Everyone deserves a healthy, sustainable, and thriving environment to live in, but communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change, unemployment, and negative health outcomes. Urban Growers Collective is a Black- and women-led nonprofit based in Chicago that grows food to cultivate nourishing environments which support health, economic development, healing, and creativity. We currently operate 8 urban farms on 11 acres of land across Chicago, providing over 18,000 pounds of accessible fresh produce and educational and life-enriching opportunities for 500+ people each year. Now, we’re taking our impactful programming to the next level with the Green Era Campus. In partnership with multiple entities, we are transforming 9 acres of brownfield in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood into a vibrant hub for green energy and jobs, fresh produce, small business incubation, educational programming, and community green space. The Green Era Campus will include a renewable energy facility, urban farm, and community education center, and will serve as Urban Growers Collective’s new headquarters. Through this ambitious project, we are strengthening our mission to dismantle systemic racism, build resilience, and heal communities through the power of food.
Chicago is in the midst of a hunger crisis, with more than half a million Cook County residents experiencing food insecurity. Auburn Gresham has one of the highest food insecurity rates in all of Chicago. The farm will provide ongoing benefits to neighboring residents by producing farm-fresh and culturally-responsive food year-round. The Green Era Campus farm is expected to grow:
A state-of-the-art greenhouse will be used for controlled-environment growing and can facilitate year-round vertical production, hydroponics, and other growing operations. In addition to providing fresh produce, the greenhouse will create space for commercial food production, local food business incubation, agricultural training, and workforce development. Our partner, Urban Growers Collective, will use this facility to provide additional training for program participants, equipping them with skills in high-tech growing.
Compost is the forgotten link in our food chain. In Chicago, where much of the soil is contaminated and toxic, there is an inadequate supply of clean, healthy soil for use by local urban growers and farmers. The large volumes of nutrient-rich compost produced by Green Era’s process can fill this void. The compost used to grow the produce on the farm will come straight from the Campus’s own anaerobic digester, which turns biodegradable food waste into nutrient-dense organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. In this way, we’re closing the loop between food waste and food production.
Urban Growers Collective hopes to break ground for the urban farm and Education Center in 2023. Please help us today with a donation.