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Chicago Public Schools and Partners Host Inaugural Green and Growing Summit

06 May 2023

Educators, agriculturalists, students and community members attended workshops and learned about caring for farm animals

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CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and District partners hosted the inaugural Green and Growing Summit over the weekend. CPS, along with Openlands, Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) organized the summit to strengthen the connectivity of Chicago’s garden education movement by building on the work of the Green Teachers Network and the CPS Garden Educator Cohort.

“Community gardens can play a crucial role in the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” said CPS Chief Health Officer Dr. Sofia Adawy Akintunde. “Events like this help us show our students and their families that even in a big city like Chicago, gardening and farming is still possible. I’m thankful for the work of our community partners who made this event possible and who help us build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for our students.” 

The summit’s theme, “Imagine What’s Possible,” aimed to amplify participants’ knowledge of garden, nature, and sustainability education through workshops and networking opportunities. The summit was open to educators, agriculturalists, students and community members who attended workshops and heard from more than 30 speakers who work in environmental education and sustainability in Chicago. Workshops were organized under five learning tracks: Growing Environmental Stewards, Growing Your Gardening Knowledge, Growing Health and Wellness, Growing Your Community and Capacity and Growing Your Care for Farmed Animals. 

The summit builds on the District’s ongoing health and nutrition efforts, including the CPS Farm to School program which connects District schools to fresh, healthy food from local producers. Initiatives like the Green and Growing Summit create hands-on learning activities for students to learn and grow through school gardens, farm visits, cooking lessons, and other food and farm related education.