Chicago Lights Urban Farm Indoor Culinary Garden Project

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2023: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Chicago Lights
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Manager:
Joi Brooks
Chicago Lights
Project Co-Managers:
Stacy Jackson
Chicago Lights
Paxton Suggs
Chicago Lights


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, mentoring, participatory research, youth education
  • Production Systems: hydroponics

    Proposal abstract:

    Our paid teen farm internship is adding a culinary component that consists of both piloting the University of Illinois Extension's 4-H "Food Action Academy" curriculum and learning actual cooking and nutrition skills by working with Chicago Lights Social Service Center (CLSSC) and Fourth Presbyterian Church's (FPC) hot and bagged food program which prepares more than 3,000 meals a month for those experiencing a lack of access to food.

    To further secure the sustainability of this program in relation to food costs, the students will create an indoor culinary garden by designing and installing portable grow-racks in our meeting room.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Students will design and build portable grow racks that encompass a variety of growing styles including container, hydroponic, aquaponic, vertical, soil-based, etc.
    2. Students will use the produce they grow at the Urban Farm to augment the ingredients of the meals that they help to design, prepare, and distribute through the partner organizations’ meals program.
    3. Students will consistently document and share their process, progress, and results with the wider community through social media campaigns, and in-person educational workshops with our partners, and pursue entry into 4-H events/conferences relevant to this project.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.