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Healthier people and communities were On the Table at SSMMA

Reducing vacancies, engaging absentee landlords/ property owners to help reduce blight and create healthier homes and communities were topics discussed at the Housing and Community Development’s On the Table. Another topic was harvesting vacant land to eliminate food deserts with locally grown food while creating jobs.

Organic food can be grown on village or land bank vacant lots using organic and/or aquaponics/ hydroponics farming methods to provide locally grown produce and fish as well as jobs for Southland residents. The food can then be sold at pop-up farmer markets or corner stores.

SSMMA’s On the Table luncheon took place May 10 at the East Hazel Crest offices. A second event, Mayors for Manufacturing, was held at Prairie State College in conjunction with Cook County and the Technology & Manufacturing Association (read more about it here). On the Table is an annual forum, founded by the Chicago Community Trust, designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience across the region. This year, CCT added a $1,000 competition, “Acting Up,” to help ensure creative and actionable ideas come into fruition.

If SSMMA and our sister organization—the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority—are selected, we would use the $1,000 to fund a symposium to identify and partner with public-private partnership organizations to acquire land, develop aquaponics/hydroponic farms and/or greenhouses. The goal would be building educational programs, eliminating food deserts, boosting workforce development and increasing opportunities for healthier and sustainable communities. More photos are here. ‪#‎OntheTable2016 ‬#ChiTrustActingUp

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