Urban Farm

Our Urban Farm is a green oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
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We cultivate an engaged community through educational and employment opportunities and access to fresh, local, and sustainably grown produce.

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Overview

Education

Education is at the root of our Urban Farm programming. Thanks to a partnership with After School Matters, high school students get their hands dirty—literally working the farm while gaining transferable job skills.

Internships

Getting work experience isn’t easy. Especially for young people with barriers 
to employment—like low-income, homelessness, past court involvement, chronic unemployment, or no high school diploma.

Our Assistant Grower Internship helps young adults overcome these barriers and gain on-site training so they’re ready 
to take on their next job with confidence 
and expertise.

Community Garden

Want to grow your own food but don’t have the space? Get a plot at our Urban Farm. Community gardeners choose the foods they want to grow while getting support from our experts on staff. Be a part of our farm family while supporting local urban agriculture—it’s a win-win.

Microenterprise

We’re a fully functioning farm—and we’ve got a bounty of produce to share. Our microenterprises not only provide healthy, local food to the community, but also give teens and young adults invaluable work experience.

CSA Salad Shares

Our weekly salad shares take the guesswork out of shopping for produce. During the growing season, members receive a bag of seasonal, sustainably grown food through our Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program

Farmstand & Market

Get your favorite produce on-site at our Farmstand or at our market at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Choose from a wide variety of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and even flowers. When you get your food through Urban Farm, you’re directly supporting our job-training programs and boosting the local economy.

Farmstand

Saturdays, June 9–November 19 10:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Chicago Lights Urban Farm 444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Fourth Church Market

Every other Sunday, June–Nov
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Fourth Presbyterian Church 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago

Program
Details

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, including resume writing and mock interviews. Students are paid a stipend through After School Matters.

Schedule

Our Youth Workforce Development program takes place seasonally (fall, spring, and summer). The current spring season is March–May, Thursdays, 4:30–7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.; and select Fridays.

Location

Chicago Lights Urban Farm at 444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Occasionally field trips will take place 
off site.

Schedule Eligibility

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

Or email Director Ben Jaffe
 
bjaffe@chicagolights.org

Sign Up for Youth Workforce Development through After School Matters

Visit afterschoolmatters.org

Internship Program

General

Internships foster job-readiness skills (career preparation, knowledge of emerging industry needs, communication, critical thinking, decision-making, leadership, positive work habits) and on-site training (advanced urban agriculture techniques, crop planting and farm operations, market and wholesale account management, externship opportunities). Assistant Grower interns are paid an hourly wage.

Schedule

The Assistant Grower Internship is ten months, March–December. The position is part-time 
and hours vary.

Location

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

Student Eligibility

Applicants must be between the ages of 18–26; face one or more barriers to employment (have no/low income and/or receive public assistance; have previously experienced homelessness or be in supportive or transitional housing; have prior court-involvement or juvenile adjudications; be chronically under/unemployed; be without a GED or high school diploma; and/or be an emancipated foster care youth); and have interest in urban agriculture and gardening.

Community Garden
Eligibility

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 (additional donations are always welcome!), plus a mandatory five hours of Saturday volunteer work throughout the growing season. This includes a 3-foot by 9-foot plot (27 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. Gardeners who are unable to pay the entire membership fee can supplement by volunteering additional hours at the Farm (10 volunteer hours = $100).

CSA Salad Share
What's Included

A salad share is a weekly selection of seasonal produce that usually makes one to two meals 
or salads for one to two people. Each week has a $15 to $20 value and includes seven to eight items. Depending on your share selection, the weekly bag may include vegetables, eggs, and fruit. Each year we strive to incorporate customer feedback into 
the crops we grow and the share options that we offer. Each item is thoughtfully selected, creating 
a well-rounded batch of produce to use in your meal prep throughout the week.

Our CSA members know where and how their food is grown and who grows it. Most of your CSA produce is grown on site at our Urban Farm. You may also choose to receive eggs and fruits that are sourced from local farms who follow National Organic Program practices and aim to farm sustainably. While you cannot select which vegetables you receive each week, we include a diversity of crops over the course of the season. Examples include the following:

Summer

Lettuce, arugula, spinach, zucchini/summer squash, cherry tomatoes, salad turnips, beets, radishes, kale, swiss chard, onions, etc.

Late Summer & Fall

Kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, salad turnips, beets, zucchini/summer squash, butternut squash, scallions, onions, herbs, swiss chard, watermelons, cantaloupe, etc.

Membership Benefits

As a CSA member, you will:

  • Receive seasonal weekly vegetables and fruits grown on our farm and other local farms.
  • Know where and how your food is grown and who grows it.
  • Receive a weekly newsletter with recipes, upcoming produce, and education about farm programs and practices.
  • Receive discounts on purchases at the Urban Farm’s Farmstand.
  • Directly benefit your local community by supporting open, green spaces and boosting 
the local economy.
Pick-Up & Delivery Schedule

Shares are available each Friday and Saturday from June 7 through October 18, 2019 to pick up at the Urban Farm. Friday delivery is an option if you live or work in the delivery zone (east to Lake Michigan, west to Chicago River, north to Division, south to Ohio) or choose Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chestnut and North Michigan Avenue) as a delivery location.

Share Options
Full-Season Share

20 weeks of salad shares (June 7–October 18, 2019) Vegetables plus local eggs every other week

Half-Season Share

10 weeks of salad shares Summer: June 7–August 8, 2019, vegetables plus local eggs every other week Fall: August 16–October 18, 2019, vegetables plus local eggs and fruit/other produce from local farms every other week

Reduced-Price Share

You may qualify for our Reduced-Price Share (RPS) if you and/or your family qualify for Illinois SNAP benefits. If you already receive a monthly LINK Card or WIC Farmers Market Coupons, then you may sign up for our RPS. If you aren't sure if you qualify, more info is online here and also here.

CSA Sign Up: Coming Spring 2020

Farmstand
Schedule

The Farmstand is open on Saturdays 10:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m, June 9–November 19

Location

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

The Fourth Church Market
Schedule

The Fourth Church market is open every other Sunday, 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. June–November

Location

Anderson Hall or the Courtyard at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago

General

Produce varies based on the season, but items may include lettuce, spicy greens, kale, swiss chard, scallions, onions, peas, beans, radishes, salad turnips, squash and zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, heirloom large tomatoes, sweet peppers, beets, spinach, okra, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, flower bouquets, and more.

Make a difference
with Chicago Lights.

Volunteers make our life-changing work possible and help our students thrive.

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Get Involved

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

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