The Community Education Center (CEC) is an indoor space on the Green Era Campus to encourage learning, growth, collaboration, and community. It will include a teaching kitchen, classrooms, and operational space for both Green Era and Urban Growers Collective.
CEC will be home to learning opportunities across a variety of topics led by community practitioners to educate and engage participants both virtually and in-person. We will host workshops and trainings on food waste, renewable energy, farm production, and more.
The CEC will be home to Green Era and Urban Growers Collective operations on campus, as well as UGC’s South Side operations. The building will house our offices, meeting space, training space, and related facilities.
Food waste is the largest solid waste stream still going to landfills; Chicago alone creates 451,500 tons per year. Food waste in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas leading to climate disaster. Using food waste sourced from mission-aligned partnerships with local municipal agencies, local restaurants, food companies and manufacturers, and residents, we can begin to divert some of this food waste away from the landfills and give it a second life. The large volumes of organic, nutrient-rich compost produced by Green Era’s process will be provided at low-cost to farmers throughout the city and used on our seven-acre urban farm, which is expected to grow 26,000+ pounds of food annually.
Within the research components of the Campus, Urban Growers Collective will include laboratory space for students, community members, and researchers to explore storm water management and climate change mitigation solutions. We will incorporate practical applications of wetland management using indigenous plants grown with innovative methods, incorporating Campus digestate for fertility as a non-petroleum alternative.