Long before urban farming or community agriculture was a trending topic, City Farm Chicago  was transforming vacant city lots into productive farmland and affecting the lives of Chicagoans, one green space at a time. City Farm’s roots are with the Resource Center, a not-for-profit environmental organization that strives to improve quality of life by finding new purpose for overlooked resources.

City Farm and the Resource Center believe that when we farm, cities grow. Here’s a look at what they’re growing in Chicago: 

Green Space: City Farm transforms fallow, vacant city land into fertile, productive farmland. Where some see crumbing cement, they simply see the opportunity for land reuse and community beautification that leads to healthier agriculture and eating. 

Fresh Produce: The benefits are tangible. Instead of overgrown weeds, they’re able to create a viable farm that produces 20,000 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, arugula, beets, carrots, kale, collards, herbs and more per acre. 

And the culinary community has taken note. Chicago’s chefs have an international reputation for promoting the glory of in-season, locally-sourced produce. Top chefs from Rick Bayless to Grant Achatz purchase direct from City Farm.  

Jobs: City Farm aims to find use of waste and resources – and that re-use creates jobs and education opportunities for the surrounding community. There are 3-4 full-time jobs created per acre and seasonal work as well. They join people together by growing in their own backyards.  

Hope: For every parcel of land farmed, City Farm seals ‘old’ Chicago off, and grows in something fresh. It’s an efficient, cost-effective way that allows productivity and portability. When farmed land becomes valuable for other purposes, they simply transport all of their growing material: compost, hoop houses, chicken coop, beehives and all, to the next location.

Want to get involved supporting the good work of City Farm Chicago and the Resource Center? Do so here. 

 

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