Join us for the Gala of Hope, celebrating the Tutoring Program?s 60th Anniversary.

Urban Farm

Our Urban Farm is a green oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
We cultivate an engaged community through educational and employment opportunities and access to fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce.
Education is at the root of our Urban Farm programming. Through our assistantships and partnership with After School Matters, we provide more than 60 positions a year for high school aged youth that allow them to get real-world experience in sustainable farming, food systems, and technologies. Learn more. =
Community Garden
Registration for 2023 garden plots is now closed. Check back in late-March to apply to garden with us next year. Individuals, schools, businesses, and other organizations within a 5-block radius of the Farm are invited and encouraged to rent plots. Learn more. =

Farming & Food Distribution

We’re a fully functioning farm—and we’ve got a bounty of produce to share. Our micro-enterprise not only provides healthy, local food to the community, but also gives teens and young adults invaluable work experience, building skills they’ll need to transcend systemic barriers in their education and careers. This helps make our community stronger! Support our young people by visiting our Farm Stand. Learn more. =

Community Engagement

Our work is based in the community. In addition to offering garden plots, we offer volunteering, host events and classes, donate our produce, and partner with local schools and a local health clinic. Learn More.=

Farmstand & Market Vouchers

Get your favorite produce on site! Choose from a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and even flowers. When you get your food through the Urban Farm, you’re directly supporting our job-training programs and boosting the local economy. Learn More.=

High School Education

Teens learn all the techniques central to growing food and maintaining an urban farm (watering, seeding, pruning, harvesting, compost making, working with power tools, etc.), customer service skills, nutrition and cooking knowledge, self-efficacy and responsibility, leadership, communication, and job skills. Students are paid a stipend through After School Matters.


Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.


Typically, on site at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm
444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago on Tuesdays & Thursdays

On site at the Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E Chestnut St., Chicago on Wednesdays

Occasional field trips off-site may occur with prior notice

Schedule Eligibility

Students in grades 9–12 who attend Chicago Public Schools are eligible.

Apply online here.


Community Garden


Registration for 2023 garden plots is now closed.

Check back in late-March 2024 to apply to garden with us next year.

Plots are available to community members living or organizations operating within a five-block radius of the Farm (east to LaSalle St., south to Ohio St., west to Halsted Ave., north to Division St.). Community gardeners are encouraged to become involved in our Urban Farm through volunteering and helping maintain communal plots.

Fee & What’s Included
Your Community Gardener membership is $100-$200 (details in form below and additional donations are always welcome!), plus a mandatory five hours of volunteer work throughout the growing season. This includes a 3-foot by 7-foot plot (21 square feet of growing area) filled with organic soil, communal garden supplies (tools, compost), water access, and technical support.

Gardeners are responsible for their own seeds, plants (get yours at our spring plant sale!), and personal garden tools. This is a communal space, so outside soil and fertilizers are prohibited without express permission from Urban Farm staff.

Our community gardeners attend orientation, where we’ll help you learn the basics of gardening.

Our staff is also available throughout the growing season to answer any questions and provide support.

We want everyone to be able to garden. We want everyone to be able to garden. Plots are available for free to SNAP-eligible neighborhood residents. Please contact Director Deja Stout with any questions:

*Registering doesn’t guarantee you a spot. Farm staff will be in touch about next steps once you register.

Community Engagement

Our work is based in the community. In addition to offering garden plots, we offer volunteering, host events and classes, donate our produce, partner with local schools and a health clinic.

If you’d like to partner with us, contact Deja Stout:




Schedule & Location

Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
June 24th – October 28th, 2023

Chicago Lights Urban Farm
444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Market Voucher Program

Everyone should have access to fresh, local food. Once a week, anyone who identifies as having a low income can shop at our weekly farmstand for free up to $25. If they are residents of Cabrini-Green, they are eligible to place an order through our Community Engagement Assistant and their orders will be delivered. Learn More.=

Sponsor Food for a Family

You can be a part of the Chicago Lights Urban Farm’s mission to alleviate food insecurity and support the local community. Sponsor a share of fresh, local produce for a family living in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood.



The Chicago Lights Urban Farm started as a community garden in 2003. It sprung out of a long-standing relationship between Fourth Presbyterian Church and residents of Cabrini-Green. The community garden, through a collaboration with Growing Power, was a ministry of the church until it became one of the four programs of Chicago Lights in 2009. The garden transitioned to an Urban Farm in 2010 as part of a community decision-making process. Community residents wanted more jobs for teens and young adults and more produce available.

Neighborhood Background

The entire Urban Farm grows on top of the asphalt! It acts as a natural cap, but historically, the space was a place where Cabrini-Green residents would gather, typically for basketball games and tournaments.

The Farm is located on the south end of the Cabrini-Green community in view of the original 1942 rowhouses. Cabrini-Green was a Chicago Housing Authority public housing complex that occupied close to 70 acres of land. The Rowhouses, named after St. Francis Cabrini, were built in 1942 and meant to house individuals with low incomes. In its heyday, the community had upwards of 15,000 residents.

This community demonstrates how social policies and a lack of city investment can affect the health of a community. Over the years, city divestment, social policies that separated families, and neglect led to poor living conditions. The neighborhood may have received more bad press in its day because of its location next to the high-income and predominately White neighborhood of the Gold Coast. But the Cabrini-Green community was also a place for families to grow, clubs to take place and community to be built. There are many examples of the positive aspects of the community that were present despite the lack of press these got in the public eye, including dances in the basements of buildings where people dressed their best, basketball tournaments, block party cookouts, church clubs for kids and teens, and much much more.

In 1997, the Chicago Housing Authority announced its Plan for Transformation with the goal of changing Cabrini-Green into a mixed-income community. Although the last high-rises were demolished in 2011, a population of residents still remain in the rowhouses (176 units that were renovated) and among many of the new buildings in this community.

The Chicago Lights Urban Farm land was secured by Fourth Presbyterian Church as a way to provide programming for residents, a space to bridge community, and a place to give voice to those who feel as though theirs do not matter. The land was sold to the CHA in 2013, but the Farm continues to work along-side the community to fulfill its shared goals.

Make a difference with Chicago Lights.

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Every dollar you give goes directly toward empowering youth in need.