The Chicago urban farming movement could become one of the largest urban farm operations in the United States and could become an international leader in urban farm production.
Urban farming is one of the fastest growing agricultural fads sweeping the country. By transforming unused, abandoned, and dilapidated urban buildings and properties, the urban farming movement seeks to rejuvenate economically depressed urban centers, create jobs and boost city revenue, and expand access to nutritious food to lower-income residents.
Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development recently unveiled a massive urban agriculture plan as part of their Green Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative. The city would essentially transform about 13 square miles of the Englewood neighborhood, which has seen massive population losses over the past 10 years, into a area set aside for green businesses and urban farms.
Pushing the development of urban farms, city officials believe, would help increase property values, boost local economies, and would help reduce urban food deserts.
“It’s a long-range plan to turn a community filled with vacant lots into a community built around agriculture,” said local economist Brandon Johnson. “Think of what Chicago was during the heyday of the (Union) Stockyards when it was the ‘Hog Butcher for the World.’”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer