Our Impact

ROOTED IN GROWING FOOD, WE CULTIVATE NOURISHING ENVIRONMENTS WHICH SUPPORT HEALTH, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, HEALING & CREATIVITY THROUGH URBAN AGRICULTURE.
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.

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

Over 200 teens are employed annually in after school and summer job training opportunities at our urban farms on the South Side of Chicago.

Adult Job Training

40+ unemployed African American and Latin-X men will gain experience in urban agriculture and landscaping through an 18-month job training program in partnership with Heartland Alliance. These men work at our farm sites and will beautify 50 vacant lots in Chicago in 2019 and 2020.

Farmer Incubation

12 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 farmers who have historically been excluded from the agriculture industry.

Urban Growers Collective works to increase access to fresh, healthy, and culturally-affirming food in communities of color, especially on the South and West Sides of Chicago. 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.

Farmers’ Markets & Farm Stands

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.

The Prescription for Health Program

Working in conjunction with Howard Brown Health Center allows us to provide patients with food-related diseases the opportunity to learn which foods best combat their illnesses. Through this program, we provide cooking demonstrations and recipes to help support healthy, healing eating.

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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.