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Emanuel Announces Network For Urban Farmers

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 15, 2013 5:45PM

One of Growing Home's existing farms.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the launch of “Farmers for Chicago,” a program that will turn five acres of vacant City-owned land into urban farms over the next three years while providing job training for residents where those farms will be located.

Farm collectives like Growing Power, Angelic Organics, City Farm and, most notably, Growing Home have successful training program where inner city residents learn agricultural skills, with many graduates of their programs later working full-time on their farms, training new candidates. Growing Home has expanded its Wood Street Urban farm in Englewood while Growing Power maintains a farm at 33rd and Iron in Bridgeport.

The city will work with these organizations, Heartland Human Care Services and the Chicago Botanic Garden to train residents with limited work histories. Growing Home’s urban farm expanded to 58th and Honore last year. Heartland Human Care Services is developing a 2-1/2 acre farm in Humboldt Park. Angelic Organics has plans for a farm in Greater Grand Crossing. Twenty-five candidates will be selected for the program. Emanuel said in a statement:

“Once made available, these vacant lots will help stabilize communities by bringing productive activity to areas that need it around food deserts. Farmers for Chicago will give local residents a chance to not only learn how to grow food in their communities, but also build their own food enterprise.”