New upgrades have been announced for the Global Garden Refugee Training Farm at 2902 W Lawrence Avenue in Albany Park. Located on the intersection with N Sacramento Avenue, the urban farm is connected to the adjacent Ronan Park along the north branch of the Chicago River. Now the Chicago Park District is leading the park’s improvements which will include the farm itself.
The Global Garden Farm nonprofit started in 2012 by 42 multi-generational refugee families from Burma and Bhutan, who took over the vacant lot to start the farm with their extensive knowledge in agriculture. Now over 100 families are involved with the farm which provides fresh food and supplemental income to them, selling additional produce at markets and to restaurants. Each half acre of the site can produce nearly 5,000 pounds of vegetables.
Spanning 1.6 acres in total size, the plot of land is currently owned by the city itself who will be selling each parcel that once held a candy factory to the Park District for $1 each. Once transferred the site will be part of a larger $3.5 million renovation including environmental work, landscaping, a new performance pavilion for their events, and riverfront improvements. Once completed the farm will enter a new lease with NeighborSpace land trust.
Funding for the project was approved back in 2021, with the money coming from the Lawrence/Kedzie Tax Increment Financing District. The farm will continue to provide for these families as they pass on crucial generational knowledge, while they also look for greenhouse space to expand their growing season into winter. A timeline hasn’t been announced but we can expect the bulk of the work to take place in 2024.