Through its Steering Committee, Working Groups and general member participation, AUA organizes its activities around Advocacy, Connections, Resources and Special Projects as follows:
The Advocacy Working Group will actively promote policies and programs that support urban agriculture by:
- Building direct relationships with Council members, city staff, and other decision-makers, and educating them about urban agriculture’s opportunities, needs, systems, and practices.
- Advocating for city code changes and guidelines that will optimize urban agriculture practice, and integration of urban agriculture into city and community development plans.
- Developing statements about systems, methods, and practices for AUA to recommend collectively.
- Coordinating opportunities for more people to see and experience the potential of urban agriculture in Chicago’s food system and economy.
- Developing partnerships with other organizations to work on regional, statewide and national initiatives that impact agriculture in the Chicago area.
The Connections Working Group will work to increase the membership of Advocates for Urban Agriculture by:
- Recruiting new members
- Identifying and pursuing opportunities to promote AUA
- Planning quarterly AUA quarterly gatherings, AUA events, and AUA presence at other events
- Strengthening relationships among AUA and related organizations
- Reaching out to communities that are not currently connected with AUA
The Connections Working Group will provide a forum for exchange among individuals who already or could potentially support urban agriculture. Connections take place in the form of quarterly gatherings, community events, partnership with related organizations, and online exchange of information through the AUA listserv.
Although most meetings and events are in the City of Chicago, anyone involved or interested in urban agriculture is welcome to be an advocate, wherever they reside. Knowledge can and should be exchanged on the listserv regardless of the geographical area – as a way to support other areas and strengthen urban agriculture in Chicago.
The Resources Working Group will expand AUA’s print and online resources to achieve a regularly updated Chicago urban agriculture clearinghouse and communications center that features:
- An Urban Agriculture Resource Guide that includes educational resources, how-to guides, research on urban agriculture/local food systems/food security issues, and public and private resources that provide material, financial, and human resources for urban agriculture projects
- A comprehensive directory and associated online map of active urban agriculture sites with relevant operation and contact information
- A weekly updated website that features upcoming events, job and volunteer opportunities, and a blog, in addition to the resources listed above
Special Projects Working Groups will work on projects that fall outside of the normal scope of work undertaken by the other committees. Examples of Special Project work would include:
- Writing gardening curricula for school children, youth and adults
- Creation of a Chicago Urban Ag handbook for practitioners
- Compilation of Chicago Urban Agriculture site photos and program materials
- Creating urban ag presentation/education materials for Chicago City Council members
Look for announcements on the website and our Google Group about new Special Projects Working Groups and get in touch with the designated contact person if you’re interested!