1244 North Clybourn
Chicago, IL 60627
City Farm is a mobile farm located at the intersection of Division and Clybourn in Chicago. It borders both Cabrini Green, a Chicago public housing project, and the Gold Coast neighborhood. There is slightly over an acre of land at the main site, which has been in existence for three years. City Farm is an initiative of The Resource Center, a non-profit environmental education organization. Ken Dunn is the founder and director of The Resource Center, and Kristine Greiber is City Farms project director.
City Farm produces an assortment of fresh produce and is particularly noted for its many varieties of prized heirloom tomatoes. Kristine and Ken sell the Farms produce to such notable Chicago restaurants as Frontera Grill, North Pond, Lula Café, and The Rustic Kitchen. But visitors to the farm can also purchase products right on site. City Farm is not certified organic, in large part because each plot of land is only used temporarily, but they employ organic practices The City of Chicago allows the Resource Center to farm vacant land for free, but when the City decides to develop the land, Resource Center must find a new plot to farm.
City Farm is larger than the products it produces. Kristine says, We’re not just growing tomatoes. We have a whole model of sustainability we want to create.” The gardens can provide jobs within their communities, educate people about organic farming, and build community-sustained operations that provide nutritious, great tasting products to people in underserved neighborhoods.
Why is growing organic a priority for you?
The dominant food production system is neither environmentally nor socially sustainable. We see smaller scale production that shifts primary benefit from the middlemen to the producers and consumers, as a step in the right direction. We are proud to foster human and environmental health within and beyond the city.
Whats your favorite part of being an organic farmer?
The relationships. I enjoy learning about, and working with the produce I grow on a level of direct interaction. This contact continues uninterrupted as I transfer the produce to people I have relationships with. I create a link between people and their food that is often a new experience for people of the city.
Why should people buy organic products instead of other options?
Buying organically grown products is an act of responsible consumption. It allows a person to ensure quality and health benefits for him/herself while enhancing the well being of the entire community. These effects are even more pronounced when the product is locally produced on top of being organic.
What makes your farm special?
Our farm completes the cycle entirely within the city. We collect food waste and plant material from the city, compost it, and subsequently grow fresh and local produce for the people of the city. In the process, jobs are created, valuable resources are recovered from the waste stream, and people of the city learn, see and taste the beauty of local agriculture.
Where can consumers get your products?
City Farm is located on the corner of Division and Clybourn, straddling the divide between the Gold Coast and the remaining Cabrini Green buildings. We sell at the farmstead and plan to attend multiple markets in the city.