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Jana Wilson
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011

IU Earth Week activities to focus on urban sustainability

April 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Chickens do much more than lay eggs, Patricia Foreman says. They contribute to backyard agriculture, divert food and yard waste from landfills, lower carbon footprints -- and even contribute to national defense through better food security.

Foreman, an Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs alumna and the author of City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Supplies, will be a featured speaker for IU Earth Week activities.

Patricia Foreman

Patricia Foreman

She will speak Wednesday (April 20) at 6 p.m. in room 111 of the undergraduate Business Building, 1309 E. 10th St., on green city living including gardening, composting and micro-flock husbandry, highlighting a weeklong celebration of sustainability organized by the Environmental Management Association (EMA), a student group at SPEA.

"In Bloomington, Indiana, it would only make sense that we turn Earth Day into an entire week-long celebration of raising awareness and teaching methods of environmental responsibility," said EMA member Natalie Conlon. "This year we have high hopes that people will take with them what they learn and practice these methods at home.

Foreman, who has appeared on national radio programs such as "The Chicken Whisperer," is co-author of several books on chicken husbandry and backyard market gardening. A book-signing and reception will take place after her talk.

She writes that people have a right to grow their own food, and chickens have valuable skill-sets for food production: They convert waste bio-mass to eggs, food and fertilizer, reduce the use of petroleum in agriculture, and provide reliable sources of food in times of natural or economic disaster.

Also scheduled as part of Earth Week:

  • The Environmental Management Association will staff an information table from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday (April 18-22) in the SPEA Atrium. Members will provide information about apartment-scale composting, container gardening, making laundry soap, organic pesticides and vermiculture. Visitors can enter a raffle to win a mushroom log, a container garden and books on sustainable living.
  • The first SPEA Bike-in will take place on Thursday (April 21), with students encouraged to bike to campus and get help with do-it-yourself bicycle repairs. Free bike maintenance demonstrations start at 7 p.m. followed by a raffle drawing at 8 p.m. and a showing of the film No Impact Man (with popcorn and Blue Sky soda) at 8:30 p.m. The events are in the SPEA-Business outdoor commons area.

For more information on Earth Week activities planned by the Environmental Management Association and the IU Student Sustainability Council, see and