Emmanuel Pratt

Emmanuel Pratt has dedicated himself to learning and teaching others about the issues that plague modern cities. A doctoral candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University, he is the Executive Director of The Sweet Water Foundation, which seeks to integrate hands-on sustainable farming practices with interdisciplinary educational programming. The Mycelia Project has put this into practice by turning a deteriorating shoe factory into an aquaponic farm that uses nitrogen waste from tilapia-filled tanks to fertilize vegetables and herbs. He distributes these locally grown products to restaurants in the South Side of Chicago. In addition, The Mycelia Project has introduced a curriculum that educates everyone from kindergartners to graduate students about sustainability, repurposing, and urban renewal to schools across Chicago.

Why we love Emmanuel Pratt:

• Emmanuel brought sustainable farming to a “food desert” in Chicago by converting a deteriorating abandoned shoe factory into a lively and productive aquaponic fish and vegetable farm

• He has expanded his urban farming education initiative to 50 schools through his Sweet Water Foundation, teaching things like fishery management and soil chemistry

• Emmanuel emphasizes action. When describing what to expect at Sweet Water he states: “We’re gonna have a philosophical debate, but you’re probably gonna be doing it while you have a tool in your hand and you’re doing something”