Darius Jones: A Hard-knock Teen Turned Urban Farmer in Chicago
Jones knows from experience that urban farming is a tranquil space that is welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds. It was also calming to a kid who needed a way out.
By Christopher Nelson
Feb 10, 2017
As a teen growing up on Chicago’s West Side, Darius Jones got in trouble with the law.
He pleaded guilty to a felony and spent two years locked up. But the time spent at Cook County Jail led him to a garden boot camp. And that garden program led him to his life’s work: urban agriculture.
“The only reason I wanted to work for the garden was because, over the two years of sitting in max, I only went outside twice,” said Jones, who grew up in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. “It helped me reflect on life. It helped me to reevaluate my situation.”
After getting out of jail, he participated in a program at the Chicago Botanic Garden, completed a job training program at Windy City Harvest and went back to intern at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where he managed operations at local farmer’s markets.