As the summer sun begins to set over Chicago, mingled with the sound of traffic and the sight of street lights slowing awakening, are other, less intrusive sights and sounds. There is the soft spray and splatter of the garden hose coming on as the last rays of sunlight dance on tomatoes, bean vines, corn stalks. There is a soft clucking and the flap of wings as chickens are gently guided into the coop for the night.
A sliding sound and gentle clunk of wood are all that’s heard as someone carefully closes the last frame of a beehive. Across town as the lid is lifted off of a worm composting bin, the worms near the top flee the light as shredded paper is pushed aside to bury a handful of chopped vegetable scraps.
In recent years interest in urban agriculture has exploded. More and more people are becoming interested in environmental issues. It seems that the more industrialized our society becomes the more people long for a way to connect with nature. Chicago is no exception to this phenomenon. From herbs grown on window sills to large, inner city farmsteads, there is some form of agriculture happening in every ward and every neighborhood of this vast city.
This collection showcases some of the ways that Chicagoans are connecting with the land, the animals and each other. Whether it is tomatoes in a bucket on a stairwell landing or an entire city block devoted to organic farming, the heart of urban agriculture lies within the people who are committed to making it happen. The people of this city raise worms, bees, chickens, flowers, vegetables and most importantly hope for good food for more and more people in urban areas.