By Jim Williams

(CBS) — It was once a dream. Now it’s a reality: inner-city farms.

They’re producing thousands of pounds of produce a year — and creating hundreds of jobs.

Soon, yet another garden will offer healthy, fresh food.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

There was a symbolic groundbreaking Wednesday, but soon this vacant lot on Chicago’s West Side will feed a neighborhood.

The produce will be ready to eat by next spring, grown right here, across the street from the PCC clinic, where doctors encourage their patients to eat healthy.

“It’s important to tell, but then where to do they go and buy that at an affordable price?” says Bob Urso of the PCC Community Wellness Center.

It’s in a food desert, a community with few grocery stores.

Englewood faced the same problem. Now the Growing Home group has two farms here.

“Last year, we grew around 18,000 pounds of produce just on these two farms,” Stephanie Douglass says.

And putting people to work, like Fred Daniels, who lives three blocks away.

He was once an intern. Now he’s a site manager.

“I get to grow the food and feed the community as well,” he says.

Janice Gintzler comes here from Crestwood.

“It’s fresh. You can eat the carrots without cleaning them. You can eat the beets raw,” she says.

Community leaders see the same potential in Austin.

“There’s more vacant lots in the Austin community, and wouldn’t it be nice to be able to convert those vacant lots into urban farms?” Urso says.

The Chicago Garden will manage the Austin farm for three years and then hopes to turn it over to community residents to run. Meantime, the farm will employ people from the neighborhood. Work begins next week.

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