Working under the name the Rhizome Alliance, Eric May, Kevin Kaempf, Deborah Boardman, and Rodger Cooley, are partnering with a mutual desire to support sustainability, create global partnerships, and promote creative work by artists, chefs, urban farmers, and cultural organizations
Deborah Boardman is a painter, installation artist, faculty member at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and founding member of International Network for Urban Agriculture (INUAg). She has worked on numerous collaborative and community based projects. She visited India in 2012 and 2013, where she worked with art students on collaborative projects in Mysore and Bangalore and was an artist in residence at Sanskritti in Delhi and Kriti in Varanasi.
Rodger Cooley for the past 12 years has worked on urban agriculture, food systems, planning and policy issues. He spent 9 years at Heifer International supporting the development of community-based sustainable agriculture projects in Chicago and the Midwest. He helped found urban agriculture and food policy coalitions in Chicago. Rodger has served nationally on the board of the American Community Gardening Association and chaired the Community Food Security Coalition’s Urban Agriculture Committee. Rodger is currently the Executive Director of the International Network for Urban Agriculture (INUAg) and is an adjunct professor in the Landscape Architecture Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
Kevin Kaempf an Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, works in diverse collaborative combinations creating projects, events, and publications. His creative practice values conversation, social spaces, and participatory processes. Kaempf’s projects have included jointly running the experimental community space Mess Hall in Chicago, creating environmental pilot programs in locations throughout the US; and, working with People Powered on the exhibition Manifesto with accompanying workshops. Most recently his collaborative video work has been exhibited in Budapest and Chicago.
Eric May instructor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a Chicago based artist and chef. His practices cross disciplines between visual, performative, and culinary arts. At its core, this range of practices examines ecologies, not only environmental and biological, but also social, focusing in particular on issues surrounding food and its sources. In some works he examines sustainable food sourcing from foraging to re-evaluating potential urban food sources such as invasive species. In other works he focuses on the social issues of how we eat. Specific projects document and celebrate cultural histories and foodways. Other works challenge dominant power structures that serve capital gains over society’s collective health and wellbeing. All of these facets of his work celebrate what and how we eat while addressing prejudices that impair a contemporary way of eating.