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.

Job Training

UGC’s goal is to build knowledge and an awareness of healthy produce, urban agriculture and the food system. We provide education and employment skills to youth and adults from the community to create a strong foundation for school, work and life.

    • Over 220 teens are employed in after-school and summer job-training opportunities at urban farms located primarily on the South Side of Chicago;
    • 50 unemployed African American and Latin-X men are exposed to 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;
    • 145 head-start preschoolers are engaged weekly in school garden curriculum; and
    • 12 Incubator Farmers are supplied with technical assistance and land to increase access to entrepreneurial and economic opportunities. By building skills and knowledge, we provide pathways to develop agriculture-related businesses.

Food Access

Urban Growers Collective provides the following programs in order to increase healthy food in communities that lack access and to support consumption of culturally appropriate, nutritious produce:

    • The Fresh Moves Mobile Market partners with neighborhood organizations to provide a farmers’ market on wheels to South and West Side residents through the use of converted CTA buses. In 2018, Fresh Moves served its 10,000th customer with fresh produce; and
    • UGC participates in farmers’ markets and on-site farm stands providing fresh, locally grown produce, showcasing how to use and sell fresh produce to communities that lack access.
    • Our Prescription for Health Program with Howard Brown Health Center allows us to provide patients with food-related diseases the opportunity to learn which foods best combat the illness. Through this program, we provide cooking demonstrations and recipes to help support healthy eating.

Community Engagement

Our farms create safe spaces that allow for relationship building, skills development and healing. We engage neighbors and folks throughout Chicago by providing opportunities to get in touch with the soil through:

    • Community garden plots where neighbors can grow produce for themselves and their families;
    • Volunteer opportunities for individuals, community groups and schools to increase awareness of where food comes from; and
    • Workshops to educate Chicagoans on a variety of topics focusing on agricultural growing techniques, social justice and healing. 
Training and educating folks how to grow food and providing communities with access to fresh produce is an inherent part of our mission.
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220

YOUTH WE EMPLOY

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1500

VOLUNTEERS ON THE FARM

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12

NEW INCUBATOR FARMERS GROWING FOOD

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145

PRESCHOOLERS FELL IN LOVE WITH KALE

THOUGHTS FROM OUR TEENS

“Because of this program, I was able to both pay for myself and better myself mentally, physically and socially and I made new friends. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!” - Justin

“Thank you for this great opportunity for me to get a feel of a work environment. This experience will benefit me for the rest of my life. I have learned to work with others, time management and interviewing skills. You have given me life long memories this summer and a little spending money. Thank you for the opportunity ” - Agustin

“I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about farming. I don’t know what I would have done without this program. I am grateful for what I was able to experience. I really improved my speaking, communication and farming skills. I loved coming to the farm and working in the warm sun. I got to meet new people and all this wouldn't have been possible without you. Thanks!” - Karen

Our Goal: Expanding Food Access

Our Goal: Food Literacy Education

Our Goal: Employment For Teens

Rooted in Growing Food, we cultivate nourishing environments which support health, economic development, healing and creativity through urban agriculture.

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