Sheriff’s Urban Farming Initiative Partners With Flowers for Dreams
Posted on July 30th, 2015
Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today that Cook County Jail’s urban farm has as new purchaser of its perennial flowers, Chicago-based florist Flowers for Dreams.
Flowers for Dreams, which started in 2012, donates 25 percent of its profits to local charities. To date the company has raised more than $80,000, which has benefitted organizations such as Boys and Girls Club, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and The Chicago Lighthouse.
The Sheriff’s Urban Farming Initiative teaches jail detainees horticulture in the classroom and in the field, as well as job readiness skills, teamwork and accountability, In the last two years, eight urban farm participants were hired at local restaurants and landscaping companies after their release from custody.
“The Urban Farming Initiative helps Cook County Jail detainees learn skills to give them a second chance when they return to the community,” Sheriff Dart said. “Working with Flowers for Dreams, a company that gives to organizations that create chances for individuals, is an incredible opportunity to build on the garden’s mission.”
“We’re excited to partner with a local farm and support an innovative rehabilitation program at the same time,” said Steven Dyme, co-founder and CEO of Flowers for Dreams.
The initiative expanded in 2014 to include a flower garden. The approximately 1-acre garden, located at the Sheriff’s Mental Health Transition Center, grows dahlias, sunflowers and zinnias, among others.
The flowers along with produce grown at the garden, eggs from chickens cared for on jail grounds and honey from the program’s beehives are sold to local restaurants and at the Daley Center Plaza Farmer’s Market. Revenue from these sales goes to the inmate welfare fund, which pays for detainee programming, such as the garden.
For more than 20 years, the Cook County Jail garden has been tended by detainees. Detainees have learned to grow and care for a variety of produce such as beets, kale, kohlrabi, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, radishes, watermelon and butternut squash. The program has expanded beyond the field, adding a 1,500 square-foot greenhouse, a chicken coop and honeybee hives.
More than 1,500 detainees have participated in the program since its inception in 1993.
Recent Press Releases
- Sheriff Announces Program to Help At-Risk MissingCOOK COUNTY, IL – The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is making free scent kits and training available [Read More]
- Sheriff Announces Operation Deadly DistractionsCOOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff’s Police have launched “Operation Deadly Distractions” to [Read More]
- Driver Charged in Fatal Leyden Township Hit and RunA Chicago woman has been charged in a hit and run that killed a 37-year-old man, Cook County [Read More]
- Chicago Man Charged with Promoting Prostitution, Armed Habitual Criminal Following Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit InvestigationA 31-year-old Chicago man has been charged with promoting prostitution and armed habitual criminal [Read More]
- Sheriff Dart Reminds Public of National Prescription Take Back Day, Launches new Webpage with Helpful ResourcesThis Saturday, April 27, Cook County residents can help protect the environment and fight the [Read More]