Mar 16 6th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference Presented by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and merck family fund
Lunchtime Keynote: Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago Il.
The talk will unpack the creative practices of the Sweet Water Foundation, highlighting how locally deployed creative interventions that blend education, art, architecture, citizen science, and community-scale production are cultivating innovative models for community-conscious neighborhood development in the Southside of Chicago and beyond.
At Irish Museum of Modern Art With Pope’s Ecological Advisor Fr. Sean McDonagh
Awakening Obama Foundation Network To On the Ground South Side Renaissance
Facilitated by Greg Watson, Director For Policy and Systems Design, Schumacher Center for a New Economics and Panelists:
Opening Session: “Paving Your Own Pathways”
Presenter: Isis Salcines, Havana, Cuba, Outreach Director, Organopónico Vivero Alamar.The Organoponico Vivero Alamar is one of Havana, Cuba’s largest and oldest urban farms. Isis Salcines will share their experiences implementing agroecology, addressing food security, and discuss the social, economic and environmental impacts of the farm
WASHINGTON PARK — As buildings are being torn down in Washington Park, a barn is being raised.
The Sweet Water Foundation has erected likely the only barn of its kind in the city on a lot where Moseley Elementary School once stood and that is now a farm. The barn appears to be the first since the Chicago Fire in 1871.
“This is the first timber-frame barn in the city of Chicago since the fire that we know of,” said Emmanuel Pratt, founder of the Sweet Water Foundation, which is running the Perry Avenue Community Farm at 57th Street and Perry Avenue.
Awarded the highly competitive ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Grant, receiving institutional support funding from MacArthur Foundation, and partnering with Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects on a design studio at Harvard GSD for development of a pavilion at the Perry Ave Commons.
Emmanuel has also been commissioned as the Smart Museum’s Threshold artist for an installation, Radical [Re]Construction, which will open late summer and be featured as part of the Chicago Architectural Biennial.
Momentum is in full swing and 2017 promises to be a transformational year for Sweet Water Foundation and our work at the Perry Ave Commons.
Sweet Water Foundation Update - Spring 2017
Received competitive grants and awards including:
ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Grant to build out the Perry Ave Commons
MacArthur Foundation Institutional Support Grant to support Strategic Planning
Hive Chicago Fund Grant for continuation of the Re[CREATE]Ed Spaces Project in partnership with Chicago
2017 Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) Community Impact Award
Events, Exhibitions and Installations
Art+Urban Agriculture Exchange with Patio Taller in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Design Studio for Sweet Water Foundation Pavilion with Studio Gang Architects at Harvard GSD
“We the Publics…” art installation and public talk series at Harvard GSD
Smart Museum art installation (fall 2017)
Build Projects Completed/In Progress
Architectural, Custom-Designed Pocket Park - completed Fall 2016
Shipping Container Greenhouse - completed Winter 2017
Rehab of Abandoned Home across from Farm to expand programming space and provide apprentice housing - in progress
Greenhouse construction - in progress
James Godsil, Jesse Blom, Ben Koller, and Emmanuel Pratt at Sweet Water Foundation Workshop at Pratt’s and team’s School of the Art Institute show, “Outside Design” Aquaponocs Workshop.
“Outside Design,” a collateral event of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, explores the turn in art and design toward biotechnology and ecological systems. The practices—Analog Media Lab (Urbana-Champaign, IL), Ants of the Prairie (Buffalo, NY), The Living and the Ali Brivanlou Lab (New York City), Species of Space (Chicago), and Sweet Water Foundation (Chicago)—pursue projects that move outside of their core of expertise and into the center of other fields. Responding to these dialogic practices, the exhibition will be organized as a series of laboratories installed across the galleries, engaged throughout the fall by students, faculty, and visiting artists and designers. Outside Design is a collateral event of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, will explore the turn in art and design toward biotechnology and ecological systems.
“Vacancy” features the work of artist-architects that challenge the identity, value and politics of empty or abandoned space. Through three multi-tiered and multi-located projects led by Andres L. Hernandez, Emmanuel Pratt and Amanda Williams, the notion of “emptiness” is re-conceived, redefined and rebuilt. The featured works demonstrate how architectural practice builds on art and activist strategies to address racial, gender and class inequities and to drive social change. Vacancy is an affiliate partner exhibition of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, The State of the Art of Architecture, and a featured program of Chicago Artists’ Month.
List of attendees
(IL) - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Author/Byline: SUE ONTIVEROS
I knew something special had to be going on if my dear friend was calling before 8 on a
Sunday morning to invite me.
Still, that didn’t mean as I was agreeing that I wasn’t also thinking to myself, ‘‘So I am
going to just show up at 57th and Perry without an exact address, only with the
reassurance, ‘you’ll know the house when you see it.’ ’’
But as I drove through well-worn streets where so many homes and businesses are no
more, I could see she was right: there was no doubt which house it was. On the side of
the house is an almost-finished mural of regal-looking African Americans.
The building gives off this aura of “Yeah, I’m in the middle of emptiness; so what?” Once
inside, I realized that if the people who congregate here have their way, that emptiness
won’t be forever. And what you or I might see as emptiness, they see as opportunity
waiting to happen. It’s all in your perspective.
The answer to a host of urban problems — jobs, hunger, education — could very well
be right inside the front door. Literally. The walls are done in blackboard paint so ideas
and possible ways to implement them can fill them. And they do.
Oh, and the living room? It’s “living” alright. Herbs under grow lights sit in what was a
fireplace. An aquaponic system (a setup that basically grows plants and fish using the
same water) stands near a window.
Upstairs, along the stairway, downstairs, in the kitchen — something’s going on. Then
there are the two acres of land being farmed outside. The energy here is incredible.
And at the hub of it all is Emmanuel Pratt , a Chicago State professor and founding
director of the Sweet Water Foundation. You don’t run into true visionaries every day,
but Pratt , he’s the real deal. He looks at all of what’s going on here as a way to put an
end to the blight. But his ideas spring not from tearing down what’s left and embracing
gentrification (which, let’s face it, usually means moving out the poor people). He uses
what’s already here and gets kids, veterans, seniors involved in urban farming, green
initiatives and a lot more, not just at this location, but in other struggling neighborhoods.
One of the ways he’s doing that is by tapping into his incredible network of “doers.” The
day I’m here, so are others from Chicago Ideas Week. But Pratt doesn’t want to just
tout his programs; he gets the people in the room talking to one another about their
involvements, to get connections going. You connect the dots (err, people), and then
you’ve got a solid network going on.
The farming, the aquaponics. They’re not just to feed people well, although that’s a
good part of it. Pratt ’s trying to get kids and others to see the money-making
possibilities in green initiatives, to turn them into “eco-preneurs.” And why not?
Remember, Whole Foods is coming to 63rd and Halsted. Connection made.
Pratt doesn’t have trucks to haul the produce grown here around. Ah, but Washburne,
the culinary school at nearby Kennedy-King College, does. And there are connections
there. Who knows what’s next?
Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done. But Pratt and the Sweet Water Foundation can
see ways to bring people together and get things accomplished. Being able to see
solutions; why, that’s half the battle.
The free four-day conference for artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs will touch on new media and technology, career development and branding in fashion, music, arts, food and film. The event is sponsored by Google and organized by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
Friday will bring a “Makers” panel including UI Labs’ Caralynn Nowinski ⇒, hip-hop blogger Andrew Barber, Vocalo’s Silvia Rivera, Chicago Design Museum’s Tanner Woodford, Sweet Water Foundation’s Emmanuel Pratt and Young Chicago Authors’ Kevin Coval.
Emmanuel Pratt is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation and founding member of axilL3C. Emmanuel Pratt earned his BArch from Cornell University, his MSAUD (Masters in Science of Architecture and Urban Design) from Columbia University, and is a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning also from Columbia University. He is also the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University and teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences. Emmanuel’s professional and academic work has involved explorations and investigations in such topics as urbanization, race/identity, gentrification, and most recently transformative processes of community development through intersections of food security and sustainable design innovation.While most of his early work was anchored in the field of architecture, Emmanuel’s work has since explored the role of art and social praxis as a key component of urban design, urban farming, and sustainability with a particular concentration on the creation of a new paradigms for 21st century city planning.
SWF Chicago Highlight Accomplishments 2011-Present:
Leading the ongoing transformation of 15,000 sq/ft of a vacant shoe warehouse in the Southside of Chicago into an Aquaponics Innovation Center and Living Learning Lab as part of the College of Arts and Sciences with Chicago State University; the project has since gained support from the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Education along with a number of Universities nationally/internationally
Leading the ongoing transformation of a ~2 acre empty city block (in the heart of a residential area of Englewood/Washington Park/Woodlawn) into the Perry Ave Community Farm Feeding 200+ people a week locally at peak season; the project has since attracted support from the USDA, Whole Foods, several local restaurants and chefs, juicing companies, etc.
Leading the ongoing transformation of a formerly foreclosed/vacant 3 bedroom house across the street from the Perry Ave Community Farm into a dynamic Think-Do House which serves as a wellness center, a community and business meeting place, workshop space, educational space, and interdisciplinary research; the Think-Do House has since been featured in Chicago Ideas Week, Chicago Artist Month, and will be featured in the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial; currently in the process of transforming an additional ~1 acre of city land as part of an extension of this project and proposing new models for Community Economic Development in blighted neighborhoods
Established an Aquaponics Policy for Chicago Public Schools creating a roadmap for transforming vacant classrooms into STE[A+]M (Science Technology Engineering Arts + Design/Agriculture/Architecture and Math) labs
Chicago Tribune Blue Sky Innovation “Emmanuel Pratt’s mission to turn blight into farms and to grow entrepreneurs”
A resilience that resonates on Chicago’s South Side
Creative Times Summit: “Art, Place and Dislocation in the 21st Century City”:
Complex TV: Bold Moves Series
At Sweet Water Foundation our mission is to democratize, globalize, and commercialize urban agriculture practices for resilient 21st century communities via hands-on, real-life learning opportunities in urban agriculture. We do this by developing and delivering intergenerational and interdisciplinary educational and career programming that incorporates historical, technological, scientific, artistic, and cultural components into a project-based learning approach accelerated by open data platforms. Our team’s multi-faceted approach opens up discussions on the future of cities by allowing the student individuals to think critically about the environment and food production methods for a sustainable planet.
Sweet Water Foundation utilizes an exponential growth model for maximum impact by embedding our programming within existing networks within communities. We work to catalyze and cultivate innovative spaces that emphasize the relationship between inspiration, education, action and innovation by supporting STE[A+]M education for the emerging industry of urban agriculture. Our model includes a growing network of Aquaponics Innovation Centers, Urban Agriculture STE[A+]M Hubs, and robust hyper-local partnerships locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.
Aquaponics Innovation Center:
SWF has partnered with Chicago State University and 4240 Architecture to transform a formerly vacant 20th century shoe warehouse space in the Southside of Chicago into a dynamic 21st century hands-on Aquaponics Innovation Center over the past three years. The project has attracted an intergenerational audience of thousands of area grade school and high school students, college students, veterans, and residents across the greater Chicagoland area interested in urban agricultural and ecologically inspired research projects. Our team offers tours that include an introduction to the benefits and values of urban agriculture, healthy eating, urban revitalization, and environmental care. To reach participants who learn best by action, the tour also includes hands-on lessons in gardening, composting, and aquaponics. We regularly host educational and cultural events known as HARVEST CELEBRATIONS including lectures, book readings, film screenings and discussions, and community agricultural forums. Through these programs and events, we can successfully engage community groups, membership associations, nonprofit organizations, school systems, government entities, and private businesses, moving together towards our shared goals.
Urban Agriculture STE[A+]M Hubs
SWF broadens its work through the creation of Aquaponics STE[A+]M Hubs, which act as “satellites” for learning and activity in urban agriculture and aquaponics. These Hubs include schools, colleges and universities, community centers, churches, and neighborhoods - anywhere that people gather for learning and growing food together. Aquaponics STE[A+]M Hubs are established we create a series of small-scale installations in partnership with a group or institution committed to the same values and principles. These hubs are small-scale entrepreneurial urban farms serving as open-sourced platforms for emergent research, design, and the advancement of new models for urban agricultural practitioners.
The MYCELIA Project
The MYCELIA Project cultivates new connections through a series of informal and formal art and cultural events infused with science and technology whereby we invite people across our ever-growing network to share in celebration of the various collaborative projects. The significance and aim of these events is to awaken all of the 5 senses (see, touch, taste, hear, smell) of those who attend via cooking demonstrations, live art, live music, and more. The MYCELIA Project resultant spaces and events present an opportunity for students to showcase their innovative work, and schools to showcase their initiative. Ultimately, our intent is not only to highlight the value of food, but also to celebrate the education and innovation of our students along with all of those who supported the programs and made them successful.
Seed to Table Project
Supported by Newman’s Own Foundation, the Seed to Table Project engages students in the production and distribution of food from seed to table. Students are tasked with germinating seeds, constructing an aquaponics system, growing fish and plants, and producing a culturally-oriented meal with their produce. These projects reclaim and revitalize school greenhouses and classrooms that lie vacant or are used for storage.
Neighborhood Development Initiatives
In Milwaukee, SWF partners with ACTS Housing to incorporate indoor and outdoor gardens into the restoration of foreclosed homes in the Washington Park Neighborhood Renewal Project (WPNRP). WPNRP is a collaboration between Wells Fargo Bank, ACTS, the Urban Ecology Center, Sweet Water Foundation, and Milwaukee Bicycle Works.
Across both Chicago and Milwaukee, Sweet Water Foundation operates the Perry Ave Community Farm + Think-Do House, and has partnered with the Heart Haus, as a series of connected collaboration/ecopreneur consortium project experiments. Each site supports a range of individual yet interconnected range of STE(A+)M based initiatives emphasizing the interrelationship between inspiration, education, commerce, art, action and health & wellness. These sites serve as hubs for emergent research, design, and development of urban agricultural practices with a particular focus in the areas of soil science, urban ecology, and public health.
Sweet Water AQUAPONS is a learning platform for practitioners of aquaponics of all backgrounds. This open-source platform allows learners to accrue a series of digital “badges” that correspond with aquaponics achievements, skills, and proficiencies. AQUAPONS was developed through a grant from the Digital Media and Learning Competition IV, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and technical support from Mozilla Foundation as part of the the HIVE Learning network.
SWF utilizes AQUAPONS to support all of its programming, and especially its membership in HIVE Chicago and the Chicago City of Learning initiatives.
For more recent summary, see Emmanuel Pratt Notions
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines the technique of aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a closed-loop, recirculating system. It highlights the critical connection between fresh water and food production by using up to 80–90% less water and space than traditional farming methods with less inputs and more outputs. Many are predicting aquaponics is not only the future of farming, but it will shape the future of how we design and rebuild our cities.
I am currently the Director of the Chicago State University’s Aquaponics Center (located at 9601 S Cottage Grove Ave) where we’re transforming a formerly vacant shoe warehouse in the Southside of Chicago into a dynamic living learning environment that provides a centralized location for students and faculty to engage in urban agricultural and ecologically inspired research projects. We use the space to conduct community outreach, support technology transfer workshops, and provide meeting and work space for students, faculty, teachers, gardening clubs, and other community groups. This project helps the university expand current programs by creating a place where learning, community outreach, and research intersect in a productive and cohesive manner to produce the next generation of community leaders while providing 21st century career paths and promoting safer, healthier environments for low income communities.
My work at Chicago State’s Aquaponics Center is a direct extension and builds upon the momentum of years of work as Executive Director of Sweet Water Foundation where we have been developing intergenerational and interdisciplinary educational programming for sustainability with a focus on the potential of urban agriculture and aquaculture in the 21st century setting. Centered upon the fundamental concept of turning wastes into a community resource, we address such topics as community and economic development, health/wellness concerns, the STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), and environmental stewardship concerning local and global themes of food, soil, water, and energy. Our multi-faceted approach opens up discussions on the future of cities by allowing the student to think critically about the environment and food production methods for a sustainable planet.
While the Aquaponics Center provides a unique hands-on learning environment supporting the development of our Urban Agriculture/Ecology track option for CSU students, we also use the Aquaponics Center as a way to reach thousands of area grade school and high school students as well as the greater community at large, particularly in economically depressed neighborhoods. Ultimately, the Aquaponics Center serves as a resource and training center addressing nutrition and health issues facing inner city communities and 21st century workforce preparedness.
Here are some links about me, our team, and the Sweet Water AQUAPONS Badge-Based Initiative:
Chicago Magazine: How to Turn a Vacant Building into an Urban Farm:
Complex TV: Toyota Avalon Bold Moves TV Series
PBS Growing a Greener World: Aquaponics and Mushroom Growing:
NBC Nightly News: Greener Planet Showcase Series
SWF AQUAPONS Digital Badge-Based Program (supported by MacArthur Foundation,Mozilla Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Clinton Global Initiative)
Photo Gallery of examples of some of the ongoing projects:
Looking forward to discussing further and exploring potential synergies moving forward!
All the best,
Maker Faires in Chicago with the Chicago Summer of Learning if indoors and Chicago City of Learning ( https://plus.google.com/photos/100043881418669189803/albums/6034323547940583857?authkey=CIXDjomBwJODoAE)
Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing a group of students to SWF and Aquaponics/Urban Agriculture during the E-Week at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy (Most recently highlighted in the attached Time Magazine article). The school and the students are AMAZING and our team can’t wait to see how we can work together in the near future. Goode is one of five CPS schools in the program, which was announced in February 2012. The other schools are Lake View, Corliss, Michele Clark, and Chicago Vocational Career Academy. Each school has a lead corporate partner - Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions and Verizon Wireless - who is working with the schools to provide mentors, site visits, guest speakers, and project-based learning experiences for the students, as well as working with CCC and CPS to provide industry feedback for the technology curricula being taught in the classroom.
More about Sarah E. Good STEM Academy here (see pdf attached as well):
More about Sarah E. Goode the entrepreneur and inventor:
I’m blow away by the arc of history and the future world of possibilities……
Stephanie will be an absolutely amazing and much needed addition to our team!
The goal of the Sustainability Research Networks (SRN) competition is to bring together multidisciplinary teams of researchers, educators, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders to conduct collaborative research that addresses fundamental challenges in sustainability. The 2014 SRN competition will fund research networks with a focus on urban sustainability.
Proposals should identify an ambitious and nationally important theme in urban sustainability, present a creative and innovative research agenda that builds upon existing work in this area, and describe how a network of researchers and other stakeholders will be supported that integrates a variety of disciplines, sectors and backgrounds in order to create new perspectives and yield significant new understanding and knowledge.
The Sustainability Research Networks competition is part of the growing NSF investment in its Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) portfolio (www.nsf.gov/sees/). Challenges associated with broadly based SEES goals will be met by supporting fundamental science and engineering research and education needed to understand and overcome the barriers to sustainable human and environmental well being and to forge reasoned pathways to a sustainable future. NSF aims to support members of the academic research community for projects which produce discoveries and knowledge that will inform decisions leading to environmental, energy, social and cultural sustainability. NSF support will advance the frontiers of conceptual, empirical and computational research in science, engineering and education so that the nation has the knowledge base to inform policies on sustainability.
Not sure if it fits within the context of this conversation, but I continue to experience spikes in interest of student groups (middle school, high school, city colleges, and university level) as well as community partner organizations interested in building/analyzing monitoring and mapping systems for their various aquaponics/hydroponic/urban ag projects. Instrumentation costs range from $250 -$2500 per project.
Below is an example of a high school level project currently underway across several schools in very different neighborhoods in Chicago (but in convo with persons across Oakland, DC, NYC, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Johannesburg):
Students will be responsible for the installation of an Arduino-based water monitoring system in the school greenhouse. The Arduino will run a temperature sensor, water level sensor, pH sensor, dissolved-oxygen sensor, and a nitrite sensor. The Arduino will have a Wi-Fi shield connected to it in order to display the sensor data online.
Currently, students are responsible for the coding and circuitry for the temperature, pH, water level, and dissolved oxygen sensors. In order to finish the project, students will seek out assistance with the coding for the nitrite sensors, WiFi shield, and the general integration of all of the codes together.
Once successful, the students will monitor the water in the greenhouse over the course of the entire year.
This project above is being integrated into a separate collaborative HIVE Mapping Project in partnership with Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Smart Chicago as part of the HIVE learning network and the Chicago City of Learning initiative as described below:
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (PNNM), Sweet Water Foundation, and Smart Chicago Collaborative will conduct the Hive Mapping Cooperative (HMC) as an effort to provide teens the ability to collect, manage, analyze, visualize, and share georeferenced data through open-source mapping and data-sharing software. The HMC will identify the necessary platform(s) to pilot in existing summer programming, with the goal of facilitating collaborative youth-guided inquiry, within and across programs, into topics and issues in human ecology and urban ecosystems.
Partners will engage at least 50 high school students, drawn from programs which primarily serve neighborhoods on the west and south sides of Chicago. These youth participants will use the selected digital mapping platform(s) to analyze and share youth-collected and publically-available data sets.
This Hive Mapping Cooperative (HMC) is a new proposal, based on conversations among several Hive partners who have expressed interest in using digital mapping with their students but lack the resources or technical knowledge to do so. We’re initially piloting collaborative mapping platforms in programs with an ecological and environmental science focus. However, these programs are grounded in the fields of human ecology and urban ecology, which investigate relationships between humans and natural, built, and socioeconomic environments. Maps facilitate powerful narratives regardless of the topic, and we envision mapping and data sharing tools identified in the pilot having utility in any youth programs investigating topics or issues with spatial components. If the project is successful, we would
seek to expand the project to include additional Hive member organizations and non-Network community based organizations in HMC. We would also seek to engage CPS teachers through professional development help strengthen connections between formal and informal learning spheres.
Although there are many powerful GIS mapping tools available, most require a software license and/or technical knowledge beyond the resources and scope of most youth and program providers; nevertheless, understanding and using these tools can provide youth with valuable technical skills and experience. The HMC will identify multiple open-source GIS and data sharing platforms that meet three criteria to reduce youth barriers to engaging in digital mapping—free open-source software, ease of training and use, and functionality that allows for meaningful data analysis and sharing. Identified platforms will be piloted during the summer programs of HMC partners.
The primary output of the project will be the identification of a digital mapping and data sharing platform that can be used across youth-serving organizations. During the research, pilot implementation, and dissemination phases of the project, we intend to:
1. Develop strategies to teach mapping and analysis of spatial data to youth audiences.
2. Allow program youth to use maps to inform, create, and inspire narratives and dialogue around environmental, social, and political issues, and recognize maps as contested spaces;
3. Create a Chicago-based environmental mapping and data portal populated with data collected by Chicago youth;
4. Develop an infrastructure to facilitate youth collaboration (data sharing, contributing data, asking new questions, etc.) across and among youth-serving organizations;
5. Provide Hive organizations with the results of our pilot through a “deep dive” or similar training.
I’m curious to know how familiar everyone on this thread is with the shift from GDP (gross domestic product) to the GPI (Genuine Progress Indicators) as an emerging ‘economic’ indicator? And how much is the group familiar with Thomas Khun’s analysis of the Structure or Scientific Revolutions (overview here:http://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/Kuhn.html).
Both of which are quite important in contextualizing this particular conversation moving forward and helping frame the role of urban ag in this current paradigm shift…
In order to keep the convo grounded, this is some of what our team has been cultivating over the years:
Very curious to hear what others are working on…