CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) spoke out in favor of a new $32 million urban farming project announced today to be located in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

“Neighborhoods like Auburn Gresham are so often caught in a cycle of disinvestment, with each lost opportunity making them less attractive when the next one comes along,” Collins said. “What should be clear by now to all of us is that investment is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we give communities like this an opportunity to be part of the future, we can make that future a reality.”

Made possible in part by a $2 million Rebuild Illinois grant from the state, the Green Era Renewable Energy and Urban Farming Campus will focus on producing sustainable food, renewable energy, and using responsible waste disposal practices. A currently vacant, 9-acre lot will serve as the site, with construction scheduled to be completed by spring of 2022. Training and job creation are part of the project’s goals, according to Urban Grower’s Collective, which will operate the site.

A brownfield, the vacant lot will be decontaminated as part of the project through a $1 million loan from the Illinois EPA. Collins thanked the project’s leaders.

“Thank you for sowing seeds enabling us to reap this rich harvest today in Auburn Gresham,” Collins said. “Food deserts are the genesis of what has become a public health crisis in some of our urban areas today. The relationship between access to fresh foods and health, academic performance and overall quality of life is well-known. Urban farming, with job creation, is an investment to transform struggling neighborhoods like Auburn Gresham.”

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