Our Farms

We currently operate eight farms over eleven acres of land. These farms are production-oriented but also offer opportunities for staff-led education, training, leadership development, and food distribution. Each farm utilizes organic growing methods, intensive growing practices, and year-round production strategies to best maximize growing space.

We grow a variety of crops so that our farm stands, Collective Supported Agriculture shares, and the Fresh Moves Mobile Market are all stocked with a beautiful selection of fresh produce. In addition to fruits and vegetables, we grow culinary and medicinal herbs, edible flowers, and a wide array of ornamental plants for neighborhood beautification. We also raise goats, chickens, and honey bees.

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South Chicago

Clara Schaffer Park, located at 9000 S Green Bay Avenue, was established in 2015 to serve the South Chicago neighborhood. This 14-acre site is designed to engage residents in both food and fitness activities. The park has walking trails along with an urban farm and community garden managed by Urban Growers Collective.

Our South Chicago farm serves four primary functions: providing food, training, mentoring, and land access. Comprised of seven acres of growing space, South Chicago is our largest farm and produces the bulk of our harvests. UGC runs a variety of programming at our South Chicago farm, including Farmer IncubationYouth Corps, community gardens, workshops, farm stands, community events, and volunteer opportunities.

Grant Park

Established in 2005, Grant Park ‘Art on the Farm’ is located on the northwest corner of Congress Parkway and Columbus Boulevard, kitty-corner to Buckingham Fountain. Right in downtown Chicago, this half-acre farm is a partnership with the Chicago Park District.

This “landscaped” farm is used to teach folks how to grow an abundance of crops in a beautiful way and to explore the intersections of art, creativity, food, and farming. Here, we grow vegetables, culinary herbs, and edible flowers. These crops are planted in a way that demonstrates gardens can be both productive and pretty.

Our Youth Corps ambassadors are trained at this site to grow food and to give free tours to the thousands of people who walk past this site annually.

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Roosevelt Square

Established in 2011, this farm is located at the intersection of Washburne and Loomis Street in the heart of Chicago Housing Authority’s Abla and Roosevelt Square homes.

This one-acre urban farm is run by youth who live in the neighborhood. These Youth Corps ambassadors plan, prep, plant, grow, harvest, and sell all of the produce at this site as part of their job training program. The Roosevelt Square Youth Farm produces a variety of crops based on demand from neighbors. With the assistance of the senior home next door to the farm, teens decide what to grow and sell their produce at a weekly on-site farm stand during the growing season.

This farm is a partnership between Urban Growers Collective, the Chicago Housing Authority, and After School Matters.

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Educare Preschool Farm

Bronzeville is home to this 1/4-acre Head-Start preschool garden. Each preschool classroom has its own garden plot that is planned, planted, cared for, and harvested by the children. Students engage in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities throughout the growing season to help them engage with nature and the food they are growing.

Urban Growers Collective also tends a larger garden at this site, which produces a large variety of crops, including vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. The produce harvested from the classrooms’ plots and UGC’s garden is shared with the students’ families.

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Jackson Park

Located in Hyde Park, the Jackson Park Community Garden is a place where neighbors can come together to grow good, safe food on the South Side. Over 20 community gardeners steward this land preserved by the Chicago Park District. The garden was established in 2006 and is located at the near the intersection of Stoney Island and Marquette Avenue.

UGC welcomes new and returning community gardeners to this site each season. Community garden plots are 10 ft x 10 ft. LINK recipients and those who demonstrate a financial need receive a free plot.

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Schulze & Burch Bakery

This farm is a partnership with Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co located in Bridgeport. This site allows our Youth Corps participants in the Bridgeport Program — a program that serves teens in Bridgeport, Back of the Yards, and Little Village — opportunities for micro-enterprise development.

At this site, teens grow a variety of produce, herbs, and edible flowers. Harvests are dried, then used to make teas, facial scrubs, seed saving packets, and more. The Youth Corps participants create and execute marketing plans to sell these value-added products, which are available for purchase through Urban Growers Collective.

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Altgeld Gardens

A Chicago Housing Authority project located in Altgeld, this 2-acre farm is our bee sanctuary used to emphasize the importance of native pollinators. We grow an assortment of Illinois native flowers to provide pollen for the bees and other pollinators that visit our garden.

Are you a beekeeper looking for a space to set up your hives? We may have room for you at our Altgeld Farm! Contact us at info@urbangrowerscollective.org or (773) 376-8882.

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Commonweath Edison

This Com-Ed farm located in Bridgeport consists of 1/8 acre that demonstrates how to integrate vegetables, berries, and edible flowers in to traditional home and business landscapes with the goal of teaching community members and local businesses how easy it is to grow food in a small space.

Our Youth Corps ambassadors create dried goods, such as teas, from this garden.

Our South Chicago farm includes a solar-powered Growing Dome from Growing Spaces. This multipurpose structure allows us to extend our growing season, increase production, propagate herb and vegetable starters early in the year, host workshops and trainings during the colder months, and provide additional growing space during the regular growing season.

Soil & Compost

We do not use existing soil for any of our farming projects and do not recommend growing in Chicago soil to any of our workshop or job training participants. We go in with the assumption that soil is highly contaminated and that growers must either use a barrier below new soil or must grow in containers with new soil. The risk of growing in toxic soil is too great in Chicago and would negatively impact the health of the communities we are trying to protect.

Lead is the number one contaminant in Chicago soils. The Educare, South Chicago, and Roosevelt Square sites all had housing at one point in time. Jackson Park has been a park for years, but part of the World’s Fair was built where the Jackson Park Farm is located. We are sure that these sites are contaminated with lead.

Depending on the toxicity of the soil, we will put a clay cap down, 3 feet of wood chips, and then create growing beds with compost that we either generate on site or buy from a mushroom composter located outside of the city. Our crops are only grown in soil that is created at or brought onto our farms.

Questions?

Reach out at info@urbangrowerscollective.org or (773) 376-8882.