Chicago Restaurant Uncommon Ground Joins the Locally Grown Movement

Uncommon Ground, an urban rooftop farm in Chicago, grows diverse, heirloom varieties to serve up in its restaurant. Find out how more about this Chicago restaurant is joining the locally grown movement.

| May 2013

  • Uncommon Underground emphasizes composting to provide their plants with additional nutrients.
    Cover Courtesy Agate Midway Publishing
  • Locally Grown
    "Locally Grown" by Anna Blessing shows the restaurant industry movement to engage in sustainable farming practices through small-scale urban farming and purchasing produce from local farmers.
    Cover Courtesy Agate Midway Publishing
  • Rooftop gardens are one method of urban farming that has seen a growing trend.
    Photo Courtesy Agate Midway Publishing
  • Rooftop garden beds are an effective method for farming in urban areas.
    Cover Courtesy Agate Midway Publishing
  • Chicago restaurant, Uncommon Ground, plants herbs and other greens for use in the kitchen.
    Cover Courtesy Agate Midway Publishing

  • Locally Grown

From small-scale urban farming, including rooftop gardens, to buying locally grown ingredients from Heartland farms, Chicago restaurants are experiencing a growing commitment to sustainable practices in farming. Locally Grown (Agate Midway Publishing, 2012) by Anna Blessing, takes a look into these modern heartland farms and urban gardens, exploring how sustainable practices in farming—and close ties to high-profile chefs and restaurateurs—have propelled the "locally grown" culinary movement. Blessing tells rich stories of heartland farms through beautiful photography, fascinating anecdotes from farmers and chefs, and up-close looks at what makes each farm so unique. This excerpt is taken from Chapter 20, “Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm.”

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Locally Grown

Recipes from Uncommon Ground

Grilled Trout Stuffed with Tomato Confit Recipe
Seared Salmon with Basil Oil Recipe 

    When you’re standing in the middle of Uncommon Ground’s rooftop farm, sounds of screeching brakes and sirens substitute for crickets and birds. Tall buildings replace a backdrop of trees. But just like other organic farms throughout the Midwest, it’s a working farm that grows produce for chefs; in this case, the chef right downstairs at Uncommon Ground restaurant.

    Uncommon Ground was the country’s first certified organic rooftop farm in 2008, when owners Michael and Helen Cameron opened their second restaurant in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. The 2,500-square-foot expanse is taken up with planter boxes filled with what chef Chris Spear and farmer Dave Snyder have planned together.



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