“Mr. Lincoln,” starring John O’Connor, takes the audience from Lincoln’s earliest days to his election to the tragic events of April 15, 1865. It reverberates with the power of Lincoln’s words but also sparkles with his wit and humor.
The performance takes place at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 15. Tickets are $8 for the general public or $5 for members of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. For tickets, click here.
“The play is filled with Lincoln’s humor and also quite moving. John O’Connor as Lincoln is one of those performances that will stay in your mind for a long time to come,” said Phil Funkenbusch, theater director at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
“It’s exciting, challenging, and humbling to portray this man for all the obvious reasons,” O’Connor said. “But most fascinating to me is the paradox that is Lincoln: He saved the Union, took vital steps toward ending slavery and explained himself with some of the more transcendent and enduring language ever spoken, and at the same time was just a regular man. He could be the neighbor down the street who happens to practice law downtown.”
Ice caps are melting, our population is growing, and our winters are getting longer. So, what does that mean for our farm-dependent state? In Illinois, our farmers depend on the land and climate to work together so that they, as growers, can yield bountiful crops.
Often, we are left overwhelmed as to what we can do to help the earth. From recycling, eating and shopping local, to turning the lights off when you leave a room, sustainability starts small and at the heart. Downtown Springfield, Inc. interviewed three of our business owners regarding their efforts to make Springfield sustainable, delving deep to showcase what makes them unique.
Michael Higgins, owner and chef of Maldaner’s Restaurant, says that buying from small farmers and eating organic is the way to go. Coming from California, one thing Higgins wanted to do when he arrived in Central Illinois was to bring more variety to Springfield. He noticed that the Midwest grew really great tomatoes, but unfortunately only one species seemed to exist. By working with local farmers and by providing them with seed, Higgins was able to add to the Midwest variety. Then in the late ’80’s, Higgins began offering organic chicken to his customers by working with farmers he met at the Illinois Product Show. One can see the pride in Higgins’ eyes as he speaks of the bond between the consumer and farmer. “It’s 100% trust,” he states. Small Farmers, away from agri-business, “ARE small businesses and we need to remember that,” Higgins says.
We are trusting these farmers to feed us with incredible food that provide us with the nutrients we need and at the same time, they are trusting us to understand that where we buy from is important. Buying from farmers markets and your local or small farm not only helps them but helps our community, and helps our planet. We asked Higgins what he thought was the best solution to feeding our growing population while sustaining our planet and he had the best answer: “Do the best you can.”
How does buying organic help the planet?
Organic farming is less intensive on our landscapes causing less erosion to our soil compositions. While it does often require more land in general, the amount of pesticides and herbicides are far less than conventional commodity farming — meaning less chemical run-off to our water systems and airways. While too much demand on small farms can do harm by exploiting them, the good news it that more and more “big business” farmers are transitioning to organic due to the consumer demand!
Like Chef Higgins says, all we can do is try our best. Try our best to educate ourselves as to what is harmful to ourselves, others, and the planet. While remembering that even the smallest act is helping and that if we all did one small act, like buying local, those many small acts add up to a pretty big one!
Stay tuned for next weeks’ sustainable highlight when we meet with new Director Leah Wilson and founding Board President Rachael Thomson of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.
*This sustainability blog post is the first of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*
Join Mayor Jim Langfelder and downtown Alderman Andrew Proctor at the upcoming 2017 Strategic Ward Planning meetings. These ward meetings will be facilitated by Benedictine University and serve as open forums where individuals and businesses can share their thoughts and views about the priorities for their specific wards while learning about city projects and initiatives. Residents who have questions about the forums may contact the Mayor’s Office at 217.789.2200.
September is one of the most abundant months of the year for Illinois farmers, featuring warm season crops like tomatoes and melons alongside cool weather crops like lettuce, apples, and winter squash.
However, the return of school session, cooling temperatures, and an increasing disconnect between shoppers and seasonality have all led to a drop off in farmers market attendance during this month. The resulting decline in sales increases food waste and weakens the economic viability of small farms before entering their slower winter months.
“There is such a wide variety of products this time of year,” says Molly Gleason of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA has managed the Market on behalf of DSI for the past two years), “and because the harvest is so plentiful in September, it’s also one of the most affordable times to shop locally. Plus there’s all kinds of varieties and flavors that you won’t find in the grocery store, like baby fairytale eggplants and green striped zebra tomatoes. It’s really one of the best months to shop at your farmers market.”
The Eat Local Challenge, organized by ISA in partnership with farmers markets across central Illinois, aims to combat the annual slump in sales that farmers experience during the month of September by encouraging shoppers to pledge to buy locally.
All you have to do to participate in the Eat Local Challenge campaign is to pledge to spend $20 each week on locally grown food. Last year, the first year of the campaign, over 250 people took the Challenge across Central Illinois. This year ISA hopes to have 500 participants, which would mean at least $40,000 in sales of locally-grown food for the Central Illinois region.
Did you realize: if even half of the shoppers just at our Market participated, we would have over 2000 participants this year??
Registration for the Eat Local Challenge will open THIS SATURDAY during National Farmers Market Week. You can register in person by visiting the Market Booth at 4th and Adams or any Central Illinois residents can sign up online at www.buyfreshbuylocalcentralillinois.org.
The first 250 participants will receive a free, USA made, farmers market tote bag filled with more information on shopping locally—available at the Market in September. Additionally, all Challenge participants will be subscribed to a weekly e-newsletter featuring seasonal recipes, farmers market meal plans, storage and food preservation tips, and updates on local food events going on throughout the region.
“September isn’t the winding down of the farm, it’s the full throttle peak season for us. We have tended our land and crops for six months getting to our grand finale and it’s disappointing when we have no one show up for our end of the year extravaganza,” says Jacque Suttill-Simpson of Suttill’s Gardens, a long-time Market vendor. “We farmers experience the ‘slump’ right when our best is yet to come.”
In addition to our Old Capitol Farmers Market, other participating markets include ones in Downtown Bloomington, Downs Village, Urbana, Champaign, the Peoria Riverfront, and Streator.
In addition to taking the Eat Local Challenge, how else can you support the Old Capitol Farmers Market and the farmers who sell their goods every week?
It’s back! The Top Reason to Go Downtown (as voted by Illinois Times readers) kicks off another summer season of locally produced, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, flowers & more PLUS local artisans, musicians, and community groups. All of the fun and food is made possible by premier sponsor HSHS St. John’s Hospital. Follow the Market on Facebook for all of the glorious details.
Downtown Springfield, Inc.
3 W Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 15
Springfield, IL 62701
P: (217) 544-1723