I'm amazed that I was able to get this pulled together to post today (given the ridiculous amount of time it takes up upload HD video to YouTube), but here, something less than 24 hours after the fact, is my report from last night's "Introduction and Launch Event" for INUAg - the International Network for Urban Agriculture. This was held at Christy Webber Landscapes' "LEED Platinum" headquarters over in the Garfield Park area, and served to bring together a crowd of folks interested in developing Urban Agriculture in Chicago, and beyond.
While the organization has been being informally developing for a couple of years, here's their initial "about us" statement:
INUAg's vision: Communities worldwide are reconnected to the production of their food.
INUAg's mission: To inspire and foster urban farming through networking, education, and advocacy.
INUAg.org is an up-to-date, organized and searchable resource for individuals, communities and organizations interested in urban agriculture. We are striving to be comprehensive in geography, sector, topic, growing methods, business models, policy and other topics as urban agriculture grows.
INUAg is based in Chicago serving a global membership. Inuag.org has forums for members to exchange ideas, best practices and resources. INUAg is looking to develop partnerships with existing urban agriculture organizations and coalitions to help expand the viability and success of urban agriculture.
At the moment, INUAg is primarily a virtual entity - a space on the web for those interested in Urban Agriculture and related fields to share ideas, information, and resources. It is also starting specifically in Chicago, with involvement of many of the players in the urban farming niche, from the event's host (and INUAg Board VP) Chrisy Webber to representatives from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and folks from various local growers and community organizations. However, the "International" in the name is not misplaced, as much of their site is given over to projects around the globe.
Following the main presentations, I had a chance to grab INUAg Board President Grace Rappe for a chat, and this is what she had to say:
Now, I need to apologize for the "Blair Witch" look of the following video - I tossed my FlipCam in my bag but didn't think to bring a tripod - so I was hand-holding the camera for the 20-some minutes of the presentation, which means that it was not only getting passed back and forth between my hands as my arms tired, but I was also having to lean around to try to keep the speakers (and not other audience members' heads) in the shot. Anyway, here was the introductory presentation:
Needless to say, it's exciting to see an organization like this starting to form here. There is a lot of energy boiling up to the surface right now in the urban farming area and the green movement in general (I'm also involved in the new The Chicago Composting Coalition, which I'll be covering in a while), and more and more it looks like Chicago will be a major hub for this activity!
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