Sat., Jan. 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., $48, registration required, White Dog Café, 3420 Sansom St., 215-386-9224, whitedog.com
When Grace Wicks, director of community programs at White Dog Café, talks about her latest environmental initiative, her voice carries all the enthusiasm of a budding entrepreneur. The daughter of Judy Wicks talks about meeting customer needs, contributing to Philadelphia's revitalization and a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit.
She sounds more like a businesswoman than an eco-activist, and that's just the point. Learning how to utilize green resources, Wicks claims, has many benefits — including saving money. Sustainability Salons, an upcoming addition to White Dog's socially conscious roster of lectures and discussions, will focus on teaching the practical tools of enviro-friendly living. Wicks has developed the workshop-based series to meet the growing demands of concerned Philadelphians who have been calling the restaurant, looking for ways to act on their green principles. Rather than continue to play middlewoman, Wicks decided to bring in sustainable-living experts. "It's about solutions," she says. "It's about supporting people in making lifestyle changes for the well-being of the individual, the community and the environment."
Wicks will hold the salons above the restaurant in the intimacy of her mother's home. Seating is limited to 20, and topics will cover everything from green cleaning products to local food and nutrition. The first salon will provide a framework for sustainable living based on permaculture, a design system that reconciles human behavior and natural systems. Led by certified permaculture instructor Andrew Faust, the day will focus on urban applications and how local actions can influence global conditions.
Although sustainable living is not a new idea, the increasingly urgent nature of the movement has inspired the salons. "These issues have been fringe for a long time, but I think it's finally breaking through," says Wicks. "We can't afford to waste anymore. We have to think creatively about how to close the resource gap."