Drawing on the expertise of organizations like the Resource Center (creator of the well-known CityFarm), Growing Home, and Growing Power, 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.
See Starting a Farm
Park District process
The Chicago Park District has program to allow community groups to start community gardens on park district lands.The application information and forms are all available here
Also see our own page about where we are in the process here, including a photo of the orioised park plot: Chicago Park District Community Garden Info & To-dos
In cases where soils may be contaminated so that food safety is a concern, it may still be possible to generate revenue by growing ornamental plants (and creating other value-added ornamental plant products) for sale at farmers markets. Many farmer's market shoppers are aware that conventional flower production is detrimental to human and environmental health (due to high pesticide use and long-distance refrigerated shipping by air) so would be interested in purchasing locally-grown, pesticide-free bouquets and ornamental plants.
Here is a list of potential target native wildflowers, that are classified as low maintenance and good for cut flowers according to the Missouri Botanic Garden search engine (http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Results.asp).
Search limited to: Herbaceous Perennials, Dry to medium, Low maintenance, Missouri Natives, Suitable as cut flower
|Scientific Name||Common Name||
|Aster linariifolius||stiff aster||1-2||4-9|
|Baptisia bracteata||false indigo||2-2.5||3-9|
|Echinacea pallida||pale purple coneflower||2-3||3-10|
|Echinacea purpurea||purple coneflower||2-5||3-8|
|Gaillardia aestivalis||lance leaf blanket flower||1-1.5||5-9|
|Helianthus silphioides||rosinweed sunflower||3-10||5-9|
|Heliopsis helianthoides||oxeye sunflower||3-6||3-9|
|Liatris pycnostachya||prairie blazing star||2-5||3-9|
|Liatris scariosa||blazing star||2-4||3-8|
|Monarda bradburyana||eastern beebalm||1-2||5-8|
|Parthenium integrifolium||wild quinine||2-4||4-8|
|Pycnanthemum tenuifolium||slender mountain mint||2-3||4-8|
|Rudbeckia fulgida||black-eyed Susan||2-3||3-9|
|Rudbeckia maxima||large coneflower||5-7||4-9|
|Solidago juncea||yellow tops||2-4||
Also see this Northwestern/Children's Memorial study and community project on phytoremediation of lead (i.e. plants removing lead) in soils in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plants we would want to grow for sale would be the ones that aren't effective at phytoremediation (so didn't uptake lead).