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A grande scale doc project chronicling the endeavors of people around the globe who are striving to obtain our sustainable future. Read more

Chicago, IL Documentary
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pledged of $11,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on August 12, 2011.

A grande scale doc project chronicling the endeavors of people around the globe who are striving to obtain our sustainable future.

Chicago, IL Documentary
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About this project

                                               WE NEED YOURS!


This past Sunday we hosted a very successful fundraiser at the New Chicago Brewing Company located at The Plant. We generated over $2,000 towards our film, bringing us ever so closer to our goal. Click the link below to check out some pictures from the evening's festivities.

                                      Kickstarter Fundraiser Party Pics    


Our first Episode of Redefining Roots has launched!  Please have a look to see where we intend to go with this project!


Hello dear friends,

To avoid any confusion we would like everyone to know that this
fundraising effort is for our ongoing documentary project and web
series entitled, "A Sustainable Reality: Redefining Roots" which
focuses on the facility known as "The Plant."  These pledges will not
be going to the facility itself.  The link for direct donations to
Plant Chicago is located at the bottom of this page.  We do however
highly encourage you to make contributions to our on going film
project here, and to pass the word along.  Our ideal is to exceed our
$11,000 goal, and direct those extra funds back to The Plant, because
without them none of this would be possible.  

Thank you and welcome to
the earliest stages of our very ambitious collective dream.

Today we are putting the power in your hands to help redefine, rejuvenate, and revitalize our means of food production and sustainability.

By merely reading this description you are already progressing forward in the best direction possible.

We need your contributions now more than ever for three main reasons:

1) More Gear:  

Proper film equipment unfortunately does not come cheap, and we still have a large shopping list.  Some of the items we hope to purchase are a Canon 5D DSLR camera, lenses, wireless microphones, tripods, mounts, and compact flash cards. 

2) Storage! Storage! Storage! 

Over the past month alone we have amassed over 1 Terabyte of footage.  To describe this more accurately for our low-tech friends, this means we have shot a ton of material already.  Due to the fact we hope to continue filming as a large ongoing project we will need plenty of hard drives to store all of the footage we shoot.  Also, as we set up our new websites we will need plenty of storage to house our internal servers.

3) Travel Expenses:

As we mention in the video we hope to take this project much further than just Chicago and the Mid-West.  It is our dream to set out across the United States and potentially the world.  We aspire to document and unite various individual and community grow projects.  Our mission through this project is to create a hub where all of these small grassroots efforts can connect and feed off of one another.  By doing this on an individual level through personal donations we can avoid being overtaken by any sort of corporate agenda.  Certainly this can't happen over night, but through your generous donations we can acquire the initial capital we need to make this all the more possible.

Everything about this moment tells us this is possible, and together we will make it happen!  It may not be easy at first, but we are more than willing to take on the test.

The challenge set before us is this: My small crew and I have begun documenting the transformation of the former Peer Foods packing facility located on the south side of Chicago into what is rapidly becoming a completely self-sustainable non-waste facility, fish hatchery, vertical garden, aquaponics farm, and microbrewery. 

This exponentially growing urban haven is known as “The Plant.” 

Plant Chicago

The director of this facility,  John Edel is re-shaping the model of urban sustainability by pioneering a new form of urban renewal. John has found the means to take old abandoned and decaying buildings, and reshape them into what has become a teaming community of high energy individuals set on changing the way we, as a collective, operate and grow on this planet. 

John’s aspirations have successfully manifested themselves through his Chicago sustainable manufacturing center known affectionately as Bubbly Dynamics.  

Bubbly Dynamics

Through the renovation and re-use of existing buildings, John hopes to revitalize the health of our cities. 

It is with this kind of motivation that we must allow ourselves to be inspired by how possible this change can be. This transformation is already happening all around us, making a sustainable reality more possible now than it ever has been previously. By utilizing modern technology we hope to offer one of the first intimate glimpses into the way all of us can combine our efforts to redefine our roots. By starting at the community level and branching outwards we will broadcast this progress through an ongoing series of video blogs, which ideally will help connect various spirited individuals.  Your inspiration will in turn inspire others towards taking an active role in the future of their neighborhoods, and our planet.

Through the help of a series of collaborators we have been filming the evolutionary process taking place at The Plant.  Already we have amassed an extensive collection of footage, photos, community connections, and friendships.

We intend to report on the progress of this transformation via a series of webisodes.  Through these videos we intend to show the retrofitting process, certain trial and error experiments as volunteers at The Plant pioneer new ways of urban agriculture, interviews with individual business owners who will operate within The Plant, and a collection of DIY tutorials to show people how they can implement some of the methods being used, and in turn apply these techniques at home.

In addition to our focus on The Plant we will also be reporting on a multitude of other community projects to help connect people to the idea that this is possible anywhere. We want to make it very clear that The Plant is just a tiny example of what can blossom from this kind of immeasurable motivation.

Some other local ventures we will be highlighting upon are Green and Gills LLC. led by David Ellis. 

Green & Gills

Also City Micro Farms, LLC. led by Paul Hardej, Paul Suder, Alan Rose, and Myles Harston.

Harvested Here

We also hope to promote the share and share alike mentality. The rules are simple. You want to learn something new? Get your hands dirty? Build something? Perhaps you don't know where to start. Well, through this project we will be opening the doors to those who would like to join us and learn. By volunteering towards this effort you will gain strengthened knowledge, life skills, new friends, and maybe even a green thumb!

Over the next couple of years we will compile this footage
into a feature length documentary in which we will explore the history of
various grass roots movements, as well as branching out to show how people are making this change not only in our surrounding neighborhoods, but globally. 

We want you to be a part of this project as much as we want to produce it. We are not set out to profit from this venture. We are here simply here to find something to be proud of and help promote a life style change that will add to everyone's happiness.  Any profits we do earn will simply feed back into this project and the community supporting it.

In the weeks leading up to this launch we have received a multitude of positive feedback from what we have already filmed, and now is the time where we are finally making our efforts public! 

With your help we can promote and fund this project!

As the director of this adventure I am pleased to say we would be honored to have you help us in this quest by any means possible. Even if you are unable to make a monetary donation, you can help us immensely by sharing this modern day success story with your friends and family. 

*** We highly encourage everyone to share this Kickstarter link! ***

If you are from the Chicagoland area, we invite you to please come down to The Plant and collaborate with our volunteer efforts. If you are located elsewhere take interest in your community by promoting small scale, or extravagant ideas of your own!

I work a day job just like the majority of us to make ends meet. However, I am sure as many of you know, a simple paycheck doesn't provide you happiness. I know already by being involved in this project I have something to wake up to every day and be happy about.

I can say with the utmost sincerity that all of us behind this project want to share this delight with you as well.

Thank you so very much!


Here is a very exciting Chicago Tribune news article highlighting some of our collaborating Aquaponic farmers who are taking root in our local city neighborhoods. 

Aquaponic Farms Taking Root in Chicago


*Please be mindful of the fact you are donating to our documentary project that will chronicle the transformation of The Plant Chicago, not to The Plant itself. Non-exempt donations can be made to The Plant Chicago directly by visiting their website:

The Plant Chicago Donations



Here's who's talking about about us on the web:

Director Michael Silberman on Outside the Loop Radio:

Outside the Loop Radio: Episode #250

Episode #250 Podcast


Our first Newsletter!

A Sustainable Reality: Redefining Roots official project newsletter




The Sustainable Reality Team


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    10 backers

    We will read your name aloud as a personal thank you on one of our webisodes.

  • You selected
    Pledge $11 or more

    45 backers

    A personal thank you, & a High Quality digital download of the finished documentary.

  • You selected
    Pledge $22 or more

    14 backers

    Previous rewards, plus behind the scenes footage from the making of our web series, and early access to exclusive content.

  • You selected
    Pledge $33 or more

    5 backers

    Previous rewards & an official "The Plant Chicago" patch.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    16 backers

    Previous rewards & an individually screen printed "A Sustainable Reality" T-shirt made with earth safe inks.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    9 backers

    Previous rewards, a special thanks in the finished doc, a unique DVD copy & a plant in our gardens dedicated in your honor.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    Previous rewards, host one of our webisodes, and an invitation to a secret special event.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    A feast prepared in your honor, Executive producer credit, and all previous rewards.

Funding period

- (66 days)