by Kathleen Corr
In neighborhoods, in parks, on rooftops, and even at its airports, urban agriculture in Chicago is thriving. Food Tank has compiled a list of ten urban farming projects in Chicago that are definitely worth a visit.
1. Urban Canopy Rooftop Farm – 1400 W. 46th Street, Back of the Yards, Chicago, IL
Located on the rooftop of The Plant building, the Urban Canopy is a rooftop farm and Local Unified Community Supported Agriculture site. Visits to the Urban Canopy can include “Dinner Dates” hosted at the rooftop farm, membership in the farm’s Compost Club, or simply volunteering to work on the farm.
2. Chicago Lights Urban Farm – W. Chicago Avenue & N. Hudson Avenue, Cabrini Green, Chicago, IL
This former rundown basketball court was converted into a community garden in 2003 through a partnership between Growing Power and Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. Visitors outside of the five-block radius residential community can volunteer at daily Open Hours from 12:00pm to 3:00pm CST.
3. The Edible Gardens at Lincoln Park Zoo – Green City Market on Stockton Avenue, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
Operated by Green City Market and located inside the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm-In-the-Zoo complex, the Edible Gardens welcomes visitors from April through November. Drop in for a visit or take a free hands-on gardening workshop offered by the program.
4. Grant Park “Art on the Farm” Urban Agriculture Potager – E. Congress Parkway & S. Columbus Drive, South Loop, Chicago, IL
Growing Power collaborated with the Chicago Park District and Moore Landscapes, Inc., to build this urban farm in Grant Park. Occupying 20,000 ft2 of space next to Buckingham Fountain and Lincoln Memorial, the farm welcomes park goers and is maintained by farm interns within the Art on the Farm program.
5. Wood Street Urban Farm – 5814 S. Wood Street, Englewood, Chicago, IL
Occupying two-thirds of an acre in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, the Wood Street Urban Farm is the product of a partnership between Teamwork Englewood and Growing Home. Visitors to the farm can purchase the certified organic produce from the farmstand located there from April through October.
6. Rooftop Farm at McCormick Place West – 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, IL
The rooftop garden located on top of McCormick Place (the largest convention center in North America) is the largest soil-based rooftop farm in the Midwest, taking up 20,000 ft2 of roof space. The farm is maintained by the Chicago Botanic Garden. Visitors to the convention center can experience the farm’s produce through the convention center’s on-site catering service, SAVOR…Chicago.
7. Su Casa Market Garden – 51st Street & S. Laflin Street, West Englewood, Chicago, IL
An organic urban garden run by the Su Casa Catholic Worker in partnership with Growing Home, the Su Casa Market Garden is located on Chicago’s South Side. Community members and visitors to the farm can also volunteer at the Catholic Worker’s soup kitchen and food pantry, where much of the garden’s produce is prepared and served.
8. O’Hare International Airport Urban Garden – O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL
Now, layovers and delayed flights can turn into an urban farming experience. Jetsetters can visit the vertical aeroponic tower garden in the Rotunda Building of O’Hare International Airport to see the herbs, greens, and tomatoes growing there. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of the goats, sheep, llamas, and burros the airport uses to mow the property’s lawn.
9. The Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden – Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL
The Fruit and Vegetable Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden contains more than 400 different fruit and vegetable varieties, and this ‘living museum’ demonstrates best practices for growing food crops in the nearby Chicago region. The farm also plays host to a variety of events year-round including festivals, demonstrations, exhibits and tastings. While visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden, patrons can explore the various edible crops growing in the garden.
10. FarmedHere – Bedford Park, IL
The largest indoor aquaponic vertical farm in the United States, Farmed Here is also the first vertical farm to be USDA Certified Organic. Visit the farm or shop at the numerous grocery stores that sell Farmed Here’s greens, including Chicago Whole Foods, Green Grocery, and Standard Market.