Amy Hermalik on how Chicago's municipal code affects urban agriculture innovation

City Shuts Down Popular Composting Company That Uses Worms To Repair Soil

“The Chicago Department of Public Health is supportive and encouraging of composting when done the right way. CDPH is also committed to holding bad actors accountable,” Anel Ruiz, spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, said in a statement to Block Club Chicago.

Complaints related to the Anthony Avenue site prompted inspections, where the lack of a permit was noted, along with odors and “conditions that provide rat harborage,” Ruiz said.

“None of these operations met the criteria for garden composting or an on-site organic waste composting operation…. Further, these sites are not properly zoned for commercial composting,” said Ruiz.

Ed Hubbard, who founded Nature’s Little Recyclers in 2012 and runs the business with his son Dale, maintains he was caught completely unaware by the city’s actions.

He knew he lacked the proper permit or zoning — that’s pretty much always been the case for Nature’s Little Recyclers because Chicago’s city code hasn’t caught up with the pace of urban agriculture innovation, said lawyer Amy Hermalik, associate director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago, which provides free legal assistance to low-income and small business entrepreneurs.

Read more at Block Club Chicago