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JULY 19: 8:15pm - Radical Resilience: The Art and Soul of Place Making, Place Taking-back and Transformation


  • Naomi Davis - Blacks In Green

  • Judith Helfand - Director/Producer, COOKED: Survival by Zip Code

  • Danielle Perry - Growing Home

  • Anton Seals - Grow Greater Englewood


  • Daniel Block - Professor, Chicago State University; Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University

Daniel Block - Professor, Chicago State University; Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University

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Daniel Block is a professor of geography at Chicago State University and an adjunct professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University. He has completed many food access studies, including the Northeastern Illinois Community Food Security Assessment, a large-scale food access study of the six-county Chicago metro area. He is author or co-author of several articles on the regulation and gendering of milk in the early twentieth century, foodways of the urban poor, and the book Chicago: A Food Biography. Much of his work focuses on community-university partnerships for food justice. He is a past president of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, is currently on the board of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, and is a fellow of the Association of American Geographers. He currently is a board member of the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, where he is coordinating an effort to evaluation to effects of the Good Food Purchasing Program in Chicago and Cook County. He currently is embarking on a study comparing the regulation of street food vendors in Chicago and France. He received his PhD from UCLA where he studied the history of milk regulation in Chicago and the US.

Naomi Davis - Founder/President: Blacks In Green (BIG)


Naomi is an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. Her heritage forms the foundation for BIG's course in Grannynomics™, The 8 Principles Green-Village-Building™ and The Sustainable Square Mile™ which Naomi authored and teaches nationally in lectures and workshops.

As founder/president of BIG, Naomi has a shelf of early awards to validate her ideas, but what uniquely qualifies her leadership is her productivity: the consistent application of her broad skills over the 12 year arch of BIG’s history.  She has funded the organization, produced all its marketing materials, written all curricula, recruited and managed all teams, and represented the organization before legislatures, at conferences, in business negotiations, and in community convenings.  BIG’s launch of The Green Living Room marks its transition from a volunteer/grant-driven org to an earned income social mission enterprise.

Naomi has served on Governor-Elect Pritzker’s Transition Team - Powering Illinois’ Future, on Mayor Emanuel’s Transition Team for Energy, Environment, and Public Space, and was selected as a sustainability thought leader at Groupon’s First Annual Chicago Ideas Week. 

She is a respected community advocate for equitable development in the communities surrounding the Obama Presidential Center and has lived and worked in West Woodlawn since 2010. She was born and raised in the walkable-village of St. Albans, NY; is a graduate of Woodmere Academy County Day School, Fisk University, and John Marshall Law School, and via her vision for self-sustaining black communities everywhere, aims to reinvent her childhood “sustainable-square-mile” here in the Age of Climate Crisis.

Danielle Perry - Executive Director: Growing Home

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Danielle Perry is the Executive Director for Growing Home. With Chicago’s first and only high-production, USDA-certified organic farms, Growing Home runs an innovative employment training program that uses urban agriculture to teach job skills for individuals with barriers to employment. The organization strives to provide affordable, healthy food and food education to the Greater Englewood community, where the farm is located.

Prior to joining Growing Home, Danielle was the Director of Communications and Outreach at the City of Chicago’s Office of Inspector General, where she was responsible for engaging communities around the City about police accountability and government efficiency through strategic partnerships and public engagement. Danielle returned to Chicago after serving in the Obama Administration as a Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Agriculture. During her tenure at USDA, she led a National Community and School Garden Initiative in food insecure communities around the country. Prior to her presidential appointment, she was a Congressional Aide for Congressman Chris Van Hollen, where she managed a portfolio that included Social Security, healthcare, and civil rights issues. 

Perry earned a BA in Political Science from Howard University and a JD from Howard University School of Law.  

Anton Seals - Grow Greater Englewood

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L. Anton Seals Jr., a South Shore Chicago native, is a strong cultural voice of his generation. Organizer, educator, community connector, filmmaker and entrepreneur. Anton’s work is dedicated to service and active engagement through the use of media arts, community organizing and empowerment to dismantle oppressive system impacting divested and oppressed communities. Anton started Seals360group to focus on audience community engagement, advocacy/policy and social enterprise development. 

Anton is currently the Lead Steward (Executive Director) of Grow Greater Englewood a social enterprise focusing on building a equitable and resilient local food system that fosters protections of vacant land in divested communities and focuses on connecting those residents with community wealth building opportunities. 

Anton also is on staff at the Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnership at DePaul University(where he is also an Alumni) training and teaching with a cross-section of small and large organizations, using Asset Based community development(ABCD) institute, also located at DePaul University Steans Center. 

Anton is a 2010 German Marshall Fellow, connecting local and global voices to create new systems helping solve complex issues around global resources allocation as it relates to the African diaspora position within the United States and Europe. 

Anton is one of the founders of the Revival Arts Collective, a group of artists committed to using arts and culture as a catalyst for community redevelopment.