When you think of Chicago, what comes to mind? Skyscrapers, taxis, and... pigs? It's easy to forgot that this major metropolitan city happens to be located in Illinois - a state known for its agricultural prowess. NPR's Scott Simon brings us to the very intersection of urban and rural: 111th Street and Pulaski Boulevard. It's the city block that abuts Chicago's High School for Agricultural Sciences' 72-acre working farm.
Simon's portrait of this public high school overflows with great sound. As your ears perk to buses and trucks whooshing by, slowly this weird, slobbery chomp, chomp, chomp comes into focus. It's Lucy the 350 pound pig, of course. She makes way for a diverse group of students genuinely enthused about farming - whether it's gossiping about a skinny goat or growing basil for the school's own pesto.
What makes this piece really sing is Simon's writing. It's clean, sharp, and frankly enviable. He captures simple, telling moments that make Chicago's "Ag High" a living, breathing place, not just a postcard or politician's cliche. Plus, he makes that pesto sound really, really good.
Photo via flickr by: Johnmuk