Chicago Humanities Festival: Farm in the City

The idea of growing your own food at home is not new. When Europeans came to America, the Native Americans had been farming for centuries. Since then, there has been a decline in farming as more people moved to the city and began to rely on the importation of goods to sustain themselves. In recent years, there had been a growing interest in the development of farming in the city. Three advocates of this idea spoke at “Farm in the City” to present their vision of urban agriculture in Chicago. Together, they shared their hope to expand Chicago’s agricultural industry to both neighborhood farms and vertical farms.

Throughout history, land has been a desirable world resource that is often difficult to acquire. In the sixteenth century, many Europeans travelled to the Americas to obtain land for themselves or for their families. Those settlers who later moved to the western parts of the United States sought to become a land owner because it would give them the opportunity to sustain themselves through farming. Today, Growing Home and Blacks in Green are two organizations who had a similar motivation to those of early American settlers. Their goal is to develop the urban farming of Chicago into an established industry. Over the past few years, these organizations have started neighborhood farms located mainly on the south side of Chicago. Growing Home and Blacks in Green both recognized that after the recent Recession, many lots of land were available for purchase on the south side, while they were scarce in many other parts of the city. These organizations have bought over thirty land lots, which have been developed into thriving neighborhood farms. These urban farms have brought communities together by creating a safe environment, jobs, and cultural connections.

The system of vertical farming has been created with the assistance of innovative changes to farming over the centuries. This system of vertical farming is utilised in areas such as “The Plant”. A representative from “The Plant” came to discuss their recent actions and how they came to use the vertical planting system. It developed from basics systems of agriculture that were present, for example, in Native American and European settler’s farms in the 1700s. Their simple systems of irrigation and cultivation has been transformed over the years. With the addition of recent discoveries, such as the anaerobic digester, aquaponics, and whole-system power, it was possible to make vertical farming a reality.

urban farm

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