City of Chicago Launching Urban Farming Initiative

Chicago Mayor Launches New Initiative To Transform Empty Lots to Thriving Urban Farms

Hey look, Rahm Emmanuel is behind something that isn’t completely despicable!

I think it’s a good thing that the municipal government of Chicago is getting behind turning abandoned lots in the inner city over to food production.   That’s definitely better than leaving blighted properties standing and bringing the rest of the neighborhood down, hoping that some day a Starbucks will sprout there.

Reading between the lines in this article, I have a feeling that the project is off to a bad start.    They say there are about 15,000 lots abandoned lots in the city of Chicago and it could cost up to $250,000 to get a single lot ready for production.   Bullshit.   It only costs that much when “the machine” is involved.   I guarantee that someone who wants to get a lot prepared for urban farming can get that done for a tiny fraction of that figure.     I also wonder about doling the lots out to people with agricultural training/experience.   Do they think they’re going to find a lot of idle trained farmers sitting around inner city Chicago?  If they’re going the route of offering some kind of classes or instruction to people willing to learn and maybe offering something like a county extension office, that’s probably a good idea.

Hopefully my skepticism is unwarranted and the people in these neighborhoods are able to end the “food desert”, make their neighborhood a little more vibrant and spur a little economic growth.