Partnership will create dynamic urban organic farm and community garden project

Brinshore and the Chicago Botanic Garden are partnering to create a planned 1/3-acre community garden and 2-acre production farm at Legends South, which has been recognized this fall by Multifamily Executive Magazine as Mixed Income Project of the Year.

The award comes on the heels of another year of hard work and inspiring progress in the effort to rehab the former Robert Taylor Homes public housing project. That redevelopment effort, now known as Legends South, has transformed the housing market in the Bronzeville area. The Savoy Square development, the specific recipient of the magazine’s Project of the Year Award, is the fourth phase of the Legends South mixed-income redevelopment program, a program that has created over 500 fully occupied units of mixed-income housing since 2006. The Legends South developments are a testament to Brinshore’s commitment to sustainable building – a commitment that not only creates affordable housing, but benefits the surrounding community as well.

The establishment of the garden and urban farm is an innovation that, like so many Brinshore initiatives, is designed to foster replication in other mixed-income communities across the Midwest. The project will serve as a multi-functioning platform to benefit the community by providing greater
access to fruits and vegetables, teaching healthy eating and meal planning strategies, acting as a venue for employment and training, and increasing neighborhood engagement in outdoor activities.

Set to generate over 20,000 pounds of fresh food in its first pilot year, the Community Garden will be operated by the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program. The project will provide program trainees and employees with an expanded opportunity to grow and harvest vegetables at the farm. Produce from the farm will be sold at local farmer’s markets, to restaurants, and to low-income communities in need through subsidized markets and local WIC – Woman, Children and Infants – sites. The project will also provide a post-release employment opportunity for at-risk or formerly incarcerated youths and adults who have completed the Cook County Boot Camp program.

The Chicago Botanic Garden will work alongside Brinshore-Michaels – the master developer for Legends South – with residents of the community through focus groups and public meetings to determine how the community garden will be designed and what will be grown there. Botanic Garden
staff will help residents select crops appropriate for the seasons and work with them to plant and nurture the crops to harvest. Throughout the first two years of the program, the Botanic Garden will hold monthly workshops for community gardeners on a wide array of topics related to growing and harvesting crops in urban neighborhoods.

The community garden and farm are designed to bring the neighborhood together to encourage community engagement, healthy eating practices, employment opportunities, and a communal learning experience – as well as showcasing the enormous possibilities for organic urban farming and
gardening for all city residents. Brinshore views our collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden as a way to further revitalize the Legends South area, while bringing prosperity and a commitment to healthy living to the entire community.

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