This Sunday (May 2), spend your day strolling up and down Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Why? The streets will be packed with representatives from area businesses, food vendors from local restaurants, live bands, fun activities for kids and a whole lot more, all for the Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival!

If you're late starting seeds for your summer vegetable garden, you'll be able to choose from a wide assortment of local, sustainably grown and organic starter plants from area farms and nurseries. You can also bring a little spring cheer to your yard or home with hanging baskets and other beautiful, flowering plants.

New this year is Eco Alley, a section of the festival with 20 vendors offering lots of great, sustainable products and services. What better way to get all the information you need to live a more locally, sustainable lifestyle?!

Also very exciting for the community is the approaching opening of the Chestnut Hill location of Weavers Way Co-op. While the store will not yet be open by the date of the festival, curious visitors are invited to take a sneak-peek at the inside of the store. For those who have hesitated becoming a member due to the crowded Mt. Airy location, be sure to get your membership information when visiting the new store. Co-op memberships are another great way to incorporate more sustainability into your current lifestyle.

The Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival is sponsored by Subaru and B101.
For the average citizen to get more in-depth information on environmental issues, reading books and watching documentaries is a great starting point. Below you will find a list of some great examples of both. I have read and watched much of what's on this list, and highly recommend them. If I had to pick a favorite of each, Go Further is my top documentary and In Defense of Food is my number one reading choice. If you have read any of these novels, watched any of these documentaries or have further recommendations, please leave a comment to share your thoughts with others!

Movies/TV Series

  • No Impact Man: The Documentary (2009)
  • Go Further (2004)
  • Food, Inc. (2008)
  • King Corn (2007)
  • The Beautiful Truth (2008)
  • Eco Trip Series – Sundance Channel (2009)
  • The Garden (2008)
  • The Lazy Environmentalist Series – Sundance Channel (2009)
  • The Future of Food (2004)
  • Fast Food Nation (2006)
  • Super Size Me (2004)
  • An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  • When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
Non-Fiction Books

  • Cradle to Cradle – William McDonough and Michael Braungart
  • Earth Odyssey: Around the World in Search of our Environmental Future – Mark Hertsgaard
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamond
  • Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment – James Gustav Speth
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals – Michael Pollan
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Michael Pollan
  • Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser
  • Food PoliticsMarion Nestle
  • Poisons on our Plates: The Real Food Safety Problem in the United States – Michele Morrone
  • Troubled Waters: Religion, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis – Dr. Gary L. Chamberlain
  • Boiling Point: How How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have Fueled a Climate Crisis--And What We Can Do to Avert Disaster – Ross Gelbspan
  • Diet for a New America – John Robbins
  • Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating – Jane Goodall
  • The Ten Trusts: What we must do to Care for the Animals we Love – Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff
  • The Environmental Predicament: Four Issues for Critical Analysis – Carol F. Verburg
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver
Classic Non-Fiction Books

  • Sand County Almanac – Aldo Leopold
  • Silent Spring – Rachel Carson

Tuesday, April 20th @ 7 p.m.

Greener U Presents: Home Energy Efficiency Workshop. During the FREE workshop, Greener U Consulting ( will show you how to rate your home's energy usage, and they will reveal the building structure issues that cause loss of heat and energy. The whole house strategy of a BPI home performance audit to address health, safety, durability and energy efficiency will then be explained. Finally, Greener U will explain the status of the "Cash for Caulkers" program and educate you on the existing rebate and financing options available through the utility companies, state and federal. Please bring your gas, electric and oil bills to the event! RSVP at 215-844-1870; space is limited to 20 people.

Big Blue Marble Bookstore is located at 551 Carpenter Lane in the Mt. Airy community of Philadelphia.