ICA launched the Out and About Uptown series on Sunday, May 21st, 2017, focusing on Urban Ecology. Local partners Susan Ask of animalia project, Melanie Eckner of the Uptown Coastal Initiative, and Ted Jindrich of the Chicago Park District Natural Areas stewards shared their collective expertise covering Uptown’s past, present, and future.
In 2015, following a successful five year effort for ICA to re-engage in programming throughout Chicago, ICA began an effort to reinvest programmatically in its local neighborhood, Uptown. ICA has directed its local programming towards connecting residents to build relationships with one another and other organizations and live more sustainable lifestyles.
After four months of planning and collaboration, the First Annual Garden Walk successfully engaged 100 residents on July 16th. The tours were free and accessible throughout the day, and the weather was perfectly 78 degrees and sunny. Sparked by a planning workshop at the February Seed Swap & Hub Day, ICA staff organized the event with members of Eco Up, a community-based environmental action group for residents of Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and surrounding communities.
On Saturday, February 27th, ICA hosted a garden themed Hub day and Seed Swap which brought together 35 residents whose gardening skills ranged from beginner to gardening expert. The aim of Hub days are to promote the ICA GreenRise as a community space to gather and learn skills that support personal sustainability. In addition to skills-based workshops and mingling opportunities, this Hub day featured an Uptown engagement track to plan future community activities.
To seek greater security for ICA GreenRise and increase access to historic resources, a team of ICA staff, consultants and contractors are making the case to place the ICA GreenRise on the National Historic Landmark (NHLs) registry.
ICA GreenRise continues to grow as a demonstration of sustainability on Chicago’s Northside, using both its historic building and programming to support local community efforts. GreenRise’s community of tenants is expanding this May, welcoming long-time Uptown fixture Lawrence House Pharmacy. Lawrence House was recently sold to a new developer, and ICA GreenRise is happy to allow the pharmacy to continue serving the community from the other side of Lawrence Avenue.