Green Youth Farm director Carson Poole.

Following the trend of staying in shape and eating healthy food here are two ways Forest Parkers can keep up with the frenzy.

Number one: drop in on one of the free dancing classes at Pineapple Dance Studio this Saturday, morning Sept. 8. Pineapple is located on the 2nd floor at 7518 Madison Street. The calorie burning, easy to follow dance fitness party will include Zumba, at 8 a.m. At 8:45 toddlers class begins, at 9:45 it’s yoga. The last session of the day begins at 5 p.m. and will be led by Idy Ciss It will feature West African dance with line drumming! You can call 299.2608 for information.

Number two: Gloria Backman has completed her Master Gardener’s Classes and is now officially a Master Gardener, with credentials to prove it. Part of her training included volunteer time with some local community gardens. Gloria chose the Green Youth Farm in Lawndale. This group is at least partially funded by the Chicago Botanic Garden up on Lake-Cook Road. Local students from Chicago Public Schools work there all summer and become absorbed in the process of gardening. They experience the satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment by working with the soil and making food grow, Gloria pointed out. The young people operate a farmers’ market every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. July until Oct. 2. This market is under the supervision of a volunteer, Sarah Pekovitch and her Manley High School senior (now a graduate) Derrick Smith. LINK, WIC/Senior Farmers’ Market Coupons, credit, debit or cash all accepted. About twenty feet from the market is the most delightful, charming café featuring the foods grown in the garden. It’s called the Green Tomato Café, located at 3750 W. Ogden Ave. The café is in the Lawndale Christian Building. A beautifully maintained structure housing a women’s health center, a lounge, a fitness center with the latest of equipment, a grocery store and a gift shop.There is a special little nook for young children with books, games, etc. Just open the door and walk in—everyone is welcome. You can reach them by phone, (872) 588-3380.

About a mile down the road is a one acre garden, also a part of this project. Students from the Lawndale area worked this garden all summer. Watermelon, cantaloupe, radishes, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, beans, peas, tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes, and so much more . The young people, probably from the Chicago Public Art Groups took some of those huge sewer pipes, decorated them with mosaic pieces and planted fruit trees in them. I am looking at a pear from one such tree, even as I type. This one acre garden is under the supervision of Carson Poole who earned a degree in agriculture from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He grew up on a sheep farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Carson recalls his family bringing in weak little lambs during the cold winters and feeding them from baby bottles. His dedication to organic, healthy farming is inspirational, evangelical. He is truly making the world a better place.

Happy anniversary to Lisa and P.J.Walsh on Sept. 9. Happy birthday wishes to Ron Apilado, Steve Knack, Steve Sedlack, Patti Mullin, John Tricoci, Jr. Sarah Goetz, Lois Bugajsky, Tim Scheiwe, Jamie Carr, Sheila O’Shea, Eric Battersby, Connor Hoehne, Dan Novak, Rico Daylo, Marc Neuman, Veronica Barajas, Jack Brennan, John Michael Deering, Aaron Bakartis Christine Carr, Joe Carr, Todd Marler, Happy anniversary to Karen and Scott Kurey, Tony and Lois Calderone, and Carol and Dave Novak.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life's other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side...