ENGLEWOOD — There’s a block party this weekend at an urban farm in Englewood, with a host of kid friendly events and food from the farm.
Growing Home’s third annual Block Party runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at their Wood Street Urban Farm, 5814 S. Wood.
Attendees will have the chance to give their face some flair at the face-painting station, take a yoga led by SPACE Englewood, participate in a dance-workshop led by MODOS Dance Company and take a tour of Growing Home’s farm campus while trying food with ingredients straight from the site.
Growing Home’s farm stand will also be open during the event, offering organic produce at affordable prices.
“We wanted to bring that ‘old school’ feel of a block party,” said Danielle Perry, who joined Growing Home as the executive director earlier this year. “We’ve met with all of our neighbors, and they’re excited. They come out every year.”
Growing Home is a nonprofit that for 17 years has provided formerly incarcerated Englewood residents with job training and wraparound services to prepare them for careers in agriculture and food service. After entering a 14-week program that give them hands-on experience, participants go on to work for places like Eataly, Whole Foods and sweetgreen.
But it’s the mental wellness component that truly sets it apart from other programs. By addressing the existing issues their production assistants may have, and giving them tools to navigate future challenges, Growing Home has found that their graduates are able to stay on the job longer, the organization said. Using curriculum created by Loyola University professor Dr. Philip Hong, participants learn about emotional resiliency, and how to work through trauma.
“As weeks go on we move onto interviewing and job training but we start with doing the real work on the traumas and the emotional resiliency we have within ourselves, ” said Perry, a 2019 Apsen Ideas Festival Scholar. “My favorite sessions are the ones on forgiveness because they don’t just talk about forgiving what others may have done, but forgiving ourselves. It’s really powerful.”
Saturday’s event is free to residents, but there is a $10 suggested donations for those who live outside the neighborhood. For more information about Growing Home, visit growinghomeinc.org.