2019 Grant Recipients

Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Mission:
The Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) co-develops, facilitates, and advocates for policies to manifest food sovereignty in Chicago and across Illinois. For CFPAC, food sovereignty is the right for Chicagoans, in particular for BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People/Person(s) of Color), to produce and access fair, sustainable, nutritious, affordable, and culturally significant food.

Project:
CFPAC will use funding from the CHIditarod Foundation to support monthly meetings and workshops as part of the Urban Stewards Action Network. The Urban Stewards Action Network (USAN) is an action-based transformational network supported by CFPAC focused on Black/Brown relationship building to cultivate connections and provide peer-based mutual support. The goals of this effort include educating urban farmers and growers on grassroots policy-making and strengthening relationship building across siloed communities to enact food sovereignty and food justice in Chicago.

Dignity Diner

Mission:
Dignity Diner is a free, low-barrier hot meals program offered every Tuesday at 6:00pm at the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in the Lake View neighborhood. Since 1992, Dignity Diner has invited guests of all kinds to a three-course, table service meal free of charge. Dignity Diner ministry is a place where respect is always on the menu.

Project:
Dignity Diner is a low-cost, high-impact emergency food program that operates on a budget of less than $20,000 per year. Funds from the CHIditarod Foundation will provide meals to the Diner’s 40-60 weekly guests for more than 16 weeks, providing over 950 meals served with dignity and respect.

Figueroa Wu Family Foundation

Mission:
The Figueroa Wu Family Foundation was founded in 2017 to serve in areas of unmet need. Its primary Chicago-based project is the UI Health Pilsen Food Pantry, which distributes food to residents in the Pilsen community and beyond 5 days a week. Presently, the average pantry client has a family size of 3.2 people and receives 43 pounds per visit which includes over 60 servings of fruits and vegetables. Figueroa Wu is currently working to expand its offerings to include to legal aid services in partnership with John Marshall Law School.

Project:
The IU Health Pilsen Food Pantry sustains itself primarily through volunteer labor, food rescue, and in-kind donations. Funding from the CHIditarod Foundation will provide the pantry with more than 10% of its annual operating budget in 2020.

Gardeneers


Mission:
Gardeneers cultivates customized school garden programs in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to ensure that each space, and the students and communities who care for them, connect with healthy food and grow to their full potential. Gardeneers has been instrumental in building school gardening programs in CPS and helping to get the food that students grow into the cafeterias where they eat every day.

Project:
Funding from the CHIditarod Foundation will be used to support the Gardeneers’ Student-Run Community Farm Stand program, building community ties with gardening efforts and moving the food produced by Chicago students out of school grounds and into their broader communities.

Garfield Park Community Council

Mission:
The Garfield Park Community Council (GPCC) is a community-building organization made up of dedicated residents and allies working together to develop leaders and create opportunities and programs that build a vital Garfield Park community. The GPCC’s primary wellness efforts seek to improve community health by increasing green spaces through the Garfield Park Garden Network and Neighborhood Market, a coalition of 32 green spaces and community gardens which grow food and improve food security in an area with few retail grocery options.

Project:
Funds from the CHIditarod Foundation will support garden improvements for the Garfield Park Garden Network, with a focus on 8+ year-old, resident-led gardens. Expenses enabled by this grant include soil, compost, fertilizer, wood for raised beds, and grower training, to help residents increase food production and access in Garfield Park.

Good Worx! Inc.

Mission:
Good Worx Inc., located in Darien, IL, serves neighboring communities with their Sunny Patch community growing project. They have spent the past five growing seasons raising awareness about food insecurity in their community and working with at-risk families to provide growing spaces for them to grow some of their own garden fresh produce. All foods grown throughout our network are shared with select families in our growing network and three local food pantry partners.

Project:
Funding from the CHIditarod Foundation will be used to support new, monthly community dinners at the Sunny Patch, where Good Worx! Inc. will feature freshly harvested garden yields and ways to prepare and grill the foods. These community gatherings aim to further engage local neighbors in discussing food access and issues related to food justice.

Star Farm

Mission:
Star Farm Chicago is an urban farm in the Back of the Yards neighborhood that seeks to increase accessibility and affordability of locally grown organic produce through our mobile farmstand, farmer’s market. Star Farm also provides vegetable and pollinator friendly garden buildouts at sliding scale rates to households and organizations on the Southside, which is especially important in creating a resilient food economy, and bringing gardening and nutrition education into safe spaces.

Project:
Funding from the CHIditarod Foundation will be used to support Star Farm’s MobileMarket, a free mobile produce pop-up operated in partnership with the Port Ministries Bread Truck, which serves free sandwiches, chips, and juice to children in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, helping kids and their families access fresh produce in places where emergency food is already sought.

Ujaama Co-op Farmers Market

Mission:
Ujamaa Co-op Farmers Market is a USDA-certified non-profit organization serving seniors and families living in low income and gentrifying neighborhoods in Chicago who receive SNAP benefits, Illinois Senior Farmers’ Market Checks and Illinois WIC Farmers’ Market Checks.

Project:
Funding from the CHIditarod Foundation will assist Ujaama Co-op Farmers Market in bringing fresh locally grown foods and products to low- income neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area by sustaining the organization’s community farm (located on Chicago’s south side) building its distribution efforts, and reaching out to all 43 senior homes in the Chicago Housing Alliance network.

Advocates for Urban Agriculture

Advocates for Urban Agriculture empowers urban growers to foster thriving communities through sustainable agriculture and equitable food systems. To pursue this mission in the Chicago region, AUA educates and trains urban agriculture practitioners, endorses best practices for growing operations, connects growers, consumers, & resources through an active network, and advocates for urban agriculture policy at all levels.

In support of AUA and the enormous impact it has on the capacity of local growing projects and food sovereignty efforts to not only survive but thrive, the CHIditarod Foundation has, for the first time ever, established a sustaining gift program, offering AUA $5,000 per year for the next 3 years in support of its ongoing efforts to make Chicago’s neighborhood garden networks a more verdant, healthy support structure for Chicagoans across the region.

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