Project image
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$3,678
pledged of $18,000pledged of $18,000 goal
32
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, August 28 2014 2:50 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 28, 2014

The Coop Op: A Community Powered Urban Farm

A Creative Hub for Food, Art & Culture on Chicago's South Side

The Coop Op: A Community Powered Urban Farm

A Creative Hub for Food, Art & Culture on Chicago's South Side

$3,678
pledged of $18,000pledged of $18,000 goal
32
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, August 28 2014 2:50 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 28, 2014

About

Plants-eye view
Plants-eye view

The Cooperation Operation is more than a non-profit social enterprise, urban farm, and safe community space; it is a collective vision for a tangible project that addresses some of the most pervasive questions facing urban communities: How do we deal with the polluted remnants of our recent industrial past? How do we collectively invigorate a neighborhood hit hard by the flight of jobs overseas and the great recession? How do we nourish ourselves in a food desert? How do we foster a progressive culture amid violence and scarcity? 

At our 2.5 acre site in the Pullman neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, we hope to begin answering these questions. Utilizing cutting edge techniques such as mycelial remediation, we are healing a brownfield that long plagued our community. We are exploring sustainable economic solutions to an area with huge employment challenges. We are producing thousands of pounds of delicious, fresh organic produce, and are expanding our capacity and facilities constantly. We catalyze cultural and educational activities, free of charge; this past year we have partnered with three local schools for hands-on learning workshops and have begun weekly yoga and art classes, available to people in our neighborhood as well the rest of the city. Most importantly, we are formulating these solutions in real-time, on the ground, locally. 

What we have initiated is snowballing quickly and we are building our movement through the digital commons. Every dollar not only brings us closer to realizing a thriving food oasis amidst the industrial footprint of the Southeast Side of Chicago, but affirms collective ownership of the desire to see ourselves, our loved ones and our communities flourish. 

Photo by Liz Nerat
Photo by Liz Nerat

Your generous support goes to...

Mycelial Remediation
Mycelial Remediation

Mycelial Remediation - Using the natural healing power of mushrooms, we will be transforming and rebuilding our soil. This process entails covering a 1.5 acre area with alternating layers of carbon and nitrogen rich material and strategically placing hearty native mushroom cultures throughout. Over time the cultures will develop a large mycelium network beneath the surface, similar to the roots of plants. This single large tissue has the ability to not only lock up heavy metals, but actually reduce synthetic compounds to their constituent atoms. The result is safe, fertile soil where food can be grown for the benefit of everyone.  

The Hugel-Bowl
The Hugel-Bowl

The Hugel-Bowl - Essentially a four foot tall, 3,000 square foot raised bed that will be married with permaculture cultivation techniques to produce several thousands of pounds of fresh produce. We capped the 3,000 square foot area of our site with clay from a local excavation site, and have built four-foot clay walls around the perimeter of the area, creating a huge earth bowl. Now, the bowl needs to be filled with locally sourced felled trees, mulch, and compost - a process known as hugelkultur. These ingredients will create a healthy, biodynamic environment for our crops to grow and thrive and effectively quadruple our growing capacity. 

The Learning Garden
The Learning Garden

The Learning Garden - located on the remaining concrete foundation of a former waste processing facility, our learning garden is designed for use by everyone, including children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. It is in this space that we showcase a variety of growing techniques and host workshops and classes. It is constructed with donated and up-cycled materials, including wood from a decommissioned pier and abandoned boats from a local marina. Utilizing what others consider waste, we produce food and knowledge!

Risks and challenges

Our biggest risk is that what we have built will be taken away from us. Much like any public service, the power we have lies in the hands of our community. The more support we have from people in our community, our social networks, our families, the larger and more diverse our reach, the better our chance is in holding onto what we have built and laying the groundwork of a sustainable solution for decades to come.

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Support

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    Newsletter and Good Vibes - Sent to you directly from the grateful hearts of everyone involved in The Cooperation Operation

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    Photos and Newsletter - Digital Photos of Life at the Cooperation Operation and our quarterly newsletter

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    Thank You Video - A personalized thank you video from everyone at the Cooperation Operation and our quarterly newsletter

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    Two Tickets to Our White Tablecloth Event, Thank You Video, Photos, and Newsletter - Enjoy a night of fine dining and entertainment at the Cooperation Operation's White Tablecloth Event

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    Tree with Placard - Have a tree planted and dedicated to you or a loved one on the Cooperation Operation's site. All tree dedications will be marked with a hand-made placard

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    Raised Bed Dedication - Have a raised bed built and dedicated for you or a loved one in our learning garden. All raised bed dedications will be marked with a hand-made placard

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Funding period

- (35 days)