Humans of Sweet Water...Meet Yasi Shaker

Meet Yasi Shaker...Yasi visited The Commons with a group of students from Kalamazoo College during the summer of 2018. Soon after, Yasi returned as Sweet Water Foundation’s 2018 Fall Fellow. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Yasi came to the United States go to school. As SWF’s Fall Fellow, Yasi has been helping the team build fractals, sharing her passion for environmental justice, and becoming immersed in the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development.

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Courtney Hug
Collaborative Innovation Networks

During the summer of 2018, SWF hosted Yash Kumbhat as its 2018 Summer Fellow. During his time at The Commons, Yash learned about the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development and how that practice might be implemented in other cities across the globe. Yash also shared his knowledge about solar energy in an effort to begin Lighting Up The Commons. When he returned to school, Yash brought the skills he gained at Sweet Water Foundation back to Harvard University and to the City of Boston.

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Courtney Hug
Detroit-Chicago Design Collaboration

What are public spaces? And, how can they be creatively and intentionally transformed into gathering spaces that are productive, safe, and welcoming for all? Since 2014, SWF has reclaimed and transformed 4 contiguous city blocks on Chicago’s South side. The Perry Avenue Commons (The Commons) has become a demonstration site with an emphasis on community.  Now, others across the country are looking to SWF as a model of Regenerative Neighborhood Development, and seeking SWF’s counsel as they work to transform public spaces across the country.

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Courtney Hug
Humans of Sweet Water...Meet Yash Kumbhat

Meet Yash Kumbhat….Yash came to The Commons as an intern during the summer of 2018. Originally from Kolkata, India, he is now a sophomore at Harvard College. During his summer at SWF, Yash helped with various tasks such as leading tours, learning architecture and design projects with other interns, and learning farming techniques from SWF apprentices. He also helped SWF begin lighting up The Commons with solar energy. Now, Yash is back in Boston, spreading SWF’s practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development across the city.

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Courtney Hug
EXPO CHICAGO @ The Commons

On Tuesday, September 25, Sweet Water Foundation hosted the For Freedoms Town Hall, gathering more than 50 people from EXPO CHICAGO in the Thought Barn for an evening of conversation on the topic of Art and Public Space. The Town Hall, organized in collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art, welcomed a panel of speakers from March for Our Lives and AfriCOBRA who discussed strategies for integrating art into the reclamation of public space. The evening’s dialogue was enhanced by the surrounding environment given SWF’s focus on integrating art into each space at The Commons.

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Courtney Hug
Breakout Chicago @ The Commons

On September 22, 2018 a group of 175 people attending Breakout Chicago visited the Perry Avenue Commons for a neighborhood celebration with activities, performances, food, and connections. Breakout is a nationwide organization whose mission is to champion change makers, with a focus on those who make changes from within communities. The Commons provided the perfect place to gather a national audience of change makers to witness and celebrate the transformations taking place at The Commons and across the country.

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Courtney Hug
Humans of Sweet Water...Meet Keith Denson

Meet Keith Denson...Keith joined the Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) family in summer 2018 as a Crew Member and Apprentice. He was born and raised in Chicago, and discovered Sweet Water Foundation through his son’s grandmother. Since joining SWF, Keith has pitched in and helped out in every way he can at The Commons. He is always willing, open, and excited to engage in conversation and learn more about others.

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Courtney Hug
Lighting Up the Commons

Throughout the summer, the SWF team performed a series of experiments with solar panels installed on the Smart Pod and on test kits around The Commons to better understand solar energy. The knowledge gained from those experiments is being translated to solar projects across The Commons.

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Courtney Hug
Farm-To-Child: A Pilot Program

On July 13, 2018 ten preschool aged children and four care providers visited Sweet Water Foundation for the launch of a pilot food program called Chicago Fresh, a farm-to-child initiative with Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion. The initiative seeks to increase access to and understanding of healthy produce to early child care educators and in-home providers.

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Courtney Hug
Water and Art

Sweet Water Foundation practices Regenerative Neighborhood Development - a radically reconstructive and holistic model of economic development that transforms disinvested spaces into productive and sustainable spaces of healing, intergenerational connections, and beauty. A critical, yet often overlooked component of SWF’s practice is water. SWF has creatively and intentionally called the issue of water to attention as it works towards neighborhood transformation.

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Courtney Hug
Thank You 2018 Summer Interns!

This past summer, Sweet Water Foundation welcomed a host of summer interns both new and returning, from high schools and colleges across the country. The Summer 2018 intern cohort of 9 worked together to build, create, and grow.

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Courtney Hug
Radical [Re]Constructions: Farm-To-Table For All

On Saturday, July 14, a group of people invested in the stability and prosperity of the community gathered at Sweet Water Foundation for a discussion about work. What does it mean to work? What are the realities workers must confront? Most importantly, how does labor intersect with other aspects of life such as housing, wellbeing, and wellness?

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Courtney Hug
Sweet Water Featured at The Taste of Chicago

Every summer since 1980, thousands of people flock to the City of Chicago for five days of mouthwatering food, music, and family activities at the Taste of Chicago.  This year, Sweet Water Foundation's Executive Director, Emmanuel Pratt, was one of four artists selected to bring their work to life at The Taste.

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Courtney Hug
Becoming Citizen Scientists at The Commons

Whether you are five or well into your fifties, there is a childlike marvel in watching a butterfly unfurl its wings and take off across open skies; or in watching a tomato plant grow, slowly at first, and then all at once. Earlier this year, Sweet Water Foundation and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum embarked on a journey to keep this wonder alive. Working Through S.C.A.L.E (Sustainable Collaboration Across Living Ecologies) exists at the intersection of life and science.

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Courtney Hug
Humans of Sweet Water...Meet Kim Sherobbi

Kim Sherobbi is a native “Detroiter” who lives in the same house she grew up in. She is on the Board of Directors of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center Sweet Water Foundation’s relationship with Kim is one of many that demonstrate the intersection and similarities between people and communities across the nation. We are excited to highlight Kim’s work as we collectively work towards tackling this country’s most pressing systemic problems.

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Courtney Hug
First Annual Juneteenth @ the Commons!

On June 16, 2018, Sweet Water Foundation hosted the First Annual Juneteenth Celebration @ the Commons. More than 400 people gathered at Sweet Water Foundation’s Perry Ave Commons to take part in an event that was profound, inspirational, transformative, and  grounded in community and history.

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Jia Li Pratt