I'm in awe of Helen Cameron and Mike Cameron, a dynamo couple who endlessly explore the possibilities of running two sustainable, community-oriented restaurants in Chicago, Uncommon Ground. These people promote farming and farmers! They start by serving family farm food in the restaurant, of course...
Last week Mike gave me and Paul Natkin, Farm Aid's rock and roll photographer, a tour of Chicago's (and the U.S.'s!) first organic certified rooftop garden. It's located on top of their newer restaurant location, Uncommon Ground on Devon. Mike showed off the fully irrigated raised beds, the trellises for vertical growing, the four bee hives, and the box that contained the bees that the post office delivered!
Mike and Helen grow their many of their own herbs and vegetables for use in the kitchens of both Uncommon Ground locations, while showing local school children how it's done. They also had a farmers market in the parking lot of the restaurant this summer.
With good food fresh from the farm (and their rooftop garden!), music all week, and art from local artists on the walls, Uncommon Ground builds strong, award-winning community support. It's kind of like Farm Aid every night of the week!