what suits my taste: rest, relaxation, good food, peace & quiet, healthy activities, and massage. A book and wine are typically included in that mix, in more than one (if not all) of those areas. It isn't so often that I can find all of that under the labels of sustainable, organic, local... In fact, hotels and resorts can be quite the opposite. But we have a special little gem here in Oklahoma: The Canebrake.

The Canebrake is Oklahoma's only certified ECO resort. This beautiful country get-away (think Napa, with an Oklahoma twist), is the premier boutique resort in this region. Owners Sam and Lisa Bracken, Executive Chef and CYO - Chief Yoga Officer (no, that is not her official title but I deemed it fitting for now!), moved back to Sam's family roots and started building their vision. It began with the Yoga Barn and has grown into a resort that offers not only accommodations but also a spa, restaurant, live music venue, boutique, and events center.

September 8th, 6-9pm
The Canebrake
33241 East 732nd Road
Wagoner, OK 74467

If you haven't guessed by now, it's a pretty nice place. So when The Canebrake and Green Drinks decided to partner I was more than excited - I was thrilled to shine a light on a company that has made such great strides to create a sustainable operation which respects the land and the well being of it's guests. And it isn't just the ambiance of the resort itself. Lisa, Sam, and Marketing Director Adam Miller are lively and welcoming people. All three of these folks have a magnetic energy that clearly says "I love what I do for a livin'" I can't blame them...

We will be hosting September's Green Drinks #2 (see previous entry for #1) on September 8th from 6-9pm at The Canebrake. There will be live music from Rick Reily on the patio, complimentary snacks, and a cash bar. Wagoner is approximately 45 minutes from Tulsa, so please consider carpooling or riding with friends. Remember, it's a green event! For those interested, there is a yoga class taught by Lisa at 6pm - Hour of Power - for $10. The entrance to the Yoga Barn is next to the main entryway.

It is not often that events such as this are hosted out here, at no cost to you. That's right, it is free. You will not want to miss this opportunity to visit, but you must RSVP for this event. Please send your RSVP to me directly at

An Evening With Jonathan Safran Foer

Green Drinks is very excited to be partnering, once again, with Booksmart Tulsa to welcome author Jonathan Safran Foer. He will be speaking at Congregation B'Nai Emunah on September 2nd at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.

"What makes Eating Animals so unusual is vegetarian Foer's empathy for human meat eaters, his willingness to let both factory farmers and food reform activists speak for themselves, and his talent for using humor to sweeten a sour argument."
—O, The Oprah Magazine

"One of the most distinctive literary voices of his generation." - Malcolm Gladwell

"I'm still eating meat but I'm eating less of it. And, I'll never look at shrink-wrapped chicken cutlets the same way again."
—Mickey Rapkin, GQ

He can be seen here on Larry King Live discussing his new book along with Anthony Bourdain and Dr. Colin Campbell.

Jonathan is also the author of Everything Is Illuminated, which was made into a film in 2002, starring Elijah Woods.

This is an event you will not want to miss.

Congregation B'Nai Emunah
1719 South Owasso Avenue
September 2nd, 7-11:30pm
Free and open to the public

For more inforation on Booksmart Tulsa, visit

Sunday, August 1, 2010

smartcenter Tulsa and Green Drinks pair up for August's event

This twosome is a match made in Hambach, France (where the smart fortwo is manufactured) and Tulsa, OK. Green cars in a city where personal vehicles are the primary means of transportation are an ideal solution to improving our air quality and fuel economy, which is exactly what you can discover at the August event. This month we will host our monthly Green Drinks at smatcenter Tulsa.

Created back in 1993, these cars have been saving space on the road for over a decade. The smart fortwo is 8 ft shorter that the average American car. In fact, if every vehicle sold in the US were a smart, this would free up 24,242 miles of roadway (which is just shy of the circumference of Earth). I bet all those folks who commute to and from the 'burbs would appreciate getting home a little sooner. The small size of the vehicles is also part of how they maximize fuel economy. These cars get 33 city/41 highway MPG. For reference, one of the more popular SUVs sold in the US gets 11 city/16 highway MPG. That is TRIPLE the savings on emissions and (arguably) more importantly your wallet.

It's not just what these cars don't use after production, it's also what they save before they make it to their happy eco-friendly owners. The parts are shipped in re-usable containers and the cars themselves are 95% recyclable. How do they do that? You'll have to come to Green Drinks and ask the specialists themselves!

The representatives from smart center Tulsa will present the green features of the smart. Enjoy catering from Bohemia and sip on a glass-o-vino while listening and mingling.

What: Green Drinks and smarts, catering from Bohemia Catering
Where: smart center Tulsa - 9393 S Memorial Drive
When: August 11, 2010 from 6-8pm

While you're at it, mark your calender for next month, because you are going get a double dose of Green Drinks. That's right. (Apparently two is the magic number these days) On September 2nd we're partnering, once again, with Booksmart Tulsa to welcome author Jonathan Safran Foer. He'll be speaking about his newest released book: Eating Animals. This event will be held at Congregation B'Mai Emunah. On September 15th you will get a once and a lifetime, complimentary treat at The Canbrake. We'll hear how owners Sam and Lisa Bracken have made this little slice of heaven the greenest resort in the Mid-West. Meanwhile you'll be able to enjoy the live music and catering. If you haven't been out to The Canebrake, I highly reccomend it. Eat at the top notch restaurant, take a yoga class, get a massage, go for a hike, just go and unplug!! It is an awesome, awesome (yeah, double awesome) place.

See you next Wednesday!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Drinks made the Channel 6 news! Click here to check out the video.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chad Burden (host of this month's Green Drinks) in the Tulsa Journal Record

From Burden to green dream: Tulsa man takes on abandoned house for sustainability project
by D. Ray Tuttle
Published: July 7th, 2010
Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories on creativity in business, education and the arts in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City will host the World Creativity Forum in November.

TULSA – Chad Burden’s dream of earning a master’s degree in environmental science from Oklahoma State University became something of a nightmare as he tackled an abandoned house, overgrown with vegetation that resembled the jungles of Vietnam and filled chest-deep with unopened mail and garbage.

Burden said he was delusional when he started a college master’s degree project to turn an abandoned house into a superefficient green home. Nevertheless, he blew away a panel of Ph.D.s when he defended his thesis in May.

After examining his thesis, he said, the stunned jury asked if he would teach a class on green home building.

Burden, who has been working on the project for 18 months, can see the finish line and laugh about all the gaffes and lessons learned about remodeling.

In 2007, the Navy veteran, looking to use government assistance for schooling, decided to earn a master’s degree in environmental science.

“Green is hot, so I decided to re-educate myself for the green economy,” Burden said.

Burden decided to buy an abandoned house next door to him and turn it into his class project, using sustainable techniques. He decided to earn certification from the three most-recognized green building codes in the United States: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star for Homes program, the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Standards for rating a building’s greenness have been established by several organizations, using point systems to rate energy, water use, materials, design and more. Burden’s home will be triple certified, using all three green building platforms.

“Since the Energy Star for Homes program contains so many important facets, it is actually a prerequisite of the LEED protocol,” said Burden. “An Energy Star-certified home is great for Tulsa – a triple-certified Energy Star /NAHB/LEED home is unheard of.”

It is the only triple-certified home in the state, he added, and perhaps in the nation.

Reaching this point has not been easy – or cheap.

Burden has spent about 750 hours – all nights and weekends – turning the 60-year-old three-bedroom house into a top-of-line green-certified remodeled home.

Burden originally budgeted $150,000. He expected to spend $41,000 for the property acquisition and $110,000 for the renovation.

He blew through that cash pretty quick.

“We’re well north of $200,000,” Burden said. “If I would have known exactly what I was getting into … I was absolutely delusional,” he said.

Burden said he was naive about the remodeling process when he began, forgetting to budget for items like drywall. He points to a plywood bulletin board in the front yard that informed passersby about the renovation.

“My first building project,” he said.

Burden nearly gutted the house, moving the bedrooms to one side, adding a three-quarter bath and combining the living room with the kitchen, which served to open up half the house.

By the time Burden reached the backyard, with the money gone, he was ready to do be done with it.
“Not another dime,” he said. Instead of laying sod, Burden used mulch.

He initially planned to renovate the house and sell it for $175,000. But as time passed and the investment grew, Burden became convinced he’d need to keep it and maybe sell his original home. Plus, there was the emotionally investment he’d made.

“We like it,” he said.

Burden, who lives in midtown Tulsa with his wife, Amy, and three children – Isaac, 9; Nate, 7; and Billie, 3 – works in the finance department at Winnercom Inc. and coaches two children’s soccer teams. After doing all that, he’d spend a few hours at night and weekends on the house.

It took two-and-a-half months just to empty the house. Burden painstakingly sorted the metal, plastic and cardboard, saving 28 percent of the material for recycling.

And he started writing letters.

“I wrote to product manufacturers, trying to get deals, managing contractors, answering e-mails and writing stories for our blog,” Burden said.

Burden was surprised by the response from product manufacturers, who quickly jumped on board his project. He received many donations and discounted products from product manufactures. In total, he figures to have at least $300,000 in retail value into the home.

The home is filled with tons of sustainable features, including a recycled steel roof by Joplin, Mo.-based Tamko Inc., spray-foam insulation, rainwater harvesting system and drought-resistant, noninvasive plants. Virtually all the merchandise and equipment came from local or regional vendors.

The features and the techniques Burden used in the construction of the home have been certified by inspectors. Burden has the documents verifying the sustainability.

“I am ready to move on to something else,” Burden said, with a tired smile, like a man who has had a burden lifted from his shoulders.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July's event in the Tulsa World

Our event with AEP-PSO and Chad Burden was featured in the Tulsa World on Saturday. Read the article here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Home Weatherization - Save the planet, save money.

Thank you to everyone who came out last month to the Booksmart and Green Drinks collaborative No Impact Man events. There was a great turnout at both the film & Colin Bevan's visit. None of these events would have been possible without the help of our sponsors. Thank you Circle Cinema for providing the space, set up, and take down. If you have not caught a film there (really???), please treat yourself soon! Buy an organic cookie while you're there - they're yummy. Thank you to smart center Tulsa for underwriting our fliers. And a huge thanks you Joshua Lee for photographing the events!

Have you noticed that lately there has been a lot of talk about tax rebates, home weatherization, cost savings, & energy efficiency? There are many ways to save big on your home energy bills, and right now is a great time to start doing so. It's surprising how simple it can be. Small home improvements will lighten the load on our power grid, cut down on CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. Small changes make a big difference not just in our bills, but for the planet.

During July's Green Drinks, AEP PSO will explain the home weatherization incentives that are being offered to residential customers. Some of those include HVAC tune ups, adding insulation, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents.

We will also get to tour a home that is seeking triple LEED Certification. The home was purchased and remodeled by University of Tulsa, Environmental Sciences Graduate Student, Chad Burden. Chad has renovated this home, inside and out, to make it one of the most energy efficient planet saving homes in T-town. From the windows and doors, the thermostat to the HVAC unit, the appliances to the water saving devices, this home will rock your organic cotton socks off!

July 14th from 5:30-7:30pm at 3530 E 21st Place. Catering from Elote. Door prizes. Education. Networking. Money saving tips.

Chad will provide a brief presentation, in addition to AEP's. You're going to learn so much about how to green your home this should count for some kind of continuing education credit!!! For more information on the home and his thesis project visit Also be sure to look for our ad in the upcoming issue of Tulsa People Magazine and Urban Tulsa Weekly!

Thank you in advance to our sponsor, AEP, who will be providing catering from Elote. Elote uses local organic ingredients, compostable take out and catering ware, and sells local beer and signature cocktails at their cafe in downtown Tulsa. What a treat to have them at Green Drinks - learn about green building while eating local food. Heck, ride your bike to this midtown location and you call yourself carbon negative for the day!

As always, Green Drinks is free and open to the public. Sustainable Green Country will also be present, with Local Food and Farmers Market Guides. SGC puts a lot of heart and soul into all these events, along with the film series, Local Foods Week, and Buy Fresh Buy Local. Please consider making a donation.

Now would be a good time to mark your calendars, because Green Drinks is booked through 2010. On August 11th at 5:30pm, Green Drinks will be held at smart center, where you can learn more about the smarts (aka those cute little cars that use very little fossil fuel). September 8th is your chance to see what Oklahoma Magazine has dubbed "Heaven on Earth" - aka, The Canebrake (!!). Tour the facility, get there early for a yoga class, and relax on the patio while you enjoy live music and top notch hors d'oeuvres from the kitchen, which uses local organic food. (I just visited this past weekend and let me tell you, folks - it's sweet.) On October 13, we'll pick up where we left off in July and learn more about energy audits for your home. John Abdo of Pro-Energy Consultants will be our special guest speaker. November 10th is your chance to check out the new bar at Elote. The bar itself was made of recycled materials, and this already great location will continue to serve delicious local food and drinks. on December 8th, cozy up with some locally roasted coffee at Topeca as we listen to how they address social responsibility and environmental stewardship in their practices.

July 14th from 5:30-7:30pm at 3530 E 21st Place. Catering from Elote. Door prizes. Education. Networking. Money saving tips. What's not to love? See you there.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Impact Man is RAIN OR SHINE!

The weather forecast is predicting rain tomorrow night. Hopefully that is wrong - forecasts often are... If rain comes, the film is still on! The event will be moved inside to the Crowne Plaza Ballroom on the ground floor.

See you there!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Impact Man - Colin Beavan

Could you live for one year without making an impact? Could you lower your carbon footprint? Cut back on electricity, or cut it off all together? Shop only locally, produce no trash, and use only your own two feet for transportation? Colin Beaven and his family did, and he made a movie about it.

In 2009 it premiered at the Sundance and Los Angeles Film Festivals. He went on the Colbert Report, Good Morning America, and he was featured in the NYTimes. Now he's on tour to talk about the film, the book, and the No Impact Project:

Well, guess what? As a collaboration with Sustainable Green Country, Booksmart Tulsa, Smart Car, Crowne Plaza Tulsa, The Tulsa Cineseries, and United Campus Ministry, Green Drinks is screening his film on June 2nd at 7pm on The Green in Downtown Tulsa. Just in case you aren't sure where I'm talking about, its at 3rd and Boston - you know, where they have Mayfest every year? What's even cooler? For starters, it's free. You can bring a lawn chair or a blanket for this outdoor event. Get there early for good seats - 150 peeps are expected. Second, there will be hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks for sale. And not just any hamburgers and hot dogs, but LOCAL ORGANIC ones!! Crowne Plaza is purchasing those goodies from Downing Family Farms, Pork N' Greens, Three Springs Farm, and Luna Bread - all Cherry St Farmers Market vendors. You'll also be able to visit with the good folks from Smart Car, who'll have thier vehicles on display and who have graciously sponsored the event. Talk to our pals from Up With Trees about volunteer opportunities or free/low cost trees. Improve your property value and beautify Tulsa while cleaning up the air - bonus. Sign up for curbside recycling with The MET. Also, at this event, be sure to dispose of your trash properly - there will be recycling bins brought to you by Kristen McCormick of Shikoba Recycling. Plus, you can buy the No Impact Man Book - the proceeds go to Sustainable Green Country and Tulsa Green Drinks. We'll have our farmers market guides too, in case you didn't already carry that with you....everywhere you go....

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colin Beavan
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

And that's not it. The following week on June 8th at Circle Cinema, the film maker himself (and reportedly his wife too.....rumor has it) will be speaking to Green Drinkers and signing his book. He'll tell us about the No Impact Project where he is challenging people to live carbon light,and to question our lifestyle habits. His book will also be available and there are plenty of refreshments for sale at The Circle. They even sell organic cookies and locally roasted coffee from Topeca.

The second half of the year is also packed with more cool events. We are booked through December with events from PSO, Elote, Pro Energy Consultants, The Canebrake, Topeca Coffee, and more. Stay tuned y'all. Good things are happenin' in T Town.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Global Green Drinks Webcast - "The State of Local Food"

Be part of the greater Green Drinks community!

Tune in May 12th between 7pm and 8:30pm EDT for a live webcast forum organized by New York’s Hudson Valley Green Drinks.

The topic: The Sustainable Food Movement – which is not limited to the Hudson Valley. At 7:40pm, the presentation will begin and will include a State of Local Food address by the President of Glynwood and the event will be moderated by Diane Hatz of The Meatrix and Sustainable Table fame.

For more info, go directly to HVGD’s site and bookmark it:

You can even sign up to get a reminder emailed to you right before the event starts
See you online!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

As I write this it's Saturday morning and I am anxiously awaiting another trip to the Cherry St. Farmers Market. I'll arrive just as the vendors are finishing their table set up, the sun will have just risen, and Tulsans will begin streaming in to purchase the freshest, local, organic food in Green Country. But make no mistake, those farmers did get up today and jump on their laptop (like I did). They were probably up at 4am to finish loading & packing, before making a drive of 1-2 hours.

Once on Cherry St, each vendor must erect a tent, table, signs, goods, displays, etc. The day before, they were out harvesting lettuce, pulling onions, boxing eggs, or making the drive back from the processor with a freezer full of grass fed beef & free range chicken. By 10:30am today, they'll be cleaned out of most inventory, having supplied delicious goodies to hungry folks, eager to make a home cooked meal for their families and loved ones. After 11, the farmers can head back home, rest, and be awoken by the rooster's crow on Sunday morning.

Now let's step outside of that picturesque and pastoral image of the family farmer, and take a look at the grocery store. It's 5am and the 18 wheeler is backing up to the loading dock. The driver, who may have driven 30 plus hours from the Port of Los Angeles (where much of our South American goods enter the country) hops out and starts unloading canned goods (full of sodium), potato chips (made with hydrogenated oils and trans fats), and liter upon liter of sugary high fructose corn syrup laden sodas. There's the produce, mostly conventional - covered with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and it's possibly genetically modified. The whole time this is occurring, the diesel truck is left running, dumping noxious fumes and pollution into the atmosphere. The food that is being placed on the shelves did not come from a nearby farm. Rather, it likely came from a processing plant where it was broken down and mixed with emulsifiers, additives, and coloring agents. In the end, this food like substance was sealed neatly in packages made from virgin paper and petroleum based plastics.

Each American eats 8-10 food items a day. Each item averages 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate. Do the math - 15,000 miles per day, 105,000 per week, or 5,460,000 miles per year. The moon is about 238,900 miles away. That is roughly 11 trips there and back, in one year! For every American!!!! That's a lot of fossil fuel. Or you can choose food items that are raised locally and organically, and travel an average of 100 miles. Kind of a no brainer....

What one purchases at a grocer might seem cheaper than the farmers market goods, but when we buy processed foods we are not paying for nutrition or sustenance (there is virtually none of that in there). Rather, we are paying for packaging, corporate marketing, genetic research, pesticides, environmental damage, and fertilizer. These hidden costs are purposefully not self evident. And, our society is paying for an epidemic of type II diabetes, childhood obesity, and a loss of food safety & diversity. Perhaps you pay less at the store, but your tax dollars directly support that worthless model of a food system through government subsidies. I don't know about you, but that just doesn't sit well with me.

Don't get all depressed on me now. Really, we should be energized because right now the local food movement is reshaping the way we eat. Plus, there are many things you can do, today, to change the current system. First of all, know that it did not happen overnight. The policy changes that created this system occurred during the Nixon administration. More specifically, as a result of Earl (Rusty) Butz's (Nixon's Secretary fo Agriculture) agenda, which tore down 40 years of sucessfull farm policy. I don't want to get all polictical - my point is simply that the system was revolutionized in a lifetime, and it could be reversed in the same or less. How? Consumer is king. You vote with your dollars every time you take a bite. It is up to you to decide if you want to vote for local food or not.

This blog is only scratching the surface. There are countless books & cookbooks which have been written on the subject, endless documentary films, well funded institutions, grassroots organizations, and hundreds of thousands of people who have decided that it is time for a paradigm shift. You can learn more, right here in Tulsa, at May's Green Drinks event at the Silo.

The Silo is an event center located in West Tulsa. It is built from reclaimed barn wood, utilizes a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, and has a permeable pavement parking lot. The owner, Sandy Dittman, has graciously opened her doors for this event. Four Green Country farmers (also Cherry St. Farmers Market vendors) Wes Downing, Lisa Becklund, Emily Oakley, and Ron Crain, along with Doug Walton from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agrculture will be our special guests for a panel discussion - "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food". The title was taken from an initiative from the USDA (you know how I said the local food movement is chaning the way we eat? See below) :

There will be a demonstration on "Busting The Myth" - about local organic foods being more expensive. This will allow you to see with your own eyes that, pound for pound, your get more for your money from your local farmer. The event is free and open to the public. If that's not enough incentive to get you over there, there are free food samples prepared by Executive Chef Jeff Stark. Yummo. Wash it down with beer or wine from the cash bar.

When: May 26th, 2010 5:30-7pm
Where: The Silo 4501 W 41st Street
What: "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food"
Who: Sustainable Green Country, Buy Fresh Buy Local, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Green Country farmers, and Tulsans like you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A common misconception of living more sustainably is that it requires sacrifice, or a lessening in our quality of life. However, it can be quite the opposite. Many home goods and products bought off the shelf in today’s big box retail stores are made with little care or concern in regards longevity, quality, or craftsmanship. As it turns out those cheap convenient products don’t last and are themselves the real sacrifice - for your wallet and the planet! There is also the concern of how they were made. Were the workers paid a fair wage? Probably not. What about the conditions of the factory where it was made? Were children a part of the labor force? Were the raw goods sourced from sustainable resources? These are the kind of dilemmas that product designers and manufacturers must (or should) take into consideration when producing goods for the consumer. Stephanie Odegard has addressed them, head on, throughout her life long career as a luxury carpet designer.

Stephanie spent the early part of her career as a Peace Core Volunteer, working for the World Bank, and the United Nations. She was certain that the best way to improve the standard of living in many of the impoverished countries where she had lived and worked, was to produce high end crafts using highly skilled and better paid workers. In making these, the tradition, heritage, and history of those workers is preserved while improving the local economy.

Her design methods use non toxic vegetable dyes and all products are certified child labor free by RugMark (

In an article in the New York Times, it was noted that "She is the largest American financial supporter of Rugmark, an anti-child-labor organization, to which she gives 1.7 percent of the selling price of her rugs ($60,000 last year) and a third of her time. She contributes at least $100,000 more to initiatives of her own, like building a school in Katmandu." According to that article, at least 50% of the proceeds of her sales back to the factories.

She has been quite successful in using this model - of combining good deeds with good business. Her carpets can be found in the J. Paul Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles, Restaurant Daniel in New York City, and in the homes of Robert Redford & Christy Turlington. She can be found gracing the pages of Food & Wine Magazine, Interior Design,or the Miami Herald.

As we can see, in a world where the bottom line is #1, it is not only possible, but also profitable to produce high quality goods while preserving cultural traditions, raising the standard of living, and using sustainable practices.

Sustainable Green Country and Green Drinks are honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with Philbrook Museum of Art to host Ms. Odegard. The event will begin at 5:30pm. At 6 pm there will be a vegetable dye identification contest, followed by Stephanie's lecture at 6:30pm. The event is $7.50 for adults, and free to seniors and those under 18.
Green Drinks has been provided with 25 free tickets. If you would like to be a part of the giveaway trivia contest, please send your email to to be added to the Green Drinks monthly announcement list.
It was another excellent showing at the March Green Drinks, held at Lola's at the Bowery. The newly designed regional center for sustainability and conservation will be used as a national example. See below for pictures of the event and more information on the center.

History of Land Legacy:
Land Legacy is a nonprofit conservation organization founded in January 2003 to serve as Oklahoma’s first statewide land trust. As such, Land Legacy is able to create urban parks and trails that enhance the quality of life in our communities, protect natural and cultural resources such as working farms and ranches, and preserve important open spaces that may otherwise be forever lost to development. Over the last six years, Land Legacy has protected nearly 50 properties across the state totaling roughly 18,000 acres. Some of our efforts across the state have included the creation of downtown Tulsa’s first park, the protection of 300 acres along Spavinaw Creek in Delaware County helping to preserve the quality of our drinking water, creation of the Osage Trail from downtown Tulsa to Skiatook, and the preservation of nearly 1,000 acres of greenbelt in the northwest Tulsa and Sand Springs area.

The Mission of Land Legacy:
The mission of Land Legacy is to conserve and enhance urban and rural landscapes. Our strategic priorities are described below:

Green Cities – Land Legacy works in urban areas to improve the quality of life through parks and trails. By making our cities more livable, we can help to reduce urban sprawl and the unnecessary loss of open space and natural resources. Our Green Cities work includes inner city parks and greenbelts along the urban perimeter.

Farm and Ranch Preservation – Each year, Oklahoma loses over 35,000 acres of farm and ranch lands to new development. Land Legacy works with farmers and ranchers to acquire conservation easements that preserve open space but allow continued private
ownership and agricultural production. Our goal is to reduce the loss of prime farmland soils near our communities, preserve unique landscapes in rural areas, and encourage the production of locally grown foods

Watershed Protection – Watersheds across the nation are at risk due to contaminants from intensive land use. Land Legacy helps to preserve water quality by preserving open space that comprises important runoff or aquifer recharge lands. Our first project was the donation of a conservation easement protecting 300 acres of open space along Spavinaw Creek as it enters Lake Eucha in Delaware County. Additional projects bring our total to nearly 1,000 acres protected in the Spavinaw watershed.

The Vision of Land Legacy:
Land Legacy envisions creating the first regional center for sustainable education and conservation. Land Legacy is working with the owner of the original Tulsa synagogue to restore the site as a community asset. The building is the first synagogue ever constructed in Oklahoma. Kevin Stephens of Kevin Stephens Design Group purchased the property in 2008 and has collaborated with Land Legacy to develop it into a regional center for sustainable education and outreach. Specific plans for the site are currently underway. We envision a combination of offices for organizations focused on conservation and sustainability and that teach sustainable and organic farming practices. Additionally, the building’s auditorium will be used for presentations, seminars and workshops.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

During our February event at McNellie's Architect Kirk Gastinger shared with us a multitude of ideas for improving our home environments, working with architecture clients to build greener structures, as well as little history on some of Tulsa's historic buildings. For instance, did you know that the Sophian Plaza was built to maximize the wind's cross flow in the days before air conditioning? According to Kirk, air conditioning was a big factor in what changed the way we work with the environment. One of the easiest ways that we can determine if our homes are energy efficient is to total our utilities (gas and electric) for the previous year and divide that number by the square footage of your home. If you are close to $1 per square foot, your home is doing well. If that number is higher than $1 you may want to consider a few improvements; adding insulation, installing energy efficient windows, and using a programmable thermostat

In March Green Drinks will be held at Lola's at the Bowery. Kevin Stephens, of Kevin Stephens Design, a landscape, interior and urban design firm based in San Francisco, CA, has designed a number of homes and buildings in Tulsa. He is also the owner of the former Temple Israel at 14th and Cheyenne which he plans to donate to a new organization that is a collaborative effort between himself, Land Legacy, and Sustainable Tulsa. The organization will serve as center for regional conservation and sustainability.

Land Legacy is Oklahoma's first statewide land trust. Land Legacy "is able to create urban parks and trails that enhance the quality of life in our communities, protect natural resources such as working farms and ranches...inner cities parks, and greenbelts along the urban perimeter...Over the last six years, Land Legacy has protected nearly 50 properties across the state totaling roughly 18,000 acres."

Sustainable Tulsa's mission is to promote responsible economic growth, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for all. One of the most significant project completed was the Tulsa Area Green Directory which is a listing of over 700 businesses, nonprofits, and agencies that promote living green in Tulsa. ST has also held a number of interactive seminars through the Greening the (918)Series.

The vision is to "create the first regional center for sustainable education and conservation. Specific plans for the site are currently underway, but the idea is to develop a combination of offices for organizations focused on conservation and sustainability and that will teach sustainable and organic farming practices. Additionally, the building's auditorium will be used for presentations, seminars, and workshops. The land adjacent to the building will be used for a community garden, outdoor seminars and concerts. A community kitchen is envisioned to allow local residents opportunities to experience meals made with local organic foods. Currently, no such centers exist, and organizations focused on conservation and sustainability have few opportunities to interact and collaborate. With new attention on these matters, along with increasing interest by the public, then center will fill an important need that is currently unmet.

We will meet on MArch 10th, from 5:30-7pm at Lola's at the Bowery in 5 E Brady St.

In April, for our Earth Day Green Drinks, we have collaborated with Philbrook who is bringing to Tulsa luxury sustainable carpet designer Stephanie Odegard. She will demonstrate her process and visitors will have a chance to enter a vegetable dye identification contest. The lecture, "Sustainable Design and Social Responsibility" will begin at 6:30pm. Green Drinks has 25 tickets to be given away for this event. After that, it is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors (age 62+), and free to anyone under the age of 18. To be a part of contest, be sure to get on the email list by sending your contact information to me at

There are so many exciting events planned for the 2010 Green Drinks series. Be sure to stay tuned and be part of this growing momentum in Tulsa County.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Green Drinks was featured in the Tulsa World again! Visit the link below to read the full article.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

February Green Drinks at McNellie's - "Enjoy Your Environment"

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Phillbrook last week. We had an excellent turn out, door prizes courtesy of Phillbrook, and were able to learn about the connection between consumer and coffee farmer through Double Shot. Big thanks to Brian Franklin for speaking and providing the delicious coffee! Check out the event photos below.

On February 16th we will be partnering with AIA Committee On The Environment (COTE) to bring Kirk Gastinger, FAIA, LEED AP; principal with Gastinger, Harden, Walker, Harden Architects of Kansas City, MO at McNellie’s from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Guests will meet in McNellie’s Gold Room, 2nd Floor located at 409 East 1st Street in downtown Tulsa.

Mr. Gastinger’s passion is architecture, but it is people that inspire him. With over 20 years experience as an architect and an advocate for sustainability, Mr. Gastinger will be speaking about how the public and professionals can truly “Enjoy Your Environment” whether in their own home or in a client project. Measuring one’s carbon footprint is not limited to client projects as one’s footprint can easily be reduced in your own home by unplugging instant-on appliances to save money and energy.

AIA Eastern Oklahoma’s COTE was established in 2005 as an inclusive committee comprised not only of AIA EOC members, but of individuals representing various sustainability organizations and/or initiatives and in recognition of the expertise that non-architects bring to the table.

This event will feature an excellent discussion, held in a relaxed, informal setting at McNellie’s on Tuesday evening, February 16. Admission is FREE and the public is invited to attend. Cash bar.