Notes from the Rooftop Garden: SUST Major Mike Miller Reports on His Summer Internship at Uncommon Ground

This guest post is from Roosevelt University Sustainability Studies major Mike Miller, who worked as an intern this summer at the noted Chicago restaurant, Uncommon Ground, which specializes in sustainable practices and home of the nation’s first rooftop farm. This is the third installment of periodic blogs this summer from Mike on his internship experiences.

Miller and carrotsAs I sit on the campus of Michigan State in East Lansing Michigan my mind begins to wander as I recount my college experiences and the opportunities that have ensued since my decision to pursue a degree from Roosevelt.  As I look at the young faces wandering around the campus, I can’t help but wonder if these individuals will take advantage of the college community that exists if they are willing to invest a bit of their time.  If they do take advantage of the network that is in place for them, then they too may be sitting in a coffee shop a couple years down the road reflecting in the same manner I am right now.

If I were to approach them to wax poetic about education and extracurricular activity — though I’m not going to for the sake of not appearing insane — I would tell them to take advantage of every chance they get to further their education outside of the normal constraints of higher education.  In short I would inform them that college is more than beer and classes that consume too much time; it’s about taking advantage of your freedom to explore new avenues of knowledge and have fun doing it.

I would be remiss if I had not followed the advice that I would give these young faces on campus.   I decided upon arriving on Roosevelt’s campus that I would explore the things that I was interested in.  This of course lead to situations that were a bit unsettling and out of my comfort zone at first, but things quickly got much better and very exciting.  One of the experience that I was able to participate in was at the Uncommon Ground in the Edgewater neighborhood.

Because it has been awhile since my last post, let me bring you up to speed on what I’ve been working on this summer in Chicago. The Uncommon Ground is a restaurant with two locations in Wrigleyville and Edgewater.  Both locations grow some of their own produce used to make the delicious entrees they serve.  Over the course of this summer (From May 16 thru August 15) I was able to serve as one of seven interns that worked on the roof top garden at the Edgewater location.  I must make it clear right off the bat:  I wouldn’t trade my experience at the Uncommon Ground for anything in the world.  If you have an opportunity to do an internship (paid or unpaid) do it; it will pay off!  This internship gave me the chance to learn new things and to meet some pretty awesome people from all different walks of life.

** Another side note.  If you are interested in urban agriculture I would suggest obtaining a position at the Uncommon Ground next year!  Watch their website for listings.  Its not a paid position but they do compensate with a monthly food stipend.  Internships will be posted here on this webpage.

I believe that the best way for me to successfully recount my internship experience is to break my reflections on the summer’s events into a few different posts.  The posts that you will see from me from here forward will be on the following topics.

  • The bees
  • Hops
  • Interworkings of the Uncommon Ground as it pertains to urban agriculture
  • Overall analysis of my experience

By writing posts in this fashion it will allow me to go a bit more in-depth and inform you about the things I have become passionate about.  This format will also keep me from rambling on and on.

“Bee” sure to check back in a couple of days!

Mike Miller editedMike Miller, a senior SUST major at Roosevelt, is working during the summer of 2013 as an intern at the noted Chicago restaurant, Uncommon Ground, which specializes in sustainable practices and home of the nation’s first rooftop farm. He is contributing periodic blogs this summer recounting the work he’s performing during his internship.

Mike Miller
22 August 2013, Chicago IL

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