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Urban Garden Offers Hope For Englewood Residents

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Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A garden in the city is giving new hope to a long neglected neighborhood.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports it is because of a public-private partnership offering things Englewood never had, from a high quality supermarket to good-paying goods.

This is a story about opportunity for Englewood, for the Mayor and a major corporation, but also for residents like Stephen McCary getting a second chance in life.

“Me being involved in a lot of negativity, to experience positivity is a great thing,” said McCary.

McCary is working on one of several single acre urban farms whose programs have sent hundreds of Englewood residents on to full-time jobs and careers.

“There’s nothing better in the world to feel the feeling of just being successful,” said McCary.

“We’re not talking about minimum wage, we’re talking about full time, 40 hours a week with some type of benefits, things that some people have never had before,” said Shaniece Alexander.

Soon the produce they grow here, will wind up in a major market just a few blocks away.

“Our ultimate dream is not just selling produce on shelves of Englewood store, but selling this organic farm produce in all the Whole Food stores of Chicago,” said Emanuel.

Boosting not just a local business, but economic opportunity of an entire community where progress comes slowly.

“Right here in Englewood over the last couple of years we’ve had a very significant reduction in the murder rate and we’re maintaining this year. We’re not doing as well as last year in reducing, we’re maintaining,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

McCarthy had spoken at a nearby police station just before CBS 2 sat down with the Mayor at Kennedy King College.

“You have to bring a community together to see the reduction in crime you want to see. Jobs are a piece of that,” said Emanuel.

Whole Foods in Englewood won’t open until 2016, but Growing Home Urban farms is already selling its produce to major high end retailers around the city and placing 93 percent of its trainees in good-paying full-time jobs.

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