These Chicago Urban Farmers Are Growing Local Food in the Wake of Steel Industry Pollution


The steel mills on the Southeast side of Chicago were once an economic engine that allowed workers to put food on the table for their families. But that financial security came at a cost. In its wake, the industry has left asthmatic children, brownfields, and slag-filled marshes.

In the face of those environmental injustices, Chicago’s Southeast side community has come together to create green spaces that educate and feed residents and serve as meeting points. With the help of organizations like Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), community-focused environmental nonprofits like Urban Growers Collective (UGC) are spearheading efforts to make green spaces more just and equitable in areas that have been historically divested by the city
— and reverse the harm that has been done to the land and its residents.

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