What This Chicago Garden Does for Its Community Is So Heartwarming
See what this urban farm is all about.
Would you believe us if we told you that there's a farm in Chicago? What if we told you that this farmland, in its lifespan, has blessed the Windy City with over 90,000 pounds of produce? And that's not even what we find the most fascinating: The community-focused mindset of this urban farm is heartwarming and inspiring.
Windy City Harvest, an urban agriculture program of the Chicago Botanic Garden, started Farm on Ogden in the North Lawndale neighborhood. According to the Chicago Tribune, North Lawndale is one of Chicago’s most violent and impoverished Chicago communities. The goal of this 20,000 square-foot urban farm is to get the community involved in taking a "whole person" approach to health and wellness, one zucchini plant at a time.
A large part of the Windy City Harvest program is an apprenticeship for Chicago Public School youth, veterans, and ex-offenders. Not only does the apprenticeship serve as a supportive transitional period for these groups, but mentors assist in sprucing up resumes and helping in job search. During their time at the farm, the apprentices learn everything there is to know about gardening, food safety, nutrition, and cooking with fresh produce.
Related: Urban Garden Design
Another cool aspect of this urban farm is the Veggie Rx program. This program is exactly what it sounds like: Fresh produce from the farm is "prescribed" to diet-restricted patients down the street at Lawndale Christian Health Center. Food is treated as medicine at Farm on Ogden, and who's to argue with that?
Alongside the many community-oriented programs that the farm offers, a year-round indoor farmstand is available to the surrounding neighborhood. We know what you’re thinking: How in the world are vegetables grown in Midwest winters? The facility has a 7,300-foot greenhouse to support the farmstand and the Veggie Rx program.
It's amazing to see what one city block can do for an entire community; the Farm on Ogden is as inspiring as it is productive.