We really like our church, and we especially love that people at our church care about what’s going on in the world, our city and our neighborhoods. People from our church march in the Pride Parade, write letters to state legislators about issues regarding homelessness and hunger, and they get out into the community to DO something about all of these various issue. Through our church I’ve learned about Growing Power, about an organization that inspires me and that I love working with.
Over the last year and a half, we’ve spent about 1 Saturday morning a month helping out at Growing Power’s Chicago farms. This summer we will be helping out at their Iron Street farm which is on the south side of the city in an industrial area. Driving through the run down neighborhood and loading docks to get there, you’d never expect to find such a colorful, hopeful farm hidden in the midst of trucks and abandon buildings.
Here is a brief description from Growing Power’s website:
Iron Street Urban Farm is located in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. The vision for the urban farm is to “grow” healthy soil and energy, using closed loop ecological practices in order to produce local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round for Chicago. The seven-acre site will included:
- 10 hoop-houses to grow fresh produce year-round;
- aquaponics systems, which will produce healthy Tilapia and Yellow Perch;
- small ruminant husbandry, including chickens, ducks, and rabbits;
- urban apiary with six bee hives;
- urban orchard and vine fruit production;
- green roof production and research; and
- the training an employment of over 40 youth.
- the vision for the site is that it will also include an anaerobic digester to not only create nutrient-rich compost, but renewable energy as well.
- Learn more at www.ironstreetfarm.com.
It is truly amazing to learn about all that they are doing on this farm — raising fish & bees, cultivating rich compost from others’ garbage, providing youth with job training and valuable life skills, and growing healthy food for people in the community!
I just started The Good Food Revolution, which was written by Growing Power’s founder, Will Allen. I’m only a few chapters into it, but already I’m fascinated by so many things that he talks about — for example he describes how his family’s roots are agricultural. His relatives were slaves, and in order to start a new life and remove themselves from their past, they also lost their connection to the land and healthy eating. He is an interesting person as he played professional basketball, then became a very successful businessman, and left it all to open up a roadside vegetable stand in inner-city Milwaukee. I’m sure I’ll post more about this!