My 5: Carlyn Blake, Sustainable Futures, Executive Director

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Carlyn Blake, Executive Director of Sustainable Futures, to respond to the two questions we ask everyone we interview. Sustainable Futures, based in Boise, Idaho, repurposes used wine and soda bottles to create beautiful and useful glasses, bowls, candle holders, and vases. The company also provides jobs for hard-to-place workers. Following are Blake’s responses….

1. Recycle everything you can. Take advantage of city, county, and state recycling programs, and do your part to recycle paper, plastic, and glass….

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Sustainable Futures Repurposes Glass Bottles – and Human Lives

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“I was like one of those used wine bottles. I was used and discarded. I laid on the ground, my label faded and my contents dried. I forgot the good that was once inside, the joy and happiness I once knew. I hated what I was and what I had become. Life was dark, bad and not worth living. The prison took what little hope I had reinforcing what people and drugs had told me about myself my whole life. I came to the work center looking for work. I was told I had to have a job or I’d be sent back to the prison and someone else who was employable would take my place. Once again I was not worth keeping, I found a job here at Sustainable Futures and I was recycled. I was picked up, washed off a little and was cut off at the top, sanded down and polished. I’ve been given hope, worthiness and self love. Now I shine, not just on the outside but on the inside. I’m like the glasses we make. I have a new use.” — Lisa Childers, IDOC inmate

Sustainable Futures is a brand-new nonprofit that repurposes glass bottles — and gives new purpose to human lives. It’s a simple idea: Businesses donate used glass bottles to their Boise, Idaho-based center, and hard-to-place workers process the glass to produce new and improved glassware. The company then sells the repurposed glassware back to the businesses. “It’s a great product, and it’s the right thing to do,” says Carlyn Blake, executive director of Sustainable Futures….

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Chowpatti Serves Up Tasty Vegetarian Fare in Chicagoland

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For almost 30 years, one of the best completely vegetarian restaurants in the Greater Chicagoland area has been hiding in a suburban strip mall. Chowpatti, 1035 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois, is named after a beach filled with food vendors in Bombay, India, where founder Anil Kapadia, now deceased, and his wife, Niru, spent a lot of time while dating.

According to Niyanta Kapadia, Anil and Niru’s daughter, who is co-owner along with her sister, Sneha, the restaurant is known for its Indian food. However, Chowpatti boasts a 26-page menu that also features American, Mexican, and Italian food. …

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Good Beer at BAM Fundraiser Is Something to Savor

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The Good Beer at BAM fundraiser presented by Edible Brooklyn magazine on July 29 combined a great crowd, amazing beer, and exciting food. Over the course of the evening, I sampled more than 20 varieties of artisan ale by brewers from all over Brooklyn and New York State. Brewmasters presented everything from clean, crisp, and simple pale ales to richly complex varieties. And, of course, the chefs on hand pushed the envelope of American culinary creativity with pairings that defied convention and expectation…

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The New Deal – A Progressive Supper Club

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Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the only thing complex about this supper club are the flavors of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato’s dishes.

The New Deal Supper Club, hosted by Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia, featured features meals by the talented Suzanne Barr, chef and creator of Sweet Potato Bakery. The chefs have teamed up with marketer Kizzy Kae to provide the New York area with an exquisite dining experience that moves from one exciting venue to another…

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Green Cuisine: Understanding Organic and Natural Cooking

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When Chef Matthew J. Goudge says that a green cuisine is as delicious as it is good for you, you’ll be wise to listen. Chef Matthew is widely known and respected as a talented organic chef and an industry leader. Having cooked professionally in St. Lucia, Malaysia, China, Australia, and England, Chef Matthew’s view is that the world is an interconnected place where all should benefit from each other’s knowledge. In his blog, ProChef360, he invites professional chefs from around the world to join in an open forum, sharing their ideas, their tips, their wisdom, their food photos, and their frustrations. We’re pleased to carry on that tradition by sharing Chef Matthew’s thoughts on organic foods and natural cooking.

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