Our Impact

Urban Growers Collective’s work aims to address the inequities and structural racism that exist in the food system and in communities of color. Research suggests that urban agriculture can produce a range of social, health and economic outcomes for communities. We believe engaging in this work will ultimately lead to healing trauma on many levels and improving the economic vitality and overall health of communities in Chicago.

Our approach is to build economic opportunity for urban farmers, mitigate food insecurity, and increase access to high quality, affordable, and nutritionally-dense food on Chicago’s South and West Sides. As a Black- and women-led organization, healing through food justice is integral to our mission and in our approach to creating a market for urban growers, providing good food for the communities we serve, and throughout all of our programming.

JOB TRAINING & EDUCATION

 

UGC’s goal is to help folks grow in their knowledge and understanding of healthy produce, urban agriculture, and our local food system. We provide hands-on learning opportunities to youth and adults to develop tangible skills that create a strong foundation for school, work, and life.

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Teen Job Training

Through our Youth Corps program, teens learn how to grow, market, and sell produce, herbs, and edible flowers through a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum.

Adult Job Training

We provide men who are at high risk for gun violence with hands-on job training in landscaping, flower cultivation, and carpentry.

Farmer Incubation

Incubator Farmers are equipped with technical assistance, workshops, and land to develop their own agri-businesses. This increases access to entrepreneurial and economic opportunities for Black and Brown growers who have historically been excluded from the farming industry.

FOOD ACCESS

 

Urban Growers Collective works to increase access to fresh, healthy, and culturally-affirming food in communities of color. Over half a million people experience food insecurity in Chicago with a disproportionate amount of those people residing on the South and West Sides. According to an article published by Chicago magazine in March 2018, the South Side is home to the city’s 35 worst communities for life expectancy, and 75% of decreased life expectancies are due to health-related factors such as diabetes or cancer.

The Fresh Moves Mobile Market

Our Fresh Moves Mobile Market is a bus that has been converted into a mobile farmers’ market. The “produce aisle on wheels” works toward closing the ‘food access gap’ by bringing produce to schools and community and health centers — places that folks already frequent — to help customers easily access nutritious produce and pantry staples.

Covid-19 Emergency Food Relief

Working alongside our Squad, we have grown and distributed nutrient-dense produce as well as coordinated and delivered culturally-affirming meals to communities most in need. Over one million pounds of food has been donated since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Farmers’ Markets & Farm Stands

During our growing season, UGC participates in farmers’ markets and hosts weekly farm stands at two of our farms on Chicago’s South Side. These markets provide fresh, locally grown produce to communities that have historically lacked access.

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

 

Our farms create safe communal spaces that allow for relationship building, skill development, and collective healing. We engage folks throughout Chicago by providing various opportunities to learn, grow, and come together.

Community Garden Plots

UGC offers neighbors affordable community garden plots where folks can safely grow produce for themselves and their families.

Volunteer Opportunities

UGC provides volunteer opportunities for individuals, community groups, and schools to learn where food comes from and develop a deeper connection with the land.

Workshops

UGC holds classes to educate Chicagoans on a variety of topics, focusing especially on urban growing techniques, social justice, and healing.

Questions?

Contact us at info@urbangrowerscollective.org or (773) 376-8882.