Chicago to Gain New Urban Farming Campus
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A $3 million state investment will help bring a new urban farming campus to Chicago’s south side. The $32 million project will transform a vacant brownfield parcel into a new Green Era Urban Farming Campus that will provide access to fresh food, renewable energy, and resilient growth for a community that has historically suffered from disinvestment and a lack of employment opportunities. Green Era’s farming campus leverages cutting edge technology for sustainable outcomes to increase local food supply, while transforming waste bound for landfills into reusable sustainable energy for local businesses. The new Campus seeks to resolve the prevalence of food deserts on Chicago’s South Side by increasing access to fresh, locally grown food, as well as by increasing capacity for residents to grow their own food. The new Campus will include 13,000 square feet of greenhouse space, expected to grow over 26,000 pounds of food per year. An anaerobic digester will break down organic food waste, producing nutrient rich compost on site to help meet the demand of urban farmers and community gardeners, and to produce renewable energy that will power its facilities. All on-site programming will be operated by the Urban Growers Collective, which will support youth and adult education and engagement, community growing and the Farmers for Chicago program. Construction on the vacant, 9-acre site is slated for completion in March 2022 and will create hundreds of permanent and construction jobs for members of the community.