Their organization promotes and uses organic agriculture as a vehicle for job training, employment and community development. They focus on transitional employment (pro-active re-incorporation into the workforce for individuals who may be/have been homeless, previously incarcerated, or have substance abuse issues), green jobs forunderrepresented communities, stimulating local economies and advocacy for local food systems. Growing Home has an urban garden facility, a market garden, a rural farm 75 miles south of Chicago, and they run a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
In 1994, community members in the largely Hispanic neighborhoods of Little Village and Pilsen, banded together to move an elementary school to a safer environmental location. Little Village has since expanded to projects covering much of the Chicago metropolitan area. Some of their projects include teaching residents how to effectively weatherize their houses, campaigning for open space, youth programs and other environmental advocacy.
Fuller Park operates a Housing Resource Center that creates and manages affordable housing, provides technical assistance to area residents and intervenes in predatory land practices. They run the Southpoint Academy, which trains people in property maintenance techniques, and they also maintain a food pantry. Fuller Park created the Eden Place Nature Center, a public park center, from abandoned lots.
This year's awards were created by a Chicago artist Kym Thomas. Kym Thomas was born under the blue skies of North Dakota in the early 1970s. Her gift for capturing the universe first appeared on her bedroom walls when she was two and got a hold of a box of crayons. She has painted and sculpted ever since. Kym's paternal spiritual influences connect her to the Iroquois people who kept union with the world in New York State. Her work can be characterized by saying that she transforms the textures, colors and sounds she perceives in the world around her. She prefers to crystallize this on objects found on her daily walks in Chicago.