Help Build Iron Street Farm on Chicago's Southside

Nov 3, 2011

First Lady, Michelle Obama, visits Iron Street!


We were so excited to have the First Lady, Michelle Obama, come visit the farm on October 25th with Mayor Emanuel. Mrs. Obama and Mayor Emanuel came for a tour of Iron Street Urban Farm after holding a press conference at a Walgreens in Chicago's Chatham community, located on the City's south side. The Chatham Walgreens and 19 others in the city will start offering vegetables and other fresh food in communities that lack fresh and healthy food options.

In her continued efforts to address and fight childhood obesity and food insecurity, the First Lady came to Iron Street to see how Growing Power and the local community have been working towards producing healthy and sustainably grown food in urban environments. While touring the facility, Mrs. Obama got her hands dirty in our vermicomposting bins and examined our aquaponics systems and oyster mushroom production.

Over a dozen of our youth, many who reside in food desert communities, were also given the opportunity to meet and interact with the First Lady!


So if you haven't already, please find a time to come out and take a tour of Iron Street Urban Farm. It is growing and evolving every day and we'd love the opportunity to share our work with you. Call our Chicago office to set up an appointment, 773.376.8882.


Please continue supporting this project that is now getting national recognition!

First Lady interacting with Growing Power youth.
First Lady interacting with Growing Power youth.


Aug 18, 2011

Summer at Iron Street

Iron Street
Iron Street

This has been a busy busy summer for Growing Power and Iron Street Urban Farm.

On June 21st, Growing Power held the grand opening of Iron Street Urban Farm. That morning WGN featured the new farm on their "Around Town" segment. In the evening over 250 individuals from the surrounding community and beyond came to support and celebrate the grand opening of this new food hub for Chicago. The event included tours presented by Growing Power staff, live bluegrass music, and delicious food served by our own chef on staff as well as our local restaurant partners. Over $4,000 was raised to assist in the continued development of the farm. Thank you to everyone that was able to come out to the event. We would love to hear your feedback!

The following week, Iron Street Urban Farm jumped right into our youth programming, which provides green job training opportunities for at-risk youth throughout the City. Growing Power was able to employ 45 youth at Iron Street Farm from communities such as Wentworth Gardens, Englewood, and Bronzeville in sustainable agriculture and community food security in an urban environment. Teen participants engaged in activities such as compost production, seeding, transplanting, mushroom cultivation, garden and farm design, and culinary appreciation.

Our youth even got to participate in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's second press conference held at the site! On July 26th, Mayor Emanuel came back to Iron Street Farm to further address urban agriculture, food policy and security, and the ability to use this industry as a tool for economic development and job creation. They Mayor himself praised our youth for all they've accomplished and the hard work they've devoted to bettering their community.

Thank you again for all your support. If you haven't had an opportunity to come out and see Iron Street Farm, please contact our Chicago office to arrange a tour!

Iron Street youth with mushroom chandelier
Iron Street youth with mushroom chandelier
Iron Street youth transplanting
Iron Street youth transplanting
Mayor Emanuel with Erika Allen
Mayor Emanuel with Erika Allen
Mayor and Iron St.
Mayor and Iron St.'s aquaponics


May 19, 2011

Save the Date! June 21, Grand Opening of Iron St.

Please come join us next month for the grand opening of Iron Street Urban Farm. We will join with Growing Power supporters and the local community to celebrate how far we've come and the potential for this site to become a true community food center in Chicago.

We can't wait to share with you all that we've accomplished!


May 10, 2011

1 day, 2 states, 13 queens, and 33,000 bees

bee hives at sunset.
bee hives at sunset.

It's been an exciting month for Iron Street Urban Farm!

After months of waiting, the bees have arrived! 33,000 italian honey bees traveled in the back of our trunk from Milwaukee to Iron Street Urban Farm last night and we could not be more excited. Take a look at the 6 bee hives we now have installed on the roof of Iron Street. One of our youth, Malcom, helped our beekeeper with the installation!

Other news:

The other week we had some wonderful volunteers from Wellpoint Foundation construct the frame to our second hoop house. With their hard work, we were able to finish it in less than 4 hours!

Also, we have the infrastructure set for our first three aquaponics systems! These were build by our youth over the course of the past month. We should have them up and running by the end of May.

Fresh honey and tilapia, does it get any better than that?


Want to come and check out Iron Street Urban Farm and see all this progress for yourself? Well, here is your chance! June 21st, Growing Power and its Chicago Advisory Board will be hosting a Grand Opening Summer Solstice BBQ for the new site. Come celebrate all the work we've accomplish with delicious food, drink, and music! More details to come soon.

And once again, thank you to all our supporters! We can't wait to see you in June!

Malcom helping with installation.
Malcom helping with installation.
plants sprouting in our hoop house.
plants sprouting in our hoop house.
2nd hoop house.
2nd hoop house.
aquaponics systems
aquaponics systems
Mar 23, 2011

Help us build our first aquaponics system!

Growing Power Chicago would like to take another moment to thank all of you that have so generously donated to the development of Iron Street Urban Farm...because of your donations we have 25 compost bins, over 60 vermicomposting bins, 6 bee hives, and a hoop house constructed. Our next goal is to have our first aquaponics system installed by next month!!

Last week, a handful of our youth went up to Growing Power's headquarters in Milwaukee to participate in its monthly "From the Ground Up" workshops. There, they got first hand experience building an aquaponics system that will raise over 1,000 tilapia or lake perch as well as grow a variety of greens and other veggies. They will use these skills to assist in implementing a larger system at Iron Street Urban Farm that will have the capacity hold up to 10,000 fish! 

Help us keep this great momentum up! We look forward to selling delicious, mercury-free fish to the surrounding Chicago area as well as teaching others how to construct and maintain aquaponics systems and, therefore, provide fresh food to even more communities that need it. If you can't wait until we start workshops in Chicago, consider attending one of Growing Power's "From the Ground Up" workshops up in Milwuakee.

Thank you again for all the wonderful support and we look forward to seeing you on the farm this upcoming season!


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Project Leader

Erika Allen

Chicago, IL United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Help Build Iron Street Farm on Chicago's Southside