Participants in our job training program work at all of our farm sites–as each site offers different learning experiences.
Les Brown Memorial Farm:
Growing Home’s first farm was developed in 2002 on the site of a retired weather station near Marseilles, IL. Named after Growing Home’s founder, the Les Brown Memorial Farm is comprised of 10 acres of certified organic farm land, including a residence for the farmers, a native habitat for bees and other beneficial organisms, and two large hoophouses.
Growing Home operates a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program out of this site and also raises organically fed, free-range chickens at the farm, thereby offering an “egg CSA” as well. The Les Brown Memorial Farm is located at 2539 N. 30th Road, Marseilles, IL 61341.
Su Casa Market Garden:
Since 2003, Growing Home has had access to certified organic land at the Su Casa Market Garden in Back of the Yards, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. The land is owned by Su Casa Catholic Worker, which is a soup kitchen, food pantry, and safe space for displaced latino families.
In addition to growing small crops like salad mix, snap peas, and carrots, our field training specialist, Breanne Heath, designs community projects and workshops at this site. We also have a small apiary at the Su Casa Market Garden, where we keep bee hives. Production Associates in our job training program have the opportunity to grown their own food at Su Casa. The garden is located near the corner of 51st St. and S. Laflin St. Produce from the site is also donated to Su Casa’s soup kitchen–in 2012 more Growing Home donated more than 1,300 pounds of produce.
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 2012 we grew and sold over 13,000 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.