All posts by rebeccafanning2018

Restaurant Week partners with the Greater Chicago Food Depository

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

It’s Chicago Restaurant Week, the best time to find deals and the worst time to make a reservation at foodie hotspots. But this year there’s a chance to give back. As part of a partnership between Restaurant Week organizers Choose Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, diners can make donations after finishing their meals.

“It’s an amazing organization. Really the goal is raise awareness and drive donations,” said Jordan Engerman, Director of Partnerships for Choose Chicago.

And every bit counts. According to Food Depository, one dollar provides three meals for those in need, and February is one of the slowest months of the year for donations.

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Local entrepreneur expands compost pickup business to corporate clients, restaurant chains

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

The United States has a food waste problem. Americans throw more than 130 billion pounds of food into landfills each year according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And as it rots, that food releases methane — a greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change — into the atmosphere.

In Chicago, entrepreneur Jonathan Scheffel is working toward a solution. He’s encouraging individuals and businesses to throw their food in a different bin, and to let him take it away.

“I would say just to try it and see how easy it is. And try to get past thinking that it’s difficult, or its smelly or that it’s going to cause your house to collapse with rodents,” said Scheffel, whose small business, Healthy Soil Compost serves over 400 private residences, offices and restaurants in the city. Continue reading

Wisconsin lures out-of-state anglers by waiving ice-fishing fees

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

Boating, fishing, cheese and beer. Wisconsin’s identity is rooted in summer fun. But plunging temperatures mean fewer tourists in the chilly months.

In 2012 Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources launched free fishing weekends to attract more visitors to their state. For one weekend each January and June, the DNR waives the 50 dollar fishing license and offers free gear and lessons. Their goal: Get locals and visitors outside and excited to kick off the fishing season.

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Black Gold

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

Ed Hubbard has been dreaming up worm businesses since before he could drive. Now the 54-year-old has turned that passion into a business, transforming Chicago’s food waste into valuable soil one crawler at a time.

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Ice Monster Number One

By Rebecca Fanning
Medill Reports

It’s noon on a sunny Thursday in October and “Diver Dave” Oliva is sprawled on a black inner tube wearing only a speedo; his mask and snorkel leave a wet mark on the concrete beside
him. He waves to passersby, some seem to know him, others just wave back, amused. Behind him, cars speed down Lake Shore Drive, rushing north from the bustling Loop.

“You’re late,” he says to me when I arrive. “And where’s your swimsuit? Water’s never been this warm in October before.”

Mike Tschantz-Hahn slides over a partially frozen Lake Michigan. (Steve Hernan)

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