Growing Solutions Farm
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Working outdoors. Building a community of diverse learners. Gaining the identity of an employee. Harnessing the skills and talents of our young adult clients while acquiring expertise in an exploding local food industry. These concepts are the genesis of our nationally recognized Growing Solutions Farm.
Our farm interns learn skills in the agriculture space and how to follow structured employment tasks while also gaining soft skills. Our teachers, volunteers and agency staff engage in daily farm work with our farm interns while modeling and teaching the curriculum that will lead to future success in the workplace.
Farm interns currently include residents of Project 1212, CPS students from Al Raby High School, Easter Seals Therapeutic School for Autism Research and private applicants.
In 2013, our 900-square foot pilot garden taught us that we could increase independence and productivity among young adults with ASD while teaching vocational and horticulture skills. The 2014 expansion allowed us to provide paid employment and more consistent, intensive vocational training opportunities to twice as many young adults, while harnessing the collective strength of our partners.
Since that time we launched our expanded 1.2 acre vocational garden in the Illinois Medical District. The farm currently includes more than 90 raised beds, a green house, a small orchard and a native planting area. Permanent structures include sheds to store harvest and educational supplies, two shipping pods for farm and propagation equipment, a newly created market area and tented outdoor classroom. Our Lead Grower and Farm Operation Manager, Gwenne Godwin, is a graduate of the Windy City Harvest Sustainable Agriculture program and leads the design, implementation and daily operation of this signature program for young adults with autism and related social and communication challenges.
This June, we started a farmer's market, in which we sell our delicious produce on Wednesday's from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Growing Solutions Farm is located at the corner of Leavitt Street and Campbell Drive (across the street from 2201 W. Campbell Park Drive).
Tours of the farm are available, but advance notice and coordination is requested. Please contact our lead grower, Gwenne Godwin, for a tour firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come visit Growing Solutions Farm on the corner of Campbell Parkway and Leavitt Street in the Illinois Medical District.