As a Chicago real estate agent, I see my share of vacant lots in depressed areas around the city. Nearby abandoned buildings are an eyesore and haven for gang bangers and drug dealers. It is scary when showing homes in these neighborhoods, and makes my job a challenge.
Well, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a new idea to combat a portion of this problem in the city of Chicago. On Friday he announced the launch of “Farmers for Chicago“, which will essentially turn vacant city lots into urban farms for the next three years.
The new program will be supported by private donors and will turn about five acres of city-owned lots into urban farming developments. Chicago will partner up with the local urban agriculture organization Growing Power. Neighborhood residents will be trained by nonprofit organizations, to grow food which will be distributed to local farmer’s markets, restaurants, and grocery chains.
- Chicago tackles the next big challenge in urban ag: Growing farmers (grist.org)
- Emanuel Announces Network For Urban Farmers (chicagoist.com)
- New program to turn vacant Chicago lots into farms (sfgate.com)