Instead of being rural and vast, these farms are a couple-acre lots enclosed by major streets and railway lines. Instead of shipping produce long distances, these farms serve their local, South Side communities. Instead of owning the land, these farmers tend to it with their community in mind. Instead of using a top-down structure of organization, these farms are cooperative, owned equally by the farmers themselves and the City of Chicago. These are cooperative farms, the new crop of urban agriculture on the South Side.
After one of Katherine Davis’s tours at the Smart Museum, she gathered her group of two dozen students around Emmanuel Pratt’s wooden art installation outside of the main gallery. To evoke a connection between blues music and the art in the museum, Davis led a call-and-response rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll.” It worked. The whole group clapped, sang, and even danced along. Between Davis’s rich voice and her vibrant energy, this was not your ordinary docent-led museum tour.