Hello all! You'll have to excuse me for the potentially awkward language I may or may not use. I am not a seasoned blogger, so I'm not familiar with "hip blog lingo." Just to introduce myself, my name is KC (Kathryn Cori); I am going into my fourth and final (fingers crossed) year at Shimer College. I have gone to Shimer for my entire undergrad career, so it truly is my academic home.
While I was looking at colleges in high school, a large part of Shimer's intrigue for me was its home in Chicago. I believed that being situated in a large, thriving city would offer an education that would enhance classroom discussions, and I'm not bashful in boasting the correctness of that belief! There are unique and creative activities and organizations happening on every corner of this city that give reality to the ideas and theories we discuss around the octagonal table. Something that has really struck me during my stay here Chicago are the urban agricultural projects. With Chicago being such a "foodie town," it’s hard not to pay attention to the higher quality of local food, as well as the fair ethical practices that embedded in locally grown food. As my interests rose, I discovered an incredible organization located right in my own neighborhood called Growing Power.
Growing Power is a unique urban farming project in that they also place a strong emphasis on social justice. A rather troubling reality of life in Chicago is the lingering segregation that has not been fairly addressed. Even today, the far south and west sides of Chicago are nearly all black neighborhoods. With unsafe living environments, poor education, few job opportunities, and lying in the midst of food deserts, the people in these neighborhoods grow up to remain stagnant in the oppression that was long ago imposed upon their ancestors and conveniently forgotten. Growing Power's mission is to amend this injustice through the universal necessity and love of food. Originally started in Milwaukee by Will Allen, his daughter Erika brought the project to Chicago to establish farms and community gardens throughout Chicago, thus providing the community with healthy, local food, as well as provide jobs and educational training to people of color throughout the city.
I was lucky enough to land an internship with Growing Power this summer! Throughout the next few months, I will be learning what it takes to be a farmer through good ol' fashioned manual labor. With 8-12 hour days, six days a week, it is sure to be a crash course that I won't forget! I have just finished my first week with the program. I am exhausted but unscathed. I can already tell that it will be a life (and arm muscle) changing summer for me. I anxiously tap my foot, ready for Monday to come! I don't want to bog my loyal readers down with too many details, so I will refrain from talking about my day-to-day tasks for now. In the true Shimer fashion, feel free to share with me any questions or knowledge you may have on the topic of urban agriculture or social justice! Let us take this journey together!