The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, has launched a program to create five acres of urban farmland in the city of Chicago over the next three years. Plots have been allocated on vacant city owned land in a move to create jobs and educate local residents on aspects of food production that usually takes place far away, out of sight and out of mind.
Local farm collectives are set to work with the city to offer a training program to those struggling to find work. Like other initiatives that help people develop new skills to open doors on new employment opportunities, the hope is that graduates will not only have a greater understanding of where their food comes from but they will also have the knowledge and skills to continue on with their own farms and commercial food production ventures. By keeping the farms in close proximity the city is aiming to build a close network of urban farmers who can share knowledge and train others, spreading the knowledge further and bringing benefit to the whole community.
“Once made available, these vacant lots will help stabilize communities by bringing productive activity to areas that need it around food deserts. Farmers for Chicago will give local residents a chance to not only learn how to grow food in their communities, but also build their own food enterprise.” – Mayer Emanuel.