Letter From Janelle,
Executive Director
Now is our absolute favorite time of the year on the farm. The vibrant colors from the harvest along with the crisp, cool air make for a magnificent, peaceful slice of bliss.  This summer & fall, Covid-19 has changed our day to day but we remain Growing Strong!
Our Employment Training program pivoted to a robust, hybrid curriculum with farm training groups in the morning and virtual classrooms in the afternoon. Our Production Assistants have shown their dedication as we continue to teach our curriculums successfully. Our 1st graduation this year was amidst the pandemic and although broadcasted via Zoom, it was very heartfelt to witness the appreciation from the graduates and our staff!

Farm leadership, led by Fred and Willie, modified procedures to impressively continue to keep everything vibrant and fruitful on the farm. This was no small task with new distancing protocol and smaller farmer groups. We invite you to join us to embrace the beauty and peace on the farm. 

During this time we have also partnered with new organizations in the community. With these new collaborations, we have been able to achieve 90% summer distribution to Englewood residents at no cost to them! Our community engagement has truly shown creativity and tenacity with online cooking shows, nutrition classes for the youth and even participating with community orgs with socially-distanced events, just to name a few. In August we held our second virtual event! The development team stepped it up with our Iron Chef Style Virtual Cook-Off Fundraiser! It was a fun-filled event for everyone! So much so, that we are discussing turning this into an annual event - look out for more to come. 

Just like the hearty tomatoes on our farm, we all are strong and still growing. We hope you enjoy reading about our latest news from the farm and our community. We extend an invitation for you to join us at one of our upcoming events!

Stay well --
Our 2020 Hybrid Employment Training Program

💻 Provided hotspots with unlimited data plans & laptops to PA's without access
📕 Redeveloped with virtual training workshops, job-readiness & environmental literacy curriculum
⭐️ One-on-one case management & emotional resiliency curriculum
😷 Small group training on the farm to stay in line with safe practices
🎓 1 virtual graduation and 2 more to go!
👥 50+ production assistants through our 2020 Employment Training program

🎉 Congratulations to our Cohort 1 graduates: Stacy, Dewayne, Eugene, Shana, Paula, Keith, Gabriel, Deshawn, Elijah, Ariela, Derrick, Jermaine & Anna 🎉
Our dedicated, audacious team led by Fred, Director of Urban Farm, and Willie, Farm & Program Manager, have kept us still growing and producing beautiful food!
Thank you to all the incredible partner organizations who've helped us distribute our food in Chicago!
Community Engagement led by LaQuandra Fair has been incredible:
💚 8+ Amazing masked-volunteer groups!
📚 Participated in Back to School community events serving over 100 students
🥣 Weekly Growing Home Kitchen demos with our farm fresh organic food
🌱 A full summer of virtual gardening & nutrition courses with Boys & Girls club
🚲 Hosted a rest stop for Think Outside da Block's Roll N Peace Event! This event addresses public safety concerns while addressing neighborhood health & wellness
Organizational Excellence
Growing Home on Chicago TV!
As part of their Chicago Tonight "In Your Neighborhood Series", Brandis Friedman and WTTW came to visit Growing Home & learn about our work and the good in Englewood.

Our Virtual Cookoff Fundraiser
On August 27, we hosted our first ever live Iron Chef-Style Cookoff competition virtually. Iron Chef Americana Judge Mario Rizzotti held the competition with local Chicago dueling chefs Bernard Bennett and Rick Rodriguez (the champion). It was amazing!

Leadership Transition
We had a very successful Executive Director transition - saying goodbye and a great thank you to outgoing director Danielle Perry - and a huge welcome and congrats to our new Executive Director Janelle St. John!

Upcoming Events
October 16 Cohort 2 Graduation
October 16-25 Open House Chicago @ Growing Home
December 3 Giving Tuesday
December 11 Cohort 3 Graduation
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Want to get more involved? 
Please contact LaQuandra Fair, lfair@growinghomeinc.org
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