Clara Shaffer 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 to grow food for individuals and communities with limited food access. UGC runs a variety of programming at our South Chicago farm, including:
- New Farmer Incubation,
- Youth Corps,
- Community gardens,
- Farm stands,
- Community events, and
- Volunteer opportunities.
Comprised of 7 acres of growing space, South Chicago is Urban Growers Collective’s largest farm and produces the bulk of our harvests. UGC utilizes organic growing methods, intensive growing practices, and year-round production strategies to best maximize growing space. We grow a large variety of crops, including vegetables, fruits, culinary and medicinal herbs, and edible flowers, with a focus on foods that are culturally-relevant to communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides. Produce grown at South Chicago is available seasonally at our weekly on-site farm stand, local farmers’ markets, in our monthly CSA shares, and on the Fresh Moves Mobile Market. We also raise goats, chickens, and honey bees.
We do not use existing soil at any of our farms. Lead is the number one contaminant in Chicago soils, and we know that the South Chicago farm had housing on site at one point in time. 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. Our crops are only grown in soil that is created at or brought onto our farms and layered on top of a three-foot clay and wood chip barrier that covers the site’s existing soil.