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13 Aug

Chicago Reinvigorates South Side With Urban Agriculture

Chicago's urban agriculture initiative could revitalize impoverished areas of the city. Chicago's urban agriculture initiative could revitalize impoverished areas of the city.

 

Chicago is trying its hand at urban farming with Farmers For Chicago, a community-based initiative aimed at training residents to grow their own food for sale in local grocery stores and restaurants. Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the new agriculture program with hopes of revitalizing the city's economically disadvantaged Southside and establishing partnerships between city farmers.

With five acres of municipal land to get the ball rolling, Chicago is teaming up with non-for-profit organizations Growing Home and Chicago Botanic Garden to train 25 agriculturally minded entrepreneurs in retail farming basics and produce sales. Participants must have former farming experience and a business plan in order to take part in the project.  

At the moment, the city has 15,000 vacant parcels of land ready for urban farming use. While converting the lots to farmland is not cheap, the program is projected to generate both profits as well as jobs within three years.

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