Farming in the ‘Hood – Preparing for the Future!

An Urban Farm … Coming to Rogers Park!

Eco-Justice Collaborative is taking a lead role in its work with Rogers Park Farms to bring about an urban farm as part of a mixed use development in one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods.  The project, which will be located on slightly more than an acre of land at the SE corner of Ashland Avenue and Howard Street is being planned by Rogers Park Farms with Housing Opportunities for Women as the lead organization for this exciting initiative.

The development will bring about a synergy of uses to help revitalize a once vibrant commercial corridor in Rogers Park.  It includes:

  • A five story-building with 36 units of affordable housing and 7,000 square feet of commercial floor area.
  • A1/2 acre urban farm, with aquaponics (hydroponics and aquaculture) and commercial greenhouses for extended growing.
  • A cafe that would serve food from the farm, designed to provide workforce training.
  • A community kitchen for use by residents who want to incubate food-related businesses.
  • A year-round market, for selling food and products produced as part of the farm and business incubation program.
  • Education and demonstration programming as well as a place for experimenting with technologies such as producing energy (biogas) from fish waste.

While the uses themselves are exciting, the project will bring about so much more as it:

ENCOURAGES INNOVATION – THIS IS MORE THAN A TRADITIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL!

  • Reclaims land as a resource for Rogers Park residents.
  • Creates a place in which skills are shared and experiment happens.
  • Moves our community from dependency to self-sufficiency through food.
  • Capitalizes on and expands Rogers Parks greatest asset -  the talents, skills and resources of the people who live in our community.

PREPARES FOR THE FUTURE THROUGH FOOD

  • Provides the foundation for a unique, local, destination-oriented business district.
  • Creates jobs through food-related activities and business incubation.
  • Models innovation by turning waste into a resource that can build soil, create energy and increase food production far beyond traditional methods.
  • Makes Howard “the place to be” again.

 GROWS  COMMUNITY

  • Shares knowledge through hands-on, experiential learning in a living classroom.
  • Increases skills through apprenticeships and skill sharing.
  • Collaborates with community groups, churches and schools.
  • Breaks social and economic barriers by bringing together people of all ages, abilities and cultures.

HEALTHY PLACE MEANS HEALTHY PEOPLE

  • Restores a degraded, vacant property and returns it to productive use.
  • Increases useable open space in Rogers Park.
  • Promotes physical fitness through food production and access to quality food.
  • Fosters placemaking, encouraging residents to work together to recreate culture through business incubation or growing food.

This project will begin its plan review process this month.  Watch EJC’s website for more information as it progresses, and how you might support this exciting initiative!

Contact Pam, EJC for more information.

Watch this video by The Urban Farming Guys that highlights similar initiatives in Kansas City, MO.

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