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OUR PURPOSE ON THE FARM IS TO LEARN, GROW AND CONNECT WITH OUR COMMUNITY WHILE WE PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY VEGETABLES TO FEED OUR ENTERPRISES AND FUEL OUR WELLNESS PROGRAMS.
The OK Farm was conceived in late 2015 as a way to give the Warriors a role in the local sustainable food movement by creating a ‘seed to jar’ experience with our Knockout Pickle
production. The idea was to plant, grow and harvest the key supply requirements in order to produce a locally grown and locally made pickle.
The Farm was launched in April through a land partnership with our friends at Reuse Depot and a tremendous amount of support from many others in terms of volunteer hours,
landscape/garden supplies and equipment. In a short period of time, we turned a 2,500 square foot field off Madison Street into lush, handicap-accessible urban farm.
Of course, the Warriors were in on the action every step of the way. Teams from both Life Shop and After Opps shoveled dirt, planted seeds, watered, weeded and harvested crops throughout the summer and fall. A generous donation of crushed gravel enabled us to convert muddy alleys between beds into pathways that were handicap accessible and remained usable during rainy
periods. We also created 22-bed feet of raised boxes that provided crop access to participants in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.
Our purpose on the farm is to learn, grow and connect with our community while we produce high quality vegetables to feed our enterprises and fuel our wellness programs.
Joe has been the lead culinarian at OK for more than a few years now. With his culinary degree in hand, he has brought a passion for cooking into all aspects of OK programming. He has also been a force in developing the social enterprises. He sees food and service not only as a way for our Warriors to gain employment but to also carry what they learn into their home environment.
Thomas role at Opportunity Knocks has grown from the roots. He started out as a part time staff in our programs and his responsibilities has grown ever since. He not only makes pickles for Knockout Pickles but he is also a member of the Knockout Catering team. He brings experience in the kitchen as well as an open mind to learn new skills and help develop opportunities for Warriors.
Madeleine lives in Oak Park and loves being at Opportunity Knocks. In addition to Warrior Catering Company Madeleine works at Scratch restaurant in Oak Park as a hostess and front of house employee. Her favorite parts about WCC is serving the food and taking people’s orders. Madeleine feels that her knife safety skills have improved. She enjoys interacting with customers.
That amount of support does not even include our volunteers! We have been fortunate to bring so many friends to the farm to help us with site prep and construction to planting, weeding and harvesting and every other farm job in between. We have received an enormous amount of support from neighbors, friends, staff, community and corporate partners. It has been a community effort in every sense of the word and we are convinced that it takes a village to build a farm!