SUST 350’s Workday at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm

This past Wednesday was the third week for my SUST 350 Service & Sustainability class doing work at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm in Cabrini-Green. We help out on a variety of chores and projects at the farm on our Wed afternoon work sessions. Last week we pulled weeds, sifted compost, and harvested thousands of pumpkin seeds from some of last year’s leftover pumpkins. This week we sifted more compost, pulled weeds, and began work on constructing the 2nd hoop house for the farm. Here are some photos I took during that day’s activities.

Our class sessions on Wednesdays start with a discussion from 3-4pm, during which students give short “Farm Reports” on different urban farm operations around the country, and the class as a whole discusses that week’s assigned readings from Lorraine Johnson’s excellent book, City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing. Then, we get together with Growing Power’s Youth Corps kids from the neighborhood, do a few warm-up activities for exercise and community-bonding, and hit the chore list for that day. Our work session ends at 5:30 so students can get to their next class — but most of us are reluctant to stop because it’s so much fun . . . especially when you can work together getting your hands dirty for a good cause.

Here are a few photos from this week.

Josh gives his Farm Report at the picnic area, which doubles as our outside classroom.

Starting work on the farm's 2nd hoop house.

Rows of soil, built onsite from compost, sit atop the old basketball court -- ready for upcoming spring planting.

Steph (L) and Maria sift compost from the worm bin. The result is beautiful, rich, fine soil collected in the tub below the screen; the leftovers are added back into other composting bins.

Watering the compost bins at bit now and again helps speed the decomposition process; these bins can produce good compost in 6-9 months. Not your typical agricultural landscape, eh?

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  1. Pingback: SUST 350 Service & Sustainability Work at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm | Sustainability Studies @ Roosevelt University

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