SCORE provided federal and IL State NMTC allocation to the Green Era Sustainability Campus to make feasible the remediation of a 9-acre brownfield site and construction of a food and waste processing facility on Chicago’s south side. The Project combines an innovative model of taking organic waste and processing it into renewable energy and also growing fresh healthy food onsite to help alleviate food insecurity within the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. An estimated 26,000+ pounds of food will be grown and sold to residents through Fresh Moves Mobile Markets, which is estimated to serve and unduplicated 7,000 persons annually–90% of whom are expected to be low income. Further, the Project includes a visitor center, space for local green organizations, and educational space for job readiness training for persons facing barriers to employment as well as educational programming for local high school students to complement school curriculum.
Green Era has been working with the City of Chicago since 2012 to identify a viable site for the Project. This collaborative effort included an extensive vetting process with input from Chicago’s Community Development Commission, Housing & Real Estate City Council, and the City Council to approve the sale of the site for the intended use. Additionally, the Project is in alignment with the Auburn Gresham Quality of Life Plan 2016, which highlighted the profound need within the community for business and economic development, accessible jobs, and improved access to goods and services that promote health and wellness. The Project is also supported by local Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr. along with the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Greater Chatham Initiative, Simeon High School, Grow Greater Englewood, and Englewood Community Farmers.