US (IL): An urban farm cultivates development in East Garfield Park, but it’s no charity

Starting in 2016, many of Herban Produce’s customers thought they were doing a favor to co-owners Alicia Nesbary-Moore and Barry Howard, pitching in their dollars to support the fledgling two-acre urban farm in East Garfield Park.

“People were like, ‘Oh, we’ll take your lettuce because we feel bad for you,’ ” Howard laughed. “But we realized they should buy it because we have the best products in the city of Chicago.”

In a split from the majority of urban farms in the Chicago area, the co-owners are determined to cultivate a true business with Herban Produce. It wasn’t always that way. For two years, the two-acre farm operated as a nonprofit.

“I kind of found myself in spaces where it seemed like I was charity, and I didn’t really like that feeling,” Nesbary-Moore said. “People kept wanting to categorize me as a community garden on the West Side like, ‘Do business with them because they’re on the West Side.’”

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