Daley College Graduates New Crop of Urban Farmers

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationStudents in the Sustainable Urban Horticulture Program, a continuing education program through Richard J. Daley College, have been planting, harvesting and tending to gardens on Chicago’s South Side.  In just nine months, the 2013 graduating class helped produce 75,000 pounds of produce, learning both in greenhouse and outdoor growing practices.

Through a partnership with Windy City Harvest and the Chicago Botanic Garden, students received six months of hands-on instruction in urban farming and sustainable horticulture at Arturo Velazquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Avenue, a satellite of Daley College. The students worked in the hoop house and aquaponic farm, where they grew organic produce and raised fresh fish year-round using a symbiotic, closed-loop system. Then, each student completed a three-month paid internship at a local farm, greenhouse or horticulture organization. At the end of the program, students presented a Crop Plan, the equivalent of a business plan for a small farm including planting, pricing, harvesting, sales and marketing.

The program celebrated the graduation of its fifth class on October 17th. Students earned an Advanced Certificate in Sustainable Horticulture and Urban Agriculture, and receive job placement assistance. For more information on Continuing Education program offerings, call City Colleges of Chicago at 773-COLLEGE.

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