Developing the Country’s First Agricultural-eco District and Nature Trail in Englewood

In the once-redlined neighborhood of Englewood on Chicago’s South Side, decades of financial disinvestment have had enduring effects. Today, what urban green space exists has largely been polluted by industrial waste, and the community has little-to-no access to healthy, locally-grown produce.

With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, Grow Greater Englewood (GGE), a nonprofit organization working to create sustainable local food economies and land sovereignty for Englewood residents, will develop the country’s first agricultural-eco district, a project that will transform more than ten acres of polluted land into a thriving natural site for recreation, exercise, and regenerative agriculture.

GGE will leverage support from the Bezos Earth Fund to help raise the last $16M they need to begin construction on a 1.75-mile nature trail on a former rail corridor, a project almost two decades in the making. The trail will be one component of the larger Agro-Eco District initiative.

The Agro-Eco District will be developed according to legally binding guidelines that will ensure that urban greening projects continue to benefit the community rather than pricing them out through gentrification. The project will include the acquisition and remediation of more than ten acres of land for community gardens along the trail; the establishment of the Englewood Conservation Corps, a workforce training program for community youth; and the Ujima Hive, a “resiliency hub” offering respite from heatwaves.

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