Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Urban Farms tour

Thirty-seven riders responded to my invitation to tour urban farms in Chicago.  We started at Ken Dunn's City Farm at Clybourn and Division.  

We had a lovely tour of the farm and a surprise bonus of seeing a literal Truck Farm parked just west of City Farm.  It's a pickup truck filled with vegetables growing in soil.  The two owners of the Truck Farm, who bring it to schools as an educational project, rode their bicycles with us and explained their project.  

Truck Farm
We traversed the two new Halsted Street bridges, part of the Kinzie St. protected bike lane and made our second stop at the Hull House Kitchen Farm.  Farmer Ryan Beck gave us a tour of his farm and hoop house on the U of Illinois/Chicago property.  He mentioned that some of the vegetables grown there go into Re-thinking soup every Tuesday at the Hull House Kitchen.  

Hull House Kitchen Farm

Our route passed Rapid Transit Cycle Shop on Halsted and then a torn up Blue Island Ave. all the way to Western Ave., where we got a lovely tour of Chicago Botanic Garden's Windy City Harvest at Arturo Velasquez Institute from Marissa, an intern. 

Windy City Harvest

Our last stop was the open house at John Edel's The Plant, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable food production, entrepreneurship and building reuse through education, research and development.  The open house meant we had a tour from roof to basement, as well as food, beer and kombucha and a shady place to enjoy them.  

The Plant

A few of us added an extra stop at the Edible Treasures garden exhibit outside the Field Museum and passed by the Streets for Cycling Plan public meeting at 77 S. Dearborn just as it was ending at 4 p.m.

The temperature reached 97 that day, but we kept moving and enjoyed the tours.  It was also great weather for the ride of the evening: the World Naked Bike Ride.

Eric Vann, one of the riders on the tour, posted his own write-up on the ride, including photos and video.

I've been asked to repeat this tour, and will do so next year when The Plant schedules an open house.

   - Kathy Schubert

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