Chicago, we have liftoff.

Midwest Roof-to-Table Launch Event ||  photo by Lauren Mandel

Midwest Roof-to-Table Launch Event || photo by Lauren Mandel

Uncommon Ground's certified-organic rooftop farm ||  photo by Lauren Mandel

Uncommon Ground’s certified-organic rooftop farm || photo by Lauren Mandel

On August 20 Chicago’s urban farmers, rooftop trendsetters, and general public gathered on the roof of Uncommon Ground for the Midwest Roof-to-Table Launch Event.  Eager, dirt-stained hands paged through EAT UP – the first full-length book about rooftop agriculture – amidst bountiful raised beds brimming with dark green kale and radiant tomatoes.

The setting was perfect.  For the first time I could show people the essence of the rooftop agriculture movement experientially through sound and smell and taste.  This event did not require a lengthy monologue illustrating the benefits and practicalities of rooftop farming.  One step on the roof and everyone understood.  They were sold.

Excited EAT UP readers ||  photo by Paula Mandel

Excited EAT UP readers || photo by Paula Mandel

Roof-to-Table Photography Exhibition ||  photo by Lauren Mandel

Roof-to-Table Photography Exhibition || photo by Lauren Mandel

Down below in the restaurant colorful photographs of rooftop farms and vegetable gardens from nine North American cities lined the walls.  These images, most of which appear in EAT UP, convey the vibrancy of the rooftop agriculture movement to Uncommon Ground’s 10,000 monthly guests as they dine on rooftop cuisine, sip on seasonal beverages, and listen to live music.  The travelling exhibition hung in Philly for three months, and will remain in it’s current Chicago location through September 15.  The photos are for sale and available for additional venues.  Copies of EAT UP are also available for purchase at Uncommon Ground, as well as your local bookstore.

Thank you to everyone who climbed up to the roof and made the Midwest Roof-to-Table Launch Event such a success!  Click here to view a Picasa album of the launch event and photo exhibition.

Celebrating into the night ||  photo by Lauren Mandel

Celebrating into the night || photo by Lauren Mandel

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