It’s been an amazing year at Growing Home, and we couldn’t have done it without support from all of you! Leading up to the end of the year, Growing Home will be counting down the Last 13 Days of 2013, and sharing some of our favorite moments and successes from this year. Even though winter is upon us and our farms may appear dormant, we are still busy preparing for an even better 2014. Please consider donating to our Annual Campaign to support our continued growth in next year.
Today is the LAST day of our Countdown to the end of 2013! So we want to THANK YOU for helping us to build 1 brand new hoop house at our Honore St. urban farm, made possible by our Kickstarter supporters! The hoop house will increase our production by about 25% next year!
Growing Home hosted 2 Open Houses at our Wood St. urban farm in 2013, bringing more than 300 friends, neighbors and supporters to the farm for tours, workshops, and snacks prepared by our program graduates. See more photos here: http://ow.ly/rVSpl
Did you know we keep chickens at our Les Brown Memorial Farm? Over the winter, our chickens lay 3 eggs per week (rather than daily eggs during the warmer months). Support our chickens by donating to Growing Home: http://ow.ly/rXzoA
We’re celebrating DAY 4 on our countdown by remembering when 4 Growing Home graduates from 2013 Cohort 2 were hired by Eataly Chicago, a new gourmet market that opened in December!
Growing Home delivers to 5 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up sites. We supply beautiful boxes of certified organic produce throughout Chicagoland each season, grown by our farm staff and job training participants. http://ow.ly/rVQVd
This year, 6 graduates of our job training program successfully sealed or expunged their criminal records, with assistance from Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Read more about how Growing Home assists our graduates with their criminal records in this blog post - http://ow.ly/rVPHl
This year, 7 participants in our transitional job training program passed their ServSafe food safety exam. The ServSafe Manager certificate is a requirement for many food-related jobs, like day care facilities and hospitals and it has opened up job options for several of our graduates.
We’ve got a Bonus #8 on Last 13 Days of 2013 Countdown! Growing Home’s organic honey landed at #8 on Mary Schmich’s holiday favorites list in the Chicago Tribune.
This year, we made 8 new employer partner contacts to which Growing Home can make direct referrals for job placements. Growing Home now has 20 employer partners who we work with to make sustainable job placements.
At our Les Brown Memorial farm in Marseilles we planted 9 beds of beautiful organic tomatoes this year!
This year, 10 graduates were placed in “sustainable” jobs after graduating from our program, meaning full-time, permanent jobs, making at least $10/hour, with at least one benefit (paid vacation, sick days, health insurance,). Overall, Growing Home’s job placement rate in 2013 was 90%!
Growing Home has been around for 11 years! Since we were founded in 2002, we have provided job training to more than 300 Chicagoans on our organic farm sites. Thank you for supporting us to make this possible!
This year, 12 participants in our transitional job training program lived in Greater Englewood, where our Wood St. and Honore St. urban farm sites are located. (That’s more than 1/3 of people in the job training program). We seek to be strong neighbors and partners in the Englewood community, through our transitional job training program, Wood St. farm stand, and other community events and programming throughout the year.
As the year is wrapping up, and before we officially move on to 2014, let’s take a moment to celebrate the good news and accomplishments of 2013.
In particular, we have some extremely good news regarding job placements among this year’s Growing Home interns.
The job placement rate for both Cohorts in 2013 is 90%. This makes 2013 our most successful year yet.
This is the best evidence that we are accomplishing our mission, and we look forward to building on the success and lessons learned from our 2013 job training curriculum for next year.
Growing Home has been training people with barriers to employment since 2002, with over 300 people working and training through our programs over the last 11 years. The average placement rate has typically been between 60-70%, which we have considered a success, particularly when you consider all the barriers that many of our interns face.
The fact that the job placement rate this year is 90% is incredible! And they are not just any jobs, but good jobs with good growth potential, and many include benefits.