It's Easy Being Green: A Sustainable Living Expo / Sunday, September 27, 12:30-5:30 PM

It's Easy Being Green is a day-long learning, local buying, and eating exposition celebrating living a life that’s better for the planet and not so hard on the wallet. From supporting efforts to reduce your carbon footprint to learning homesteading skills for living a more hands-on, DIY life, It's Easy Being Green has you covered!

Join us on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, from 12:30-5:30 PM. The library is open from 12:00-6:00PM. FREE Parking on Sundays too!

The Expo features:

A Keynote presentation, "Plants, Pollinators, and Why They Matter," plus 11 learning sessions on a variety of topics including bike commuting, rain & container gardening, permaculture, fermentation, and more.

Over 20 vendors selling upcycled, recycled, handmade wares including jewelry, clothes, bath products, artwork, wool and other fibers. Plus vendors selling mushroom growing kits, outdoor animal keeping supplies, fermented products, and shrubs (drinking vinegars). Vendors include The Brinery, McClary Brothers Drinking Vinegars, Ann Arbor Seed Company, Happy Fuzzy Yarn, Divine Iguana, Lead Head Glass, among others.

Opportunities to chat with representatives from area organizations such as Recycle Ann Arbor, Project Grow, Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers, Sic Transit, Natural Area Preservation, Slow Food Huron Valley, Agrarian Adventure, Leslie Science & Nature Center, Ecology Center, and other green neighbors.

There will be three outdoor food vendors: The Shimmy Shack (vegetarian/vegan), and Mani Strada (the new venture from the Mani Osteria & Isalita purveyors) and Hello Ice Cream..

Learning Sessions Schedule:


Keynote: Plants, Pollinators, and Why They Matter with Joseph Tychonievich, Greensparrow Gardens


Family Bike Commuting with Michael Firn of Sic Transit Cycles
Container Gardening with Growing Hope


Rain Gardens with Jesse Tack of Abundant MI Permaculture and Whole Culture Repair
Mending Workshop with Karen LePage of Gentle Clothing
Bee Keeping with Jamie Berlin of Ypsi Melissa


Permaculture with the People’s Food Co-Op
Keeping Animals with Harnois Farms


Intro to Canning with Cynthia Hodges
Vermiculture with Starr Valley Farms
Fermentation 101 with The Brinery

Which Goat Is Right for You? Find out in our new magazine: Modern Farmer

AADL can boast one of the largest and most interesting collections of magazines I have seen in any library. We are constantly adding new magazines into the line-up. Every time I am in the Periodicals department, I try to find a magazine I have never seen before and I always find at least one.

This month I found a brand new, wonderful issue of Modern Farmer. The debut issue was published this spring. It contains full-length articles and shorter pieces, pictures, interviews, advertisements and a shop which cater to interest in the new face of farming around the world. Read what the New York Times has to say about it here.

For newer books which feature the new trend in urban farming try these: Urban Farms and Urban Farming: Sustainable City Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community and in the World and Food & the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution.

Modern Farmer is another in a growing collection of magazines which appeal to the organic food, slow food, local food and backyard food movements. Others in our collection to look for include: Acres USA, Backyard Poultry, Bee Culture, Edible WOW and Hobby Farms.

Poultry Expert Darrin Karcher, Ph.D. Discusses The Chickens: How To Keep Them Happy

Sunday, October 21 | 3:00 - 5:00 PM | Pittsfield Branch

Join Dr. Darrin Karcher, of Michigan State University's Department of Animal Science, and learn about basic management and care of chickens such as brooding, nutrition, lighting, disease management and ventilation. He will also discuss the evolution of the chicken from Red Jungle Fowl (which is thought to be the ancestor of the domestic chicken) to today. This event is cosponsored by The Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor.

Dr. Karcher will return to Pittsfield Branch on Sunday, November 18 for a related discussion entitled The Eggs: What You Don't Know.

Look here for resources on chickens and chicken keeping at AADL.

Grown in Detroit

Detroit is a city that has been reviving itself for decades, as new generations bring new life to the city. With the city’s growth has also come growth in urban agriculture, as people are turning vacant lots into fertile land. Some call it the greening of a gray city.

The documentary film Grown in Detroit focuses on a group of students at Detroit’s Ferguson Academy for Young Women, a high school for pregnant teens, as they work in the school's urban garden and learn how to grow nutritious food for their children. One of only three schools in the country for this population, the curriculum focuses on helping these teens care for themselves and their children, and uses urban farming as a means to teach them.

The students featured in Grown in Detroit are at first underwhelmed by the amount of physical labor required for farming. The teen moms eventually realize that they can profit from the food they are growing, as well as provide nutritious food for their children and themselves, all stemming from the fruits of their labor. It’s a beautiful film that places an eye on this unique opportunity happening for these girls -- right here in Detroit.

In addition to being available on DVD at AADL, the film is also available for instant online streaming to logged-in AADL cardholders here! You can also watch it on the Grown in Detroit website, where you pay whatever denomination you want in order to view it.

SUNDAY EVENT CANCELLED - The Future Of Urban Agriculture In Detroit With City Planner Kathryn Lynch Underwood

Due to family illness, the Sunday April 15, 2012: 3:00 pm event at Malletts Creek Branch with Kathryn Lynch Underwood has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Devil in the White City

Do you enjoy a good suspense story? How about a suspense story in a one-of-a-kind historical setting? What about a good suspense story with amazingly well-researched historical facts about Chicago hosting the 1893 World's Fair with a serial killer preying on tourists, a delusional political hopeful stalking the city's officials, and a team of architectural geniuses thrown into the mix?

If you missed Erik Larson's 2004 bestseller The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, here’s your chance to get all of the above, plus more. Erik Larson meticulously researched the ambitious Daniel H. Burnham, Patrick Prendergast, and Henry H. Holmes and cast the three into this single volume.

Prepare yourself to learn about the first sparks of industrial unionization, the development of America's urban landscapes, artistic feats in action, and the shocking brutality humans can inflict upon each other. A must read.

Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director Of The Clements Library, Discusses Urban Agriculture in Detroit, Part I: The History Of Agricultural Land Use

Sunday March 18, 2012: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Join us for a fascinating look at early Detroit history when AADL and the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor welcome Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps at the William L. Clements Library.

Brian will discuss Detroit as an agricultural settlement from its founding in 1701 into the 19th century, when the growing city largely consumed the original French-pattern farms along the Michigan side of the Detroit River.

Brian has written numerous books and articles on the history of the Straits of Mackinac, the Niagara River region, and the early Great Lakes.

No Impact Man

No Impact Movie

Can individual action and sacrifice make any difference to the immense environmental stresses we find in the world today? This is the very question No Impact Man - environmental super-hero Colin Beavan – along with his wife, baby daughter and dog, in their ninth-floor flat in Manhattan, proposed to explore for one long year of the No Impact Project.

During that year, while still going about their daily obligations, they committed to make no net impact on the environment – no garbage, no fossil fuel use, only local foods from within 100 miles and with zero packaging, no electricity, no new purchases and, the ultimate sacrifice, no elevator to the ninth-floor. What difference could any of that make? Quite a bit as it turns out. Read this hilarious book to discover how and why they did it and to get inspired how to reduce your own impact.

Word of the project got out, through Colin's blog and through word of mouth, and, before they knew it, a documentary film team was following them through the year recording the high and low moments of their adventure (and, believe me, there were lows). Find the No Impact Man movie here. The result is humorous and agonizing and entertaining and challenging and surprising.

Keeping Bees in Your Own Backyard


Did you know that the Ann Arbor city code (search for apiary) allows for two hives of bees on every city lot? Keeping bees is not everyone’s idea of fun, but it is remarkably easy and, if you are inclined, there is abundant support for learning how to enhance the diversity of your backyard habitat. Now is the perfect time to get started.

The best book I know for learning the craft of beekeeping is Ross Conrad’s Natural Beekeeping. We own other books and dvds on the subject too, but Conrad keeps to a plan of organic care for his bee colonies, which keeps stress on the hive to a minumum.

SEMBA is the resource you need if you are actually trying to start hives. Lots of educational opportunites and comaradarie with fellow beekeepers. For supplies and lots of other information there are, of course, excellent sites online, here and here and here.

The documentary film Queen of the Sun is an amazing tour de force about our relationship to bees and explores the question, “What are bees trying to tell us when colonies collapse and bees disappear?” It is still touring select theaters and I am hoping it makes its way to Ann Arbor soon! Watch for it.

Finally, the wisest beekeeper around, Gunther Hauk, has a very special and inspiring message for working with bees and has started a “honeybee sanctuary” in southeastern Virginia called Spikenard Farm. Even if you don’t plan to keep your own hives, there is much to learn here.

'The Urban Homestead'

Husband and wife authors Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen published their book, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, in 2007. They recently expanded and revised their book with all the DIY enthusiasm mustered in the first edition. "The New York Times" lauded it as the “…contemporary bible on the subject.” (NYT, April 23, 2010).

Projects for the novice to the expert urban homesteader are easy to follow, including ways to can, preserve, and pickle food; make potting soil; start a compost pile (with or without worms); make household cleaners; and harvest rainwater. Depending upon how self-sufficient you wish to be, the authors have included ideas on various subjects, such as collecting greywater (water that goes down the drain after its use), with varying levels of complexity. For example, you can cut into drain pipes, as Coyne and Knutzen describe, or you can do the simpler method of keeping a bucket next to the shower to collect the running water before the shower gets hot. This is one of the many ideas for reusing resources that this excellent book offers. My favorite project: the luggable loo composting toilet and the humanure revolution! The authors own a farm in Los Angeles and run the urban homestead blog

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