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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Saturdays, June 9–November 19 10:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Chicago Lights Urban Farm 444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Every other Sunday, June–Nov 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Fourth Presbyterian Church 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago
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.
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.
Chicago Lights Urban Farm at 444 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Occasionally field trips will take place off site.
Students in grades 9–12 who attend Chicago Public Schools are eligible.
Or email Director Ben Jaffe firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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).
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:
Lettuce, arugula, spinach, zucchini/summer squash, cherry tomatoes, salad turnips, beets, radishes, kale, swiss chard, onions, etc.
Kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, salad turnips, beets, zucchini/summer squash, butternut squash, scallions, onions, herbs, swiss chard, watermelons, cantaloupe, etc.
As a CSA member, you will:
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.
Volunteers make our life-changing work possible and help our students thrive.
Build brighter futures. Change lives. Volunteer with Chicago Lights!Get Involved
Every dollar you give goes directly toward empowering youth in need.