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Your Chicago: Growing Home, An Urban Farm

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Rob Johnson Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is the weekday anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago evening...
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(CBS) – It’s a small urban farm in the Englewood neighborhood providing a second chance and helping those who have fallen on tough times or who have run afoul of the law.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.

Growing Home is part farm, part job training, part produce stand.

It consists of two small farms in Englewood totaling an acre and a half. Two groups of 20 people, called interns, will come through here each year. Some are unemployed, 60 percent have once been incarcerated.

Like Kelvin Anderson.

“It’s been hard for me since I have been out of jail to get a job. They gave me an opportunity here to work and get my career skills up,” he says.

Then there’s Stephen McCary Jr.

“I would get up in the morning and say I do not want to do this kind of work. But it kind of grew on me,” he says.

Ninety-three percent of the interns will go on to get other food service jobs.

At growing home, they’ve got everything from tomatoes to scallions to kale and carrots. They are able to raise more than $100,000 a year growing these crops.

Former intern Deandre Brooks now works here mentoring the men and women who have come after him.

Brooks says his aim is to “train them very well so they can get their skills up and to par and back to the real world.”

As for their customers from the real world, they say Growing Home is a hit.

“It’s wonderful,” Sheila Townsend says.

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