Green

Youngsters on mission to spread 'gospel of green'

Friday, August 24, 2012

For most twenty-somethings, the summer after graduation is spent pounding the pavement in search of a job. ABC7 caught up with a few who instead hit the road to help "green" America. Their cross-country mission is helping to feed the hungry right here in Chicago.

The foursome started in their hometown of Durham, North Carolina and are spending the next six months spreading the gospel of green. And they say there's no better way to see the country than from the windows of a rolling farm. They're hoping their hands-on input will help more communities learn to live green.

They call their non-profit organization the Sol Food Mobile Farm -- using the name to pay homage to the power of the sun. It's what fuels the solar panels and the garden they are growing in their makeshift greenhouse retro-fitted into the back of their school bus. The bus runs on waste vegetable oil and also has a living green roof. The four childhood friends are traveling the country conducting green workshops and offering hands-on help.

"We contact organizations ahead of time in different municipalities all over the country and work with them to further projects that they're working on or partner with them to create new corner farms, neighborhood gardens," said Dylan Hammond, Sol Food Mobile Farm.

In Chicago, they connected with volunteers at the Altgeld-Sawyer corner farm which supplies fresh produce to a local food pantry. They are also assisting in establishing another garden at Kimball and Medill.

"They're helping us put up a fence," said Margaret Hartmann, Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm. "They actually did. It's up, which is crazy. And they helped us dig out beds and they bought some soil amendments and compost."

The newest garden is on the former site of the Kimball Avenue Church and will help address community need. The pastor calls the partnership a God-send.

"It's just been a fantastic thing for us to watch," said Bruce Ray, pastor, Kimball Avenue Church. "We're blessing the community, but we're getting blessed at the same time."

The Sol Food Mobile Farm is heading to Milwaukee next and then it's off to Seattle. You can see the group's complete bus route and find out how you can volunteer with one of the local gardens by visiting www.solfoodmobilefarm.org.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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