Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

LogoThe Green Mama
Chicago, IL & Vancouver, BC

Homes aren't just buildings, they are spaces that hold people. After a million years in the green movement, Manda Aufochs Gillespie (aka The Green Mama), learned a secret. People, especially new parents, don’t need to be convinced: they naturally WANT the best for their children and for the future. They just need specific guidance. The Green Mama is that guide. New parents are so eager that despite often not starting out as an “environmentalist,” after working with Manda they say things like: "She changed my life,” “She’s the best green business decision we made,” and “I came to learn to be a better mom; I left a better person.”  The Green Mama believes that the best green investment in any home, or any business, is to create people that are passionately eco-curious. 

Manda does this by writing, consulting, and giving advice (mostly solicited). Before handing out that (mostly solicited) advice she does a lot of research and then tries things out on her own children and her husband. (They are all still living and they all still have their limbs.) Sometimes her husband rolls his eyes, but as the media says she is “the green guru” so he has to listen. Despite what her children may say, Manda is a lot of fun and mostly right. Before getting a couple of prestigious (expensive) degrees, she lived in a mixed-race, low-income family in the Midwest. (Think government-subsidized housing and “food stuff.”) Thus, before her career even started she had the crazy notion that green wasn’t just for the white, rich, or educated. Since then, she has dragged her children, and her business, around North America, and to the developing-world, bringing her love of research, curiosity, and a real desire to help (and lots of Giardia herbs). 

Manda has helped green one of America’s premier daycares (in Chicago), managed one of the world’s only urban ecovillages (in Cleveland), and has taught hundreds of others about how to go green (without going broke). She has donated hours of information, empowering advice, and even reusable diapers to low-income communities in North America and the developing world. She has appeared as the green living expert on the TV shows The Lazy Environmentalist (HBO) and Save My Planet (ABC’s Living Well Network). (She looks queasy and pregnant in both, because she is.) She has a regular "green mama" column in EcoParent Magazine, on, and publishes the popular  Manda’s first book, Green Mama, is being released by Dundurn in June of 2014. It is the first book to bring practical green living advice specific to both Canadians and Americans and to include information for low-income families. She can be found on social media, but prefers to be found riding her bicycle with her two kids and lots of kale piled in the back. 

The Green Mama is the least profitable business ever according to Manda’s accountant who does not understand how she can continue to convince her husband to work so as to support her green passion. To continue to drive him crazy, she will donate 20-percent of the award to build another green demonstration home in the ecological children’s village Project Somos (one of the crazy groups that actually asks for her advice). While providing a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala, this group also is a living laboratory for building on a shoe-string budget: earthquake-proof sandbag construction, eco bricks, solar hot water, PVs, organic household gardens, positive indoor air quality, and a million other concepts much needed in all of the world. With the rest she will continue a massive overhaul of her website: ensuring she can continue to provide the eco-curious everywhere with reliable and inspiring green living information regardless of income, region, or green savvy. 

 Images from Project Somos, which provides a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala.
Family Sisters
Manda & family at Project Somos. Sisters!
Playground Kids
The new playground at Project Somos. Somos kids gardening.
Bean field with elderberry bush. Library time.
Ecobrick Earthbag
Eco-brick wall made from recycled bottles and earth. Earthbag dome.

The Green Mama.