Spontaneous Vegetation

Spontaneous Vegetation is the website of Nance Klehm, a radical ecologist, ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, urban forager, grower and teacher. She offers a number of services detailed below:

Seed Archive: housed in Chicago, the seed is loaned for free to those who are committed to growing them, enjoying them and returning some of the next generation of seed back to store at the seed archive. some seed is in smaller quantities and needs to be grown out from year to year to increase its supply.

Urbanforages are two hour informally guided walks through the spontaneous and cultivated vegetation of the urbanscape. Along the walk, we learn to identify plants, hear their botanical histories and stories of their use by cultural use by animals and humans and share antidotes of specific experiences with these plants.

All Urbanforages start with an herbal beverage and end with a simple herbal food shared over discussion of the experiences and questions generated by the walk.

Living kitchen is a series of informal cooking workshops that hopes to reorganize our connection to land, ourselves and our communities through the processing and sharing of local and regional foods. In these workshops we use foods that are locally cultivated, as well as foraged in order to foster exploration of our environs and with our relationship with what’s growing around us.

Zone 23 is an intensive food/soil/ habitat production project, grounded in the food forest model. This small-scale experiment is located on a half-acre, of formally commercially farmed land supports trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennial crops that are edibles, medicinals and soil builders. The food forest is never irrigated; it survives and thrives on annual precipitation.

Neighborhood Orchard is a loosely organized, scattered 3/4 acres of Little Village yards and one satellite site. Some yards are more intensely planted. Others are less so, as most backyards are multifunctional, used for both recreation and numerous informal economy activities — car repair, food preparation, scrap storage, etc. Medicinal and culinary herbs, vegetables and fruit are exchanged between the participants. Tools and skills are readily shared when called upon.

Roof Meadow is a low-cost, handbuilt, non-regulation, yet city-permitted ‘live roof’. Roof Meadow extends insect and human habitat to the roof via plants, a greenhouse and an outdoor sleeping structure. Roof Meadow is approximately 1000’ and was built for a material and paid help cost of under $1500.

Urban Homestead is a chicago residence that is open to working travelers and out-of-towners for stays of a few days up to two weeks. It fills the niche of people who find themselves in Chicago perhaps working on art or research or cultural connections who want to live in an urban immigrant neighborhood in a house that has an ecological emphasis.

Urban Homestead is an ecological living system that requires the energy of others to keep it alive. those who stay must be interested in living in a way that is resourceful in terms of energy and materiality. the economy of urban homestead is an exchange economy. this exchange could be one of money or of services/labor. some examples of services/labor are: gardening, housecleaning, light carpentry, etc.

urban homestead is a private home. stays at urban homestead need to be arranged and agreed upon one month in advance of stay.

The Great Giveback:

phase one – COLLECTION

Collection was conducted for over three months April – July 2008. 1,000 gallons
of human nutrient was collected. Two participants continue to add to the end
of 2009 for a total of 1,500 gallons total.


Aerated bins of nutrient composted in an undisclosed location July 2008 – July 2009

phase three – GUT REHAB #1 & #2

Bin contents were emptied and reconstituted into a collective open-air pile.

phase 4, the last and final phase – THE GREAT GIVEBACK

Hand-sewn, screen printed sacks of the two year composted nite soil were returned
to original participants via bicycle.

The humanure tested negative for all coliforms,

The rest of the collective pile is being used to enrich disturbed city soils.


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Filed under Clean Energy, Compost, Consulting, Cooking, Education for the Public, Environmental Health, Local Food, Medicinal and Wild Food, Restoration, Rooftop and Container Growing, Sustainable Construction, Technical & Resource Assistance, Workshops

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