The Green Youth Farm is a result of the partnership between the Chicago Botanic Garden and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. In 2001, NHS’ North Lawndale office worked with NeighborSpace to have the vacant city-owned lots adjacent to the neighborhood office secured to create an attractive green space. In 2003, the Chicago Botanic Garden approached NHS with the Green Youth Farm concept to utilize this vacant lot.
The Green Youth Farm provides high school students from North Lawndale College Prep, Manley High School, Collins High School, Farragut High School, and Marshall High School an opportunity to grow produce, learn food preparation techniques and sell produce at local farmers markets. North Lawndale is often called a "food desert" because of the lack of fresh nutritional foods available. The Farm provides the area with fresh produce that is central to the neighborhoods’ sustainability. Community residents can purchase the food grown by GYF at the North Lawndale Farmer’s Market at the corner of Homan and Roosevelt in the Covenant Bank parking lot on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. GYF accepts LINK, credit/debit cards, Senior Farmer’s Market and WIC Farmer’s Market coupons.
“The partnership between Chicago Botanic Garden and NHS is an example of the good that can come from collective efforts by non-profits and community residents. The benefits are incalculable as local high school students develop life sustaining skills; good food is produced for the community, and the aesthetic appeal of the community is enhanced as vacant lots are being put to an exceptional use,” said NHS Neighborhood Director, Charles Leeks.”
The Green Youth farm continues to serve as a model for community organizations and block clubs across Chicago's west and south sides and provide the neighborhood with fresh produce options.