A case study describing how the Arturo Velasquez Institute, Chicago Botanic Garden, Windy City Harvest, and Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp are using Roots of Success to prepare youth and adults with barriers to employment for jobs in the green economy was recently added to the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program’s database of over 800 case studies — which highlight how educational programs and institutions across the U.S. and Canada are improving their environmental educational programming and increasing sustainability.
Windy City Harvest is a social enterprise that, in partnership with Richard J. Daley College/Arturo Velasquez Institute, provides a nine-month certificate training program and internship in sustainable horticulture and urban agriculture. They also operate a production and training garden at the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp, an alternative sentencing facility for young men. Windy City Harvest averages between 15-20 participants per year, and in 4 years has graduated a total of 55 individuals.
According to the case study, Roots of Success is the main educational tool these programs rely on to prepare their participants with the skills in environmental science, writing, mathematics, reading comprehension, written communications, critical thinking, and problem solving that employers require. According to Kelly Larsen, who submitted the case study to the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program, “it is critical that training programs have effective and engaging educational components like Roots of Success so that that can empower participants of all backgrounds to enter careers in the green economy.” You can read the full case study at the Campus Ecology Program’s website and visit the Windy City Harvest website for information about a variety of programs offered to Chicago residents.