Homan Grown is a social enterprise, wholesale perennial & tree nursery offering landscape design/build services – coming to North Lawndale this Fall. Organized as a low-profit limited liability corporation, Homan Grown’s mission is to 1. provide employment and training in advanced horticultural, design, and construction skills to residents of North Lawndale; 2. provide high-quality native and non-native perennial plants and trees to non-profit gardens and reforestation projects in Chicago; 3. act as an educational resource for the students and non-profits of Chicago.
Homan Grown will be located on the north side of 16th St. between S Springfield Ave and S Avers Ave on a 100’x217’ lot. The enclosed lot will include contractor parking for order pickup, four 50’ hoop houses for growing, enclosed storage, a shaded workspace, and plenty of open growing, display and work space – all sitting on CA-7 Limestone Chips. The nursery will be sitting on top of a stormwater reclamation installation.
Homan Grown is being started by Jeff Levrant (manager of Homan Rails Farm and project specialist for Gardeneers; previously at SAIC’s K-Lab and the Resource Center’s ‘Square Mile of Sustainability’ project) with Annamaria Leon (Edibles Manager, Christy Webber Farm and Garden Center) and Roy Diblik (co-owner of Northwind Perennial Farms and internationally respected perennial expert and perennial plant grower for more than 37 years). Jeff Levrant will manage the operations of the company with horticultural support from Roy Diblik.
For our first year of operation Homan Grown will employ 3 part-time employees during the nursery’s 7-month season (April-October) at an hourly rate of $16.5 (before fringe costs). Working alongside these employees will be high-school students in paid internships through After School Matters. Alongside nursery work, all employees and students will be given education & training in horticulture, landscape design, and landscape construction – including carpentry. We are currently looking for a partner that can provide a certificate to the employees and students trained at Homan Grown.
Moving forward, Homan Grown plans to gradually increase our number of employees as our sales & production increase and, when able, provide full-time employment.
Homan Grown is partnering with:
- The City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development on the initial development of the nursery site.
- Northwind Perennial Farms who are helping develop our perennial lineup and from whom we’ll source our seed starts.
- Gardeneers, a school garden education based non-profit. Gardeneers ASM students in North Lawndale will work at the nursery and Homan Grown will act as an employer and pathway for students that graduate from Gardeneers program.
- SAIC on their ‘7,000 Oaks’ project. With Gardeneers, Homan Grown will grow at least the last 1,000 trees for SAIC’s project and aid in the educational programming around the project.
- Christy Webber, President of Christy Webber Landscapes– will support donations of perennials to the 16th St. corridor project: MLK Blooms District.