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A new flower farm is bringing a splash of color to Washington Park. The location for the newest flower farm was merely vacant lots until Southside Blooms reimagined it for a significant purpose.

The farm, at 5211 S. Prairie Ave., was planted by Chicago Eco House’s Southside Blooms.

Quilen Blackwell, president of Chicago Eco House, said the four-acre farm began taking form in late May. By July, flowers began to bloom. The farm uses no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers and has a solar-powered irrigation system.

“We believe flowers can be the cash crop that can spur and unlock other economic prosperity,” said Blackwell.

The new farm is a “pilot site” for expansion.  Southside Blooms recently opened its own brick-and-mortar shop at 6250 S. Morgan St.  The new farms provide an inventory of flowers for the shop to offer for patrons of the shop.

The farm is part of a larger collaboration between Chicago Eco House, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and the South East Chicago Commission.

The water reclamation district donated 278 tons of compost to enhance the soil and “promote more vibrant flowers,” said Kari Steele, president of the water reclamation district board.

The farm is supported in part by a neighborhood enhancement grant from the South East Chicago Commission. That grant program funds groups working on beautification projects in Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn and Washington Park.

The farm also received financial support through the state’s Restore, Reinvest and Renew grant program, funded by sales taxes on marijuana.

Click for more information about the SECC Neighborhood Enhancement Grant. Or contact the SECC office 773-324-6926 for details.