Join our 6-month curriculum and fellowship program. Our program consists of a four-month curriculum and two months of one-on-one mentoring. Classes are taught by civic officials and industry experts who have a vested interest in successful outcomes for urban growers.

The Need

Launching urban agriculture and local food system endeavors can be complicated. There are many considerations including access to and land use policy, economic incentives and disincentives comprehension, and various intricate pieces to connect within the supply chain.

Additionally, local resident growers may not have the time or resources to manage and propel farming activities and local food initiatives that have the potential to deliver real economic returns to their business and community.

The Goal

Our goal is to better equip production farmers, resident growers, and community stakeholders with the fundamentals of business ownership and financing through technical assistance, coaching and/or mentoring, informational workshops, and data analysis.

The Impact

Studies show that successful agriculturally based businesses increase economic growth; community building; and improve health while reducing negative environmental impacts.

Program Benefits

  • How to work more collaboratively with the City of Chicago (zoning, permits, licensure, etc.)
  • Business operations education including Human Resources, Marketing, Legal and Accounting
  • Access to capital/ different financial models
  • One on one mentorship with seasoned mentors who have vast networks and access to resources
  • Peer to peer learning and networking
  • Walking away from this curriculum with a solid and ready to implement business plan
  • Access to Land
  • Learning how to scale your business and become more profitable
  • Product development assistance (VAPG)
  • Building Community/ Social Capital


During the application period we may reach out to you for more information.

After applications close, we’ll review applications for about three weeks, and spend time getting to know even more about your team, market, progress and farm. Our goal is to notify the final group of urban growers being accepted within four weeks from the application closing date.

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must operate your farm within the city limits of Chicago
  • Must currently operate a farm business or have plans to operate your farm business within the next 12 months

Applications Open: December 20, 2019

Application Deadline: February 7, 2020

Technical Assistance curriculum begins: March 7, 2020

Graduation Ceremony: July 18, 2020

Coaching/mentoring begins: July 20, 2020

Coaching/mentoring ends: Sept 11, 2020

Questions? See our Cultivate Chicago Fact Sheet