Bluestem Recognizes ShareFest Founder

Gary Cheney and Sr. Dolores Zemont

Gary Cheney and Sr. Dolores Zemont, President of the Joliet Franciscan Sisters

The 2nd Annual Bluestem Earth Festival Award Dinner took place Saturday, April 13th at the University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL. The Bluestem Earth Festival and Joliet Franciscan Sisters presented this year’s award recipient, Gary Cheney, of ShareFest Will County, with an award for his community service and outreach.

Cheney is the founder and coordinator of what began as ShareFest New Lenox in 2007. Seeing a need for assistance throughout Will County, Cheney changed the name to ShareFest Will County, an organization through which volunteers do service projects; collect food, books, and clothing; recycle electronics and much more. His mobile food pantries have provided more than ½ million meals for the hungry.

Gary and Sharon Cheney chat with guests

A room filled with Cheney’s family, friends, coworkers and volunteers celebrated a hard-working, dedicated man driven by the Word of God. Upon introducing Cheney, Kathy Pecora of Will County Land Use Department stated, “I respect him, his mission, his mottos, his faith and I am honored to call him my friend. Gary is truly a leader driven by the Lord. He makes you feel the Lord and makes you feel the work of the Holy Spirit in action as you volunteer.” Continue reading

The Local Food Movement in the Land of Lincoln

Abe lincoln-hay.jpg-and conversationMy theory on the strength of the local food movement in the Land of Lincoln goes back to a proud event for all Illinoisans, which happened on May 15, 1862, when Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing “at the seat of Government of the United States Department of Agriculture.”

A couple of years later at what would be his last speech to congress (due to his unexpected assassination); President Lincoln proudly stated “The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of its present energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commending itself to the great and vital interest it was created to advance. It is precisely the people’s department, in which they feel more directly concerned that in any other. I commend it to the continued attention and fostering care of Congress.” Continue reading

Scary vs. Ethical: Halloween Candy Alternatives

pexels-photo-220426It’s October, the month of pumpkins, costumes, and candy. Lots of candy. Last year Americans spent $2.9 billion on Halloween candy, an amount which translates to hundreds of millions of pounds of the sweet stuff. Many of us don’t give a second thought as to where it all comes from, nor does the mainstream confectionery industry readily offer us consumers the sour details of its dealings.

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