A new hoop greenhouse in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood will provide fresh organic produce and job training to local residents
Growing Home’s newest Urban Farm is in need of another hoophouse to increase growing capacity and create new jobs in the Englewood community.
What we've done
Growing Home’s Englewood urban farms were built on two lots that had been vacant for over thirty years. One of the sites — the Wood Street Urban Farm – now holds 8,400 square feet of covered growing space in three passive solar-heated hoophouses, as well as approximately 3,000 square feet of outside growing space. From a site that was covered with cracked concrete and littered with broken bottles in 2006, Growing Home harvested and sold over 13,000 pounds of USDA Certified Organic produce in 2011.
The current project
Our newest development, the Honore Street Urban Farm, is a one-acre site that is now entering its second season as a productive farm. By the time the site is fully operational, it is expected to triple Growing Home’s vegetable production in Englewood, improving food options in this recognized food desert and expanding Growing Home’s capacity to serve the residents of Englewood through our education and job training programs.
Right now, the site is operating at about 1/3 of its potential, with one hoophouse constructed. Your support in our Kickstarter campaign will allow Growing Home to fill out the site with organic compost and fund the construction of the site’s second and final hoophouse. This expansion will allow Growing Home to build on a model that works to deliver fresh food and put people back to work in Englewood.
Who we are
Growing Home is the leading social enterprise focused on empowering people and communities with Chicago's first USDA-Certified Organic, high-production urban farms. With farms in the Englewood and Back of the Yards neighborhoods, as well as the 10-acre Les Brown Memorial Farm in Marseilles, Illinois, Growing Home seeks to operate, promote, and demonstrate the use of organic agriculture as a vehicle for job training, employment, and community development.
We're not like other farms
More than just growing food, Growing Home is building community and impacting lives. Since the beginning of our job training program, we've helped over 250 individuals transform their lives. Allencia, one of our 2012 program interns, recently told us this:
"Growing Home has had an IMMENSE influence on my life. After being released from federal prison, I went through some serious challenges in trying to find a job. I must say, mere words are inadequate in trying to articulate my gratitude for such a phenomenal program. I feel very successful. I feel you are successful when you remember that somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a gift, and that gift is what started you in the right direction. I believe you are blessed when you pass that gift on to someone else. That's exactly what I intend to do!"
The Greater Englewood neighborhood, where our hoophouse will be built, has struggled with cycles of population loss and disinvestment for decades. Poverty, crime, and a lack of opportunity have made it difficult for neighborhood residents to build lives, families, and careers. Growing Home is reinvesting in this neighborhood, though, bringing healthy food options, community educational programs, and providing opportunities where there formerly were few. Growing Home was recently honored as the Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year by the 2013 Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, in recognition of its work to transform the Englewood neighborhood through organic agriculture.
Here are some of the unique, local, organic rewards that you'll be eligible to receive when you support our project.
Note that all rewards are subject to availability.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Having already built four hoophouses in Chicago, Growing Home understands the potential challenges - from uncooperative weather to the dynamic nature of organic compost. Growing Home is the pioneer of organic agriculture in Chicago, however, and has the experience, the technical know-how, and the community alliances to get the job done. With the property secured, building site prepped, and materials and crews already selected, we anticipate no major challenges in bringing this Kickstarter project to life!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.