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Fall 2017—Workshop #1: Season Kick-off

We had a great start of the Fall season — Andrew Balster, Executive Director of Archeworks (our host organization) joined us and shared their Healthy Food Access Project focused in Altgeld Gardens / Riverdale communities.

Altgeld Gardens is a neighborhood in the Riverdale community area (see map below) and one of the most Far South Side communities in Chicago (1:45 min to get there by public transit from the Loop). We are more familiar with Pullman, which most people might be more familiar with. 3,000 people live there.

“We proposed a process where we could learn together”—said Balster. The technical group that they assembled meets with neighbors consistently every week on Mondays for three months. "We organize tours, workshops, and invite speakers." The first event to be hosted as part of this initiative will be a public program, Thursday, September 28, 4-6pm.

One important part of this effort is learning together about case studies and best practices: recent precedent/visit to this group is Perry Avenue Farms (Sweetwater Foundation in Washington Park); they will continue to learn from other organizations focused on access to food.

Forest Preserve Cook County sites are accessed through Altgeld: Beaublen Woods—a potential connection to strengthen advocacy or combine resources for infrastructure (see map).

We also learned that Steven Vance first wrote about the transportation access problems in 2013 on Streetsblog Chicago: "At their most basic there was no sidewalk between the housing and the one grocery store, Rosebud Farms, and the CTA bus stops. Five years later, I believe that the city still hasn't built a sidewalk, even though residents started organizing in 2014 to demand one [...] CDOT said in 2015 that they would take on the task of improving access here, but I don't think there has been any outcome from that." You can see more of our notes in this google doc.

  • Some prompts for City Open to brainstorm about—as we advance our season, we'd like to understand how we could contribute to this ongoing effort:

  • Study: Data/Multiples of plans in place, overlap, aggregated (from Calumet Area to super local scale)

  • Research: What are other precedents of other forms of community-led initiatives? What good practices should we be looking at?

  • Success stories: What are success stories can we learn from? How do they work?

  • Survey: Where do you get your food from? Why is fresh food importance?


Workshop agenda + notes here.

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