Urban farms cultivating safer neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago
Plans for 30-acre urban farm district on the city’s South Side aim at reducing violence and crime
By Alicia Swanstrom
Dec 06, 2012
Fred Daniels, an Englewood resident, spent eight of his 29 years in prison for drug violations and attempted murder. Now he’s growing food as way to a better life.
At the Wood Street Farm on the South Side, Daniels works the soil and harvests plants for Growing Home, a nonprofit that offers transitional jobs to people with barriers to employment, such as felonies. Through its training programs, the farm gives ex-offenders like Daniels a fighting chance to stay off the streets.
Wood Street Urban Farm:
In 2005, Growing Home was invited into Englewood by Teamwork Englewood and other stakeholders as part of the Quality of Life Plan for the neighborhood. In 2006, the City of Chicago permitted Growing Home to use the Wood Street Urban Farm site, and by the fall part of the site was already growing food. The land was officially transferred to Growing Home in 2007, and in late 2009 Growing Home was able to complete essential development of the site–including a building used as a classroom, office space, and vegetable processing area.
While the site is small–only about 2/3 of an acre–we are able to grow a great deal of produce. In 2010 we grew and sold over 11,000 lbs. The certified organic produce grown at this farm, under the management of our urban farms manager, Tim Murakami, is sold from April through October at a farm stand on site, and at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. The Wood Street Urban Farm is located at 5814 S. Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60636.