Growing Home is the leading social enterprise focused on empowering people and communities with Chicago’s first USDA-Certified Organic, high-production urban farms.
With farms in the Englewood and Back of the Yards neighborhoods, as well as the 10-acre Les Brown Memorial Farm in Marseilles, Illinois, Growing Home seeks to operate, promote, and demonstrate the use of organic agriculture as a vehicle for job training, employment, and community development.
Growing Home provides transitional employment and green industry training to Chicagoans motivated to reenter the workforce. We work with individuals who have had difficulty obtaining employment due to histories of incarceration, homelessness, or substance dependence, who are ready to rebuild their lives. Through a social enterprise business based on organic agriculture, interns learn specialized skills in agriculture and landscaping, food service, and/or customer service, as well as general workplace and life skills. Our program provides hands-on experience, education, and interpersonal skills that prepare our interns for a variety of careers in growing Chicago industries.
Growing Home develops innovative agricultural initiatives with economic development potential, working in communities where we can make a positive difference. In 2011, Growing Home’s Wood Street Urban Farm grew and sold over 13,000 pounds of local, USDA Certified Organic produce, with over $45,000 in earned income. Growing Home sells its produce at the Green City Market, through a Community Supported Agriculture program, and to fine Chicago restaurants. Additionally, Growing Home holds a weekly farm stand for our neighbors in Englewood and provides programming on healthy cooking and nutrition to bring healthy options to this food desert.
Growing Home is a leader in advocating for local healthy food systems. Our staff speaks regularly on urban agriculture policy issues and sits on numerous city- and nation-wide committees focusing on urban agriculture, food security, and food access. Growing Home, along with the Chicago Community Trust, founded the Greater Englewood Urban Agriculture Task Force to plan an economic restoration in the community focusing on urban agriculture as a catalyst.
Download our 2011 Annual Report (PDF, 2MB) to learn more about our recent work.