Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo:
Farm to Fork

April 2, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The third annual Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo (ISLWE), will be held on Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, at the Illinois Wesleyan University Shirk Center (302 E. Emerson St., Bloomington). The two-day event, with the theme “Farm to Fork, How Well Do you Live?”, is a collaboration between the Illinois Wesleyan Wellness Program and the Ecology Action Center of Bloomington/Normal.

The Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. It is free and open to the public and will include main stage performances, an exhibitors’ fair, kid’s carnival, an Affordable Fashion Challenge and workshops on topics related to green and healthy living.

The Expo aims to promote the values of a healthy, green lifestyle for both the individual as well as the entire community. “Our goal is to educate people about health, healing and the environment,” said Missy Smock, Illinois Wesleyan Director of Wellness. “We want to help people make connections between the environment and its impact on our health.”

This year’s theme, “Farm to Fork,” focuses on every aspect of healthy living and environmental awareness including local farming, environmental issues, the Illinois economy and the effects of food production on the body. The Expo’s approximately 100 exhibitors and 10 workshops will highlight current issues including the structure of the Illinois food system, effective use of local resources and green living practices. The workshops will be conducted on Saturday only from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Shirk Center classrooms.

As in previous years, the Expo will host an Affordable Fashion Challenge Fashion Show for all members of the community on Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. The fashion show challenges participants to look at fashion from an economic standpoint, creating trends that are environmentally friendly. This includes recycling clothing and choosing alternative fabric materials while spending the least amount of money. Prizes will be given to three “best of show” participants.

Members of the community are also welcome to participate in various massage and health screenings during the exhibitors fair. Students from Healthy Connections School of Massage Therapy will offer free 10-minute massages, while the IWU Student Nurses’ Association will provide free blood pressure screenings at their booth as well as host a Teddy Bear Clinic to educate children about their health.

Children can enjoy the Enviro Kid’s Carnival on Saturday, April 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which includes face painting, mazes and environmentally themed carnival games with prizes. There is no entry fee for the carnival; however, there is a charge for face painting and participation in some games. Winners of the spring “My Perfect Park” contest will also be announced at 1 p.m. during the carnival.

To promote the local food industry and healthy cooking, Kelly’s Bakery & Café will have local and organic foods for sale from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Chef Narss of the Farmer’s Market will be conducting cooking demonstration throughout the day Saturday. Recognizing that 90 percent of Illinois food is being imported from outside the state, Ann Dougherty of Learn Great Foods, a national touring company that promotes sustainable farming, cooking and the environment, will present ideas about making meals from locally grown produce in the Bloomington/Normal area on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Based on the “100 Mile Diet” Dougherty aims to promote a local green economy through farmers’ own pictures and words.

Cecily Smith of the Prairie Rivers Network, a group dedicated to protecting Illinois rivers and streams, will host a workshop on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., about the impact of pharmaceutical contaminants entering waterways around the country. According to recent studies by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, traces of drugs such as painkillers, antidepressants and estrogen have been detected in water samples from 30 states. Smith will discuss the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment and how citizens can prevent future water contamination.

Also, members of the Governors’ Local Foods Task Force including Debbie Hillman and Jim Braun will hold a listening session at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11. The listening session is a chance for anyone to offer opinions about necessary improvements, strengths and obstacles concerning the local food system.

The Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo is sponsored by State Farm Insurance Companies, the Downtown Bloomington Association, the Downtown Bloomington Farmer’s Market, The Healing Arts Network Association, Ameren and Prairie Signs. The event schedule and list of exhibitors and presenters can be found at

For more information on the Illinois Sustainable Living & Wellness Expo, contactMissy Smock, Illinois Wesleyan University Wellness, (309) 556-3334   orMichael Brown, Ecology Action Center, (309) 454-3169.

 Lauren Pietruszka, ’09 (309) 556-3181