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With Lia Rousset

The question, “What does locality mean?” led us to search for the three plants which have been attributed as the source or origin for naming Chicago–Allium Tricoccum, native to the forest areas surrounding what is now Palos Hills, Allium Cernuum, native to the prairie and marsh lands surrounding Lake Michigan, and Allium Canedense, which is an invasive species abundant in both habitats have all been called “the” Chicago. Attempting to trace the shifting use of the name, attribution, site and the availability of these plants, we found a dynamism of place.

Working with the seeds and plants that have been called Chicago, we created seed balls for Department (Store), held a tasting of place for the Feeding Our Bodies Symposium at Jane Addams Hull House and when the latest economic crisis erupted, we held Urbs in Horto sidewalk symposia across the city.

During that moment of financial crisis, we looked on the responses of earlier Chicagoans to debacles of their time. Our city motto, Urbs in Horto, rather than alluding to the grand landscape of the city, stems from a call to action toward a self-sufficient food supply.

“Chicago officially became a city on March 4, 1837 in the Saloon Building. And then the bubble burst. No sooner had Ogden been elected Chicago’s first mayor shortly thereafter than financial panic, already sweeping through the East, hit the new city. Chicago went bankrupt…He urged every citizen caught in the debacle to grow their own gardens and soon the city had its steadfast motto: Urbs in Horto – City in a Garden.” — From Yesterday’s Chicago, Kogan and Kogan

Part of Feeding Our Bodies of Knowledge — Jane Addams Hull House — Chicago, Illinois — 2008
Sullivan Gallery — Chicago, IL — 2008
Sidewalk Symposia: What We Know About Crisis — Sidewalks across Chicago, Illinois — 2007