"Slow" Chicagoan Profile / Alison Parker and Alex Needham of Radical Root Organic Farm

What's the start of a good meal? We'd argue, that it all starts with the quality of ingredients that make up the meal on your plate. Lucky for us, we have some skillful farmers and growers who not only share that sentiment, but also call our city home. Take for example, Alison and Alex of Radical Root Organic Farm. Slow Food had a little chat with these good folks. Here's what they had to say about food, family and running a farm. They're all (not surprisingly) very connected.

What would you be doing right now on a typical work day?                                                                                                                                   

Everything from field work to online work. Alex and the crew (and sometimes me and the kids) do a ton of everything. Everyone does lots of wedding, harvesting, managing, collecting eggs, pasturing the chickens, and then accounting, emails... then Alex and I do lots of tag-teaming with the kids : playing and feeding the kids and family, read to kids, put kids to bed, put up the chickens, make sure everything is closed up, and more computer work after that usually! On farm days, we are out there later doing farmstand, and on CSA days, we are out doing CSA pick up at the barn.

What's the best part about your job? The hardest part?                                                                

Best part is the food. Eating, cooking, and growing it for other people to make people healthier.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for Chicago's food system to overcome?              

Eliminating industrial agriculture, and educating people on why it's so bad. Connecting that the cheap food they are getting in stores and restaurants are from factory farms and industrial farming. I think people know that, but maybe don't really think too much about it. Even us sometimes.

What's next for the trendiest food item (all hail kale's successor)?  

Kale will hopefully reign supreme! Long live KALE!                                      

What is your second favorite Chicago food related social media account to follow (aside from Slow Food Chicago of course)?           

Dill Pickle Food Co-Op

What wins - avocado toast or artichoke toast?                                                                       

Artichokes grow here, so I'd say that.

How does your work relate to the Slow Food objectives (good, clean, fair)?

We strive for nutrition and flavor, growing heirlooms, growing organically with trace minerals.

Why Chicago? If not Chicago, where?                                                                                   

Chicago is where my (Alison's) parents and sister live. Alex and I both have lots of friends here. If not Chicago, I'd love to move to a small hippie town... a Eugene, OR or a Burlington, VT.

 Radical Root Organic Farm is located in Libertyville, IL. www.radicalrootfarm.com

Radical Root Organic Farm is located in Libertyville, IL. www.radicalrootfarm.com

Hungry for more? Find out more about Alison, Alex and their farm and family at the links below. We don't know about you, but we're dying to sign up for their CSA (amirite)?!!

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter