Emmanuel Pratt James Godsil Sharing Sweet Water Vision With Grace Lee Boggs and Solutionary Parnters

Pratt of SWF Keynote Speaker at Harvard et al 6th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference

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.

Radical [Re]Constructions: Revaluing Food, Farming, Family and Future

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

Conference Closing Panel: The State of Urban Farming : Where Are We and What’s Next?

Facilitated by Greg Watson, Director For Policy and Systems Design, Schumacher Center for a New Economics and Panelists:

Track 1: Youth and Urban Farming (youth only)

Opening Session: “Paving Your Own Pathways”

A.M.Keynote: “An Agroecological Paradigm”

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

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Sweet Water Foundation Workshop at Pratt’s and team’s School of the Art Institute show

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.


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Sweet Water Foundation At Heart Haus May Day Celebration: Todd Leach, Emmanuel Pratt, Jesse Blom, and James Godsil

Derek Ware, James Godsil, Amanda Williams, and Emmanuel Pratt at Sweet Water Foundation Hyde Park Art Center.
Godsil and Pratt co-founded the Sweet Water Foundation, with Josh Fraundorf and Howard Hinterthuer providing foundational support.

Artist talk

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Introducing Pratt Demos

Sweet Water Foundation Praxis & Organic Intellectuals

James Godsil (cc’d to this email) and I co-founded the Sweet Water Foundation 501c3 as a platform to support and advance an emerging network of organic intellectuals seeking to balance academic theory with real world practice aka ‘praxis’. Sweet Water Foundation’s mission is to educate for resilient 21st century communities through sustainable urban agriculture practices. SWF does 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 fueled by technology.

Since December 2009, Sweet Water Foundation has our small but dedicated team has been recognized by IBM Smarter Cities for a Smarter Planet Challenge, NBC Nightly News, the New York Times, National Public Radio, Chicago Ideas Week, the UN Global Compact Cities, Whole Foods, the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations, and many more. We have particularly been recognized by the mayors of the cities we serve - including Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett - for our efforts to re-engage the disengaged learners and actively transforming the educational paradigm through hands on interdisciplinary and intergenerational models of learning. Below are a few links highlighting the work:


In Chicago, SWF has a 5 year lease on a city block (~2 acres) which has been turned into the Perry Ave Community Farm. See pics attached. The site is situated directly in the midst of a residential neighborhood that has been devastated by decades of disconnect and extraction. Here’s a link to a sampling of photos regarding the evolution of the Perry Ave Community Farm over the summer:https://plus.google.com/photos/100043881418669189803/albums/6051124760891731601?authkey=CPmu56fuyJSdzgE

SWF also recently secured a 3 bedroom house across the street from the farm that we’ve converted into our ‘Think-Do’ House where host community meetings, events, cooking demos (sampling from produce from the farm), field trips, after school events, etc. The mural (see pic attached) is currently underway by Max Sansing (http://maxsansing.tumblr.com/). Here’s a brief article about it by a visitor from the Sun Times: http://www.suntimes.com/news/ontiveros/30552072-452/in-the-emptiness-i-find-a-visionary.html#.VFsitRaQwYI

This site is evolving concurrently with the ‘Heart House/Haus’ in Milwaukee which either Godsil or I will send a separate note about.

Both the Perry Ave Community Farm and the Think-Do House were recently featured in Chicago Ideas Week and Chicago Art Month and are building upon the momentum of the work we’ve done the past several years converting the shoe warehouse into an Aquaponics Center at a separate site whereby we host schools weekly for field trips, workshops, etc. This site is housed within the college of Arts & Sciences at Chicago State University and we share a number of emerging partnerships across a network of communities, universities, and schools.

Lastly, our team is also making strides authoring Aquaponics Policy for both Chicago Public Schools and Milwaukee Public Schools married to the Badge-Based and Cities of Learning Initiatives.

Sweet Water Foundation & IBM’s Smarter Cities Call for Aquaponics Innovation Center

Chicago State University, USDA, US Dept of Education Partnerhips

Upon working with SWF and other key entities in Milwaukee engaged in daily work in the urban agriculture world, IBM Smarter Cities Milwaukee put forth recommendations/conclusions in 2011 regarding the concept of Smarter Cities Feeding themselves via urban agriculture and aquaponics.

  • As part of the recommendations/conclusions was the notion that education and research was key and there was a need for a Aquaponics Innovation Center and SWF was highlighted as one of the key organizations advancing this charge.

  • Building upon such recommendations, I am now the Director of Aquaponics of the SWF/CSU Aquaponics Center which has since gained support from both the USDA and the US Dpmnt of Education.

  • I have since also been developing a relationship with the Chief of Staff from the USDA’s Dpmnt of Research Education and Economics in DC who is also looking to explore the many opportunities of Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics.

Sweet Water Foundation & Smarter Cities Challenge: Chicago STEM for K-14 education.

Sweet Water Foundation & Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy Partnership

  • The result was Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy and a network of other STEM Academies. Building upon this momentum, SWF interfaced with the teachers and youth at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy introducing them to our work in the realm of Urban Ag and Aquaponics.

Sweet Water Foundation and Perry Ave Community Farm

Over the past year, SWF has recently acquired and developed the 2 Acre Perry Ave Community Farm (situated on an abandoned lot which used to be a school site) and has a new headquarters at the Think-Do House ( a formerly abandoned/foreclosed 3 bedroom House).

As part of the agreement with the City of Chicago/Alderman/Mayor, the terms of use are that both the Farm and the House are to be utilized for the purpose of Urban Farm Education and Cultural Arts in alignment with our work with STE[A+]M education. Whole Foods has also expressed interest in supporting and partnering with the Perry Ave site given our close proximity to their new store which will be located at 63rd & Halsted(less than 4 minutes away from the farm and house).

By the way, I’m in the photo of the groundbreaking story.

Both the Farm and the House were recently highlighted by Chicago Art Month and Chicago Ideas Week.

Sweet Water Foundation and MacArthur/Mozilla Foundation’s HIVE Digital Media and Learning network

SWF is one of the highlighted entities with the MacArthur/Mozilla Foundation’s HIVE Digital Media and Learning network which is advancing the Digital Badges platform as part of the Chicago Cities of Learning Initiative.

Sweet Water Foundation and NYC World Makers Faire and London MozFest

SWF was just sent to both the NYC World Maker Faire and the MozFest in London to represent the HIVE Chicago and HIVE National networks and demo the work we have underway.

Sweet Water Foundation and Aquaponics Policy for Chicago and Milwaukee Public Schools

SWF just finished the first ever Aquaponics Policy for CPS (we believe first in the entire midwest) which is cultivating the advancement of a network of Aquaponics Labs across CPS schools and is hoping to marry the work in Urban Ag and Aquaponics to their CTE (Career Technology & Education) tracks.

SWF is leading the charge with the NEA Foundation to do the same in Milwaukee with MPS.

Sweet Water Foundation and Entrepreneurial Farms

The Perry Ave Community Farm is part of an emerging network of Entrepreneurial Farms (as featured by the Chicago Tribune Business section earlier this year).

I am following up with some writers from the Tribune soon to discuss the Perry Ave site evolution as an extension of that article.

Long story short, the Perry Ave Community Farm and the ‘Think-Do’ headquarters site are the beginnings of an ~8 acre development of the surrounding area advancing a network of entrepreneurs within the neighborhood.

I’ll be providing a note about the 5 year development plan for the immediate sites and the surrounding neighborhood.

Of course, there’s plenty more but I think that pretty much outlines the roadmap and pathway thus far.

Sweet Water Foundation Hacking Hunger Festival & Museum of Science & Industry

SWF’s Perry Ave Community Farm and Think-Do lab look to be the site for next year’s Hacking Hunger Festival in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry.

Resources On Food and Race

First, I suggest you spend some quality time with (and periodically revisit) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech “The Other America”[transcript: http://www.gphistorical.org/mlk/mlkspeech/ ; video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3H978KlR20 ] as a foundational basis for the general discourse of race/class in America.

Second,check out Chapter 1 of Grace Lee Bogg’s new book. The chapter is entitled “These Are the Times to Grow Our Souls”: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520269248#read-chapter-1. Video interview snippet here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzeezIsTZ_o.

Next, with respect to the ongoing structural and policy related issues concerning race/class and urban development in the U.S., I suggest you start by spending some time with:

June Manning Thomas’ work regarding “Urban Planning in the African American Community: In the Shadows”
[http://www.plannersnetwork.org/1999/03/urban-planning-in-the-african-american-community-in-the-shadows/ &
http://jpe.sagepub.com/content/14/1/1.abstract ];
Mindy Fullilove’s work on displacement/root shock [ https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxyb290c2hvY2tvcmd8Z3g6NjVlMmEyMDJlZDQwNTg2OQ | http://www.amazon.com/Root-Shock-Tearing-Neighborhoods-America/dp/0345454235]

Then, you and the class should definitely take a tour and volunteer at Walnut Way Conservation Corp and Alice’s Gardens in Milwaukee.

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by Godsil.  Page last modified on March 15, 2018

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