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City Farm on abandoned Chicago Lot

City LotOn one acre of an otherwise vacant lot in Chicago, rows of organically grown tomatoes, squash and greens, edged in by towering sunflowers, have supplanted weeds and garbage. City Farm is the brainchild of Ken Dunn, director of the 30-year old sustainability nonprofit Resource Center. Seven years ago, Dunn convinced the city to let his non-profit make healthy use of languishing real estate by hiring people to truck in compost and raise food on the property until a buyer comes along. “Greening vacant lots benefits the neighborhood,” says Dunn. “We’re creating jobs and growing high-quality food,”

Local chefs source their produce from the farm. “That they’re doing the right thing is one incentive to patronize City Farm,” says Bruce Sherman, chef at North Pond Restaurant, “But the primary one is that the food tastes better.” Dunn envisions greening all the burg’s 10,000 vacant acres, but the cost – about $10,000 per acre – forces him to work one plot at a time. For now. Pending grants and compost production, a second City Farm could open this year.

Elaine Glusac from Eating Well Magazine



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