Investigating Organics at Uncommon Ground

Hello, I’m a Freshman at GCE Lab School. Recently, our class traveled to Uncommon Ground at their Devon St. location to see the first certified organic brewery in Illinois, and the first certified organic rooftop farm in the U.S.! Visiting Uncommon Ground was a unique and enlightening adventure; I personally had never seen an actual rooftop garden, let alone one that is certified organic! I now know a lot more about the regulations of being a company who is certified organic, and how difficult it is to maintain and sustain an organic organization.

We, the Freshmen, in the Food For Thought class have been examining the question of whether GMOs are truly beneficial to humans and the environment, and what ‘organic’ means and why it is in higher demand. In our second External Investigation of our Humanities course, we are investigating the industrialization of food and the sustainability of our current ideals for food. As a part of our investigation, we have been watching the documentaries Food Inc and reading In Defense of Food by Micheal Pollan. We took to Uncommon Ground to see what organic means and how Uncommon Ground could sustain itself in this harsh economy full of industrial and cheap food. We spoke to Brandon Kik, a farmer at Uncommon Ground, who gave us a tour of the rooftop and spoke to us about how and why they became the first organic rooftop farm in the U.S.


The purpose of the Field Experience was for us to see what an organic farm and company look like, to see if being an organic company is sustainable, and to learn about why companies put so much effort into becoming organic and how they do so.


We took a tour of the Uncommon Ground rooftop farm and spoke to one of the farmers to get more insight on the whys and hows of becoming a certified organic farm, restaurant, and brewery.

— Reflection & photography by Gimena, Class of 2021

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