The 7-acre Green Era Urban Farm will grow 125+ varieties of produce per year, train young farmers, support new food businesses and entrepreneurs, and ultimately build financial security and collective power for historically under-resourced communities.
Chicago is in the midst of a hunger crisis, with more than half a million Cook County residents experiencing food insecurity. Auburn Gresham has one of the highest food insecurity rates in all of Chicago. The farm will provide ongoing benefits to neighboring residents by producing farm-fresh and culturally-responsive food year-round. The Green Era Campus farm is expected to grow:
A state-of-the-art greenhouse will be used for controlled-environment growing and can facilitate year-round vertical production, hydroponics, and other growing operations. In addition to providing fresh produce, the greenhouse will create space for commercial food production, local food business incubation, agricultural training, and workforce development. Our partner, Urban Growers Collective, will use this facility to provide additional training for program participants, equipping them with skills in high-tech growing.
Compost is the forgotten link in our food chain. In Chicago, where much of the soil is contaminated and toxic, there is an inadequate supply of clean, healthy soil for use by local urban growers and farmers. The large volumes of nutrient-rich compost produced by Green Era’s process can fill this void. The compost used to grow the produce on the farm will come straight from the Campus’s own anaerobic digester, which turns biodegradable food waste into nutrient-dense organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. In this way, we’re closing the loop between food waste and food production.
Urban Growers Collective’s 7 acre-on site farm will use permaculture methods in farming operations. These farming operations will support local environment and biodiversity by creating spaces for rest and vital food sources for pollinators, promoting biodiversity and building Chicago’s network of green spaces on the South Side.
After 25 years in the advertising industry, Terrence discovered his passion for agriculture and graduated from our Farmers for Chicago incubator program with three years of on-the-ground training. In addition to receiving training from Urban Growers Collective, Terrence sold and distributed his own produce through our CSA boxes. He has leveraged his skills and experience to start Urban Eden Farm and become a purveyor of quality greens and herbs to local grocers, restaurants, and consumers. To grow his business, he needs resources to scale up his operations in order to access larger distribution channels, including wholesale procurement. Farmers like Terrence will directly benefit from the additional space, partners, and resources of the Green Era Campus.