West Side Technical Institute, a Richard J. Daley College, is one of City Colleges of Chicago's Vocational
Education Campuses located at 2800 So. Western Ave. West Side Technical Institute has a large, 2,000 square foot, modern
green house with 36 outdoor growing plots and 2,000 square feet of processing and refrigeration space, which is
currently being re purposed for an Integrated Urban Agriculture Project.
MEDA receives large volumns of fresh food from Chicago's International Produce Market, (The Water Market), a
modern 26 acre, 436,000 sq. foot state-of-the-art processing and food manufacturing economic development zone, 12 blocks
east of MEDA's facility.
Fresh produce, fruits and packaged food arrive each day at MEDA's facility from around the US and the world through MEDA's
relationship with The International Produce Market and other trucking companies and producers. MEDA receives
over 1.5 million pounds of food each year and turns down an additional 1.5 to 2 million pounds of food they cannot handle.
To view a 4 minute streaming video (Windows Media)
of MEDA's Food
Bank, click here.
Over 275 dump trucks a day are hauling produce waste from the International Produce Market to a landfill in Morris,
IL. This food waste is a valuable commodity once it is turned into organic compost for soil enrichment.
MEDA has an Illinois Department of Agriculture AgriFirst Grant to study fresh food access, distribution and disposal
of un-used produce for composting and vermiculture compost. West Side Technical Institute recently formed a partnership
with the University of Illinois Extension Service in Cook County to provide training in a number of areas including horticulture,
urban gardening, composting and food preparation. These classes are available at West Side Technical Institute's
campus starting this Fall 2006. Click here to view a 10 minute streaming video
. A major focus of the IL Dept. of Agriculture AGRIFIRST Grant is to establish the economic criteria for a commercial
scale compost facility in Pembroke, IL.
Olive Harvey College is another City Colleges of Chicago campus on Chicago's Southside with over 30 acres of vacant land.
Arrangements have been made with Olive Harvey College's Chemical Lab for soil science studies on composting
and soil enrichment under the AGRIFIRST GRANT. This project features some of the objectives of the
City of Chicago's "Green Chicago Inititative".
All phases of the Integrated Urban Agriculture Project focus on the development of best practices for Urban Agriculture
and Food Security and are tied to commercial upscaling this applied research to the commerical scale facility in Pembroke, IL, click here for the Pembroke Phase of this project.
Training materials and courses developed through this program will be available online for Chicago and Illinois residents
to access on-demand through the Internet. Digital Workforce Education Society provides the distance education technology
for videoconferencing and live webcasts from the Green House and outdoor plot and from the commercial scale compost facility
in Pembroke, IL.