Drawing on the expertise of pioneering organizations like the Resource Center (creator of the well-known CityFarm), Growing Power, and Growing Home, we seek to create one or more urban, raised-bed farms of approximately one acre each. Given the range of educational and training activities that we intend to conduct and the different constituencies we intend to serve, two or more sites may be optimal.
In conjunction with the production site, CCUE will also include a larger site devoted to composting,
which will enable CCUE to provide food waste recovery services while at the
same time generating the soil needed to supply the farm.
Finally, benefiting from the experience of project partner the
Inspiration Corporation and others, we aim to establish a corner-store retail
site and restaurant staffed by trained neighborhood residents. In combination with programs such as the
farmer’s market planned for implementation this year by the
Experimental Station, these distribution sites will contribute to community
development through skill-building and job opportunities, while making healthy,
locally grown food available to the community.
Another significant component of CCUE will be its relationship with the University of Chicago, including Residence Halls & Commons, which has partnered with the Resource Center in food waste recovery for over a decade; the Sustainability Council; and the Office of Community & Government Affairs. Joined by vendors such as Aramark and Sugar Plum Cafés that have strong relationships with the University, and by a faculty member in the Department of Ecology & Evolution supervising graduate students for whom the CCUE will be a laboratory to study issues such as biodiversity and agroeconomics, the University will be a strong partner in building this important addition to the food system of Chicago’s South Side.