Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Old McDonald's Farm

A couple of Saturdays ago this urban sketcher left her studio to visit an urban farm! In an old meatpacking plant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago there is a wonderful place called The Plant. Its mission is to repurpose the old plant into a vertical farm (I love that term) and food business operation. 
The Plant-Outdoor Garden

When it is fully operational one-third of The Plant will be an aquaponic farm system. It's a circle from fish to vegetables to fish. The fish in tanks produce ammonia-based waste that is broken down into nitrates that are fed to the plants growing in water beds. The plants absorb the nitrates and clean the water. The water the goes back to the fish. The idea is to sell both the fish and the vegetables to local markets and restaurants.  The other two-thirds of the building will house sustainable food businesses.

This is just a hint of what is planned. Right now there's a bakery, a tea brewery, a mushroom farm and the aquaponics has begun. There's an outdoor garden and a roof garden. It has a long way to go but The Plant will have a renewable energy system that will use more than 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet its energy requirements. About 125 jobs will be created. There are retail and restaurant spaces planned. Go, take the tour. See the future and be inspired and amazed!

There were nineteen people on the tour with Barbara, our guide. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


Urban Sketchers-Chicago met in Chinatown yesterday. I started the day's adventure on the water taxi from Michigan Avenue to Ping Tom Park. What a perfect day for a half hour ride on the Chicago River!

The group met then spread out to sketch. Some of us went to the square with the zodiac sculptures. Surprise! When we got there there was a festival – a perfect day for that too! It was buzzing with people, costumes, dancing and karate, balloons and food. It all took place in front of an altar with a statue of Buddha filled offerings of incense, food and flowers. The general mood was fun and reverent. I wish I knew more about it. From what we could gather it was just a Chinatown summer celebration –

Friday, August 16, 2013

At Our Backs

It's been awhile since I've posted, not because I haven't been sketching but because I haven't been scanning. This sketch is from the backlog. It's from the recent Monday sketch outing.

Seven of us met at the south end of Belmont Harbor. We had a good discussion about painting clouds and greens as well as quiet time to paint. The winds were at our back - good fortune - the rain held off until we were packed up and leaving!