Native Seed Farm
Partner: Chicago Botanic Garden
In 2009 to 2010, the
Archeworks design team played a lead role in the physical and programmatic design of a Native Seed Farm Pilot Project located at two sites in Bridgeport. In collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program, the initiative provided temporary job training and employment opportunities for young men leaving the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp—an alternative sentencing program for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes.
The Native Seed Farm grew Midwest prairie species that are becoming increasingly rare due to habitat loss and degradation. The project addressed the inadequate quantities of seed currently available for their restoration. Since land suitable for food crops is a particular issue for urban agriculture in Chicago, native seed farming may offer a viable additional alternative. There are over 70,000 vacant lots in Chicago, most of them are brownfields and remediation is often cost-prohibitive. The goal of the Native Seed Farming Project is to establish non-food perennial plants that can grow in poor soil, create attractive greenspace, provide urban habitat for pollinators and birds, and yield a marketable product. Additionally, Archeworks developed a public awareness campaign to bring this unique platform that deals with various social, economic and environmental issues, to a wider audience.
The Native Seed Farm opened in Bridgeport on Oct. 27, 2010. To learn more about our collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Cook County's Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center (formerly Sheriff's Bootcamp program), click here.