Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Urbanism, farming not in conflict

With $3,000 from the School of Communication, Max Wilson will be spending his summer researching urban farms in Chicago with the ultimate goal of drafting a proposal to start a Northwestern-run urban farm.

“For a micro-community like a university, it could produce a significant amount of food for the university, depending on how big the farm is,” the Communication junior said. “It could bring fresh food for the dining halls, which would be good because the food there sucks.”

Urban farms are areas of agricultural food production within city limits that bring the source of food closer to urban populations. Student groups have been working with urban farms for several years.

“They’re trendy and they’re fun,” said SESP senior Ruth Orme-Johnson, the Northwestern Community Development Corps site leader for The Talking Farm, an urban farm in Evanston. “People are finally starting to wake up to the idea that issues of global warming and conservation are things everyone should be participating in. One really easy way to do that is to be a part of the urban garden movement.”

Wilson said the produce could also be sold at farmer’s markets in Evanston and the location could act as a volunteer site for community members.

Students for Ecological and Environmental Development will be working with The Talking Farm to start its own community garden on the front lawn of an Evanston resident who lives near Orrington Avenue and Foster Street, said Rachel Heydemann, SEED’s Talking Farm site leader.

“We were approached by this local resident, saying he was really interested in this project, and it’s turned into quite a big undertaking,” the SESP sophomore said. “This is a cool new development and an interesting way of growing our own food locally while reducing our environmental impact.”

Students will begin building garden beds this weekend, said Weinberg senior Jesse Sleamaker, a former SEED co-chair.

Orme-Johnson said some of her Talking Farm volunteers who live in the Communications Residential College have already spoken with university administrators about starting CRC’s own urban garden. However, Orme-Johnson is skeptical about an on-campus garden supplying food for the dining halls.

“The support for such a thing is lacking, quite frankly,” Orme-Johnson said. “I think they would have a little bit of a struggle convincing the administration this is necessary for the university.”

Heydemann said establishing an urban farm on campus would be a step toward a greener NU.

“It would really help Northwestern in its effort to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious,” Heydemann said. “With the current environmental crisis, people are starting to realize more and more that eating locally and organically are critically important.”

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Urbanism, farming not in conflict