SWF Collaborative Innovations Network (CoINs):
The focus of our work (both academic and in practice) in cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit has been to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the experiences, challenges, obstacles, and opportunities of urban agricultural practitioners, city planners, city residents, city officials, designers, and politicians alike concerning the implications of urban agriculture on traditional approaches to city planning and development. Our methodology has and continues to include intensive participant-observation supplemented by series of open-ended interviews including our team members (self-reflectively) as active participants in the discussion.
As such, our work is grounded via praxis (the balance of theory and practice) and learning by doing (aka heuristic). Such is the basis of what co-founders James Godsil and Emmanuel Pratt have coined an Asset-Based Chaordic (balance of chaos and order) Development sequential model whereby our team members operates as actors/active participants in a series of small-scaled sequential experiments translating from one context to the next.
As such, at Sweet Water Foundation, our work is about a shared and lived experience whereby multiple voices and perspectives are invited to participate in the circle of conversation and encouraged to share more information and their lessons in order to inform the pathway towards best practice. The process encourages the widening of circles of conversation over time which then enhances the flow of information sharing and establishes a sustainable pattern of communicative action.