Windy City Harvest

Chicago, IL
Vegetables
Certified Organic
http://www.chicagobotanic.org/windycityharvest/

The Farm

Windy City Harvest is an organic vegetable and plant production enterprise that provides instruction in sustainable horticulture and urban agriculture to residents of Chicago’s North Lawndale and West Side neighborhoods. Kelly is the coordinator of Windy City Harvest, which creates jobs, opportunity, and hope by training participants to produce high-value, organic produce, which is sold at retail outlets and made available and accessible to local residents. Participants acquire hands-on experience with sustainable vegetable production and learn essential business skills, including planning, pricing, sales, and marketing.

Windy City Harvest participants study at the City Colleges of Chicago’s Arturo Velasquez West Side Technical Institute at 28th and Western Avenue in Chicago and at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The two locations provide state-of-the-art greenhouses, fully equipped classrooms and high quality outside plant production spaces.  Instructors are certified and trained by Chicago Botanic Garden staff.

The Program

Students receive six months of hands-on instruction in greenhouse and outdoor growing practices, followed by a three-month paid internship. Students can also opt for a five-month certificate in cool-weather growing techniques for hoophouses and greenhouses. After satisfactory completion of the curriculum and training requirements, students achieve certification in sustainable urban horticulture and urban agriculture. The certificate includes credit hours from the City Colleges of Chicago and readies participants for permanent employment in the new “green collar” jobs sector.

Big Dreams

The growing demand from individuals, commercial establishments, educational and healthcare institutions for locally grown, affordable produce holds the promise of a bright future for Windy City Harvest and its graduates. As necessary funds are raised, Windy City Harvest will relocate to a multi-acre site on Chicago’s West Side, creating one of America’s largest urban agricultural enterprises.

The landscaped campus will provide ample room for growth in raised bed vegetable production, educational opportunities, and community involvement. The site will also house a food and natural products market, open to the community year-round.

Last  Updated April 2009

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