The Southeast side of Chicago used to be a bed of industry. Steel mills powered the economy but, like a lot of industrial towns throughout America, once the industry moved elsewhere all it left was pollution.
Following the exodus, brownfields (or previously developed but currently unused lands) popped up and many of the spaces were too polluted or contaminated to do anything about.
To address the climate impact the industry has had, people in the community have begun working to create green spaces that educate and feed residents and serve as community hubs.
Organizations like the Urban Growers Collective (UGC) and Advocates for Urban Agriculture have played big parts in bringing agriculture to Southeast Chicago.
The UGC runs the South Chicago Farm, an urban farm in the Southeast. On top of farm-fresh food, they also teach locals about how to farm and work to bring the community closer together.
The farm also sits across the street from a former steel mill showing that they can improve the situation they’re in.
“Green spaces are places for us to gather and build community,” says Bea Fry, AUA’s development and strategic partnership steward.
“It is a place to convene, just chat it up with one another, and discuss community issues.”
This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action among others.