Leading the Energy Transition, Sprouting Green Opportunities (LET’S GO Chicago) developed out of a synergy between a youth garden program and the founding of a community house in Chicago in the summer of 2010. In its initial year, the program taught twenty neighborhood children how to grow food in the front yard of a house owned by United Church of Rogers Park while developing sustainability solutions for the property as a whole. Four years later our Children’s garden is still a staple within our organization, but the playground of our programming has expanded and evolved with exciting new initiatives.
We serve as one of 16 Summer of Solutions programs hosted by Grand Aspirations, a national youth-led organization that empowers, connects, and supports youth leaders as they create innovative, self-sustaining, and inter-dependent initiatives that integrate climate and energy solutions, economic security, and social justice.
Our 2012 activities included:
- Running a free garden education program for local children, ages 5-12
- Equipping 20 youth leaders with the skills they need to build their own solutionary projects
- Testing green infrastructure products and services in Rogers Park and laying the foundation for a worker owned cooperative business to launch in 2013
- Expanding our urban yard sharing program to include additional vegetable gardens for use by families and individuals in Rogers Park
- High School internship program that helps create jobs for local students
With the support of our donors, grants, community and partners we have had the privilege of adding new projects to the front line of the green movement in 2013:
- Rural Agricultural Project at the White Rose Catholic Farm in Monee, IL.
- The Rogers Park Free Library Project
- Greenhouse Gardening Project in Rogers Park
We are partnering with the Catholic Workers of Chicago to expand our roots just south of Chicago. Typically, we have brought the gardens to the people, but this program allows us to bring the people to the garden! We will be using the farm to teach city dwellers about rural agriculture, and much more!
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Rogers Park has been noted as one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. That says a lot for the possibilities of building an inclusive movement for sustainable community change. We are uniquely positioned here because of the tremendous potential for diverse community outreach as well as the incredible interactions that result from building relationships with people from all over the world.
Through the support of our friends and neighbors, we hope to foster change by inviting everyone to collaborate and share the journey of creating a viable future for us all.
2014 — here we come!
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