Farmers for Chicago Program to Transform Vacant Chicago Real Estate Lots

March 31, 2013

Chicago urban farmingIn an exciting new initiative, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this month that vacant Chicago real estate lots will soon become green, urban farms that provide produce and economic opportunity in the South Side.

Called Farmers for Chicago, the program will allow local nonprofits to use up to five acres of city-owned vacant real estate lots in the South Side for urban farming activity. The initiative is designed to revitalize the South Side area, both in terms of relieving the problem of food deserts and in “stabilizing” surrounding communities, according to a statement by Emanuel. Nonprofits like Growing Home and the Chicago Botanic Garden will be able to train up to 25 recruits for the program and provide the necessary preparation for these urban farmers to run a profitable food business.

Designed to be fully implemented over the course of three years, this new urban agribusiness initiative is already being developed in Garfield Park, Englewood and in the city’s Grand Boulevard/Grand Crossing and Back of Yards neighborhoods. By not only using the vacant lots for food production, but also for local employment opportunities, these once vacant lots will soon be productive farms that put Chicago, and South Side neighborhoods, on the map as an agribusiness hub.

On one of Growing Homes’ farm, they produced more than 13,000 pounds of local, USDA Certified Organic Produce and earned more than $45,000, according to the city. The farm’s produce will go directly to up to 20 local retailers, including farmer’s markets, local corner stores, grocery chains and restaurants.

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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