Chicago – Our Vacation From Vacation!

Blog / Chicago – Our Vacation From Vacation!

photoSome days of our trip can be pretty rough, battling mile after mile (we just passed mile 1,000 – woo!), while others are pretty cushy. When scheduling out our route, we always knew we would stop in Chicago to see one of our best friends, Sarah, but we couldn’t be sure as to how long our stay would actually be. Thankfully we have been very much keeping to our schedule, allowing us to enjoy a full 3 days which we have dubbed #vacationfromvacation!

To catch you up a bit, after our stay in Cleveland we headed out to visit our friend Dave at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for a couple of nights. From there we trekked across the state of Michigan, enjoying flat landscapes and ridiculously good produce (cherry season = many stops at farm stands).

We arrived in Lakeside, MI on the 3rd to Sarah’s lake house on Lake Michigan. The next day we made our first stop to Granor Farm, a farm located just down the road from the house in Three Oaks, MI. Granor Farm is a 25 acre plot growing USDA-certified organic vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits.  Their produce are available through their on-farm store, CSA program, and local restaurants. We interrupted the farmers playing with the chickens and ducks work to get a tour and learn more about their operation.  The farm started back in 2009 when its founders purchased 10 acres of land, noticing a lack of local, organic farming in the area. With the distinction of being an organic farm, there is a strong focus on soil quality through both old and new techniques. To strengthen its connection with the community, the farm has also started to host monthly potluck dinners this year. Each potluck will have a theme to highlight what vegetables are in season. The first get-together took place on June 23 and featured leafy greens. Future potlucks are expected to focus on crops such as squash and tomatoes. While a relatively small operation with two full-time employees and three interns, Granor Farms produces over 70 produces and continues to grow, pun

Next our vacation brought us into Chicago where we visited the Chicago Lights Urban Farm The farm’s mission is to empower youth and community residents in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood to have increased economic opportunities through access to organic produce, nutritional education, work force training, and microenterprise development. It also provides a safe sanctuary and programs for children and youth to learn about urban agriculture. Beginning as a community garden in the neighborhood in 2003, it became an Urban Farm in 2010 through an expanded relationship between Chicago Lights and Growing Power –a nonprofit organization empowering communities by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high quality, safe, and affordable food. Having heard a lot about Growing Power and it’s founder, Will Allen, we were really excited to see this farm. While at the site we saw the youth corp program in action which employees 15 teens during the year and 30 during the summer months. Additionally, the farm is host to a summer program for children ages 5-13. The teens are involved photo-4in all facets of the farm including planting and maintaining crops and even setting prices for the produce they grow. The children’s program focuses on growing a mix of things which can be readily eaten (tomatoes, strawberries, etc.) and plants which are fun to watch through the growing process such as watermelon and pumpkins. While continuing to grow their outreach program, the farm also built a greenhouse this past November which will allow for increased growing as well as the ability to host more educational classes at the site. This year the farm also has plans to implement an aquaponics system to improve soil quality. It was really awesome to hear about how popular this farm has become amongst its community and to see everyone working together.

And with that, and way too much eating (I blame America’s birth for that one), our vacation from vacation is coming to an end. We hit the road tomorrow headed for Iowa!

Take care,

Dol & Dar


Blog / Chicago – Our Vacation From Vacation!

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