Hello to friends and supporters!
We wanted to share a post updating you all on where we have been and what we are moving toward.
The beginning of 2015 marked a quiet year for us. After running four intensive years of our Summer of Solutions summer program and working with over 100 youth from around the city, we decided to take a step back to revision. A major factor in this decision was the loss of our community house owned by United Church of Rogers Park and the closing of that partnership. The house served as a major asset to our work not only acting as a platform for our Children’s Garden program held in the front yard but also a home to many of our members. We are heartbroken to say the least and look back fondly on many beautiful and transformative memories in that home. We are excited however about the roads opening up before us.
The 2016 brings a new 501c3 status with The Resource Center AND and new partnership with A Just Harvest! We are thrilled about these new connections for many reasons but primarily because we know they share many of our same visions and values about work in Chicago which include; an accessible urban agriculture movement and the creation of sustainable jobs for young people in Chicago.
The Resource Center is home to many projects including a recycling program, a compost program, and a robust urban farm called City Farm.
A Just Harvest is an organization we have worked with informally for years and are delighted to move toward working with them in a more concrete way. Also housed in Rogers Park, A Just Harvest is a hunger and poverty focused non-profit. In addition to a daily soup kitchen, AJH also runs a number of youth centered programs out of their office and surrounding garden spaces around Gale Academy Elementary. They also oversee the Gale Academy Greenhouse. We are hoping to work with them in increasing amount in years to come but are looking forward to starting our Children’s Gardening Program back up with them.
Our collective team retreat in January brought 8+ of us together to vision these new partnerships and to hatch out plans for our existing projects. We are excited to keep growing food in Rogers Park through our Westwood Manor greenhouse partnership and our Yard Sharing network project. Opportunities to grow food with us abound. We are also moving forward in the creation of the cooperative business Grassroots Ecology that our team had been building for the past few years.
Our visioning forward in 2016 will focus on us developing more financially cyclical programing so as to increase our capacity to do this work and spend less time on fundraising. Our values remain centered on goals of a sustainable food movement in Rogers Park and the engagement and education of youth in Chicago to create real jobs.
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