About Traditions & Hope Green Business Incubator Network And a Million Square Foot of Greenhouse in Cook County
Who is Traditions & Hope & what is their Green Development Philosophy?
Traditions & Hope is a Chicago area based non‐profit corporation that specializes in restorative infrastructure development in inner city environments and in developing nations. Our philosophy is to take a holistic approach to economic development that includes community connection, empowerment, and healthy food, besides carbon neutral energy and utility services.
Traditions & Hope (T & H) is currently developing a multi‐phase development project that will electrify villages and begin production of vegetables in both greenhouses and outdoor row crops. The Ghana efforts have already started construction on a doctors & mid‐wives quarters and headmasters & teachers quarters. Because of enormous needs and lack of infrastructure, T & H has needed to creatively find sets of solutions to bring basic programs to fruition. Our international experience as well as our previous experience with urban agriculture at a federal housing project in inner‐city Minneapolis has helped us prepare our Cook County program.
Why a Green Incubator Network in Cook County based on Urban Agriculture?
We believe that many parts of Cook County have fundamentally been converted into “toxic zones” for human habitation. Some of these areas lack access to clean air, healthy food, clean environment, safe schools, and jobs with a living wage. The very social fabric of our County is being ripped and destroyed. Restorative economics and healing are needed to reweave all parts of Cook County into places for human life to thrive. T & H plans 10 Green Business Incubators within the County to help address these problems. Urban Agriculture is a key to creating green jobs and producing food for people living in these areas. Each acre of properly developed greenhouse space will create 10 jobs and provide the daily vegetables for over 700 people. Each acre of greenhouse is also capable of producing $500,000 per year in revenues according to Cornell University. By getting fresh vegetables to inner city residents, rates of obesity and diabetes can also be reduced. Besides producing jobs, food, and improving public health, these incubators have the opportunity to create additional small businesses and green jobs.
The Million Square Foot Challenge
T & H will put 1,000,000 square feet of greenhouses into food production in Cook County. We challenge all people of Cook County to join us in our efforts. This will result in:
- Feeding over 16,000 people in the County @ 3 servings of vegetables per day
- Provide vegetables for over 4,000 families in Cook County
- Creation of 230 new green jobs
- Gross Revenues for food production of over $11 million per year
- Economic Multiplier Effect for the Cook County Economy of more than $28 million.
Our challenge to residents of Cook County and organizations that serve the residents of Cook County is to JOIN US! Help Traditions & Hope heal the toxic zones of our County. With help, we can make this happen quickly.
Organization of the Million Square Foot Greenhouse Challenge
Traditions & Hope plans to organize 10 facilities in Cook County, each with 50,000 square feet of greenhouse growing space. Each facility will be a Green Business Incubator that will provide:
- Warehouse Space
- Shared IT and telecom services
- Labs and AV room
- Business Plan Development Services
- Conference and meeting rooms
- Secretarial services
- Green business specialty services
- Green utility development for each incubator to become carbon neutral
- Neighborhood CSA and food cooperative
- Day care for incubator workers and neighborhood
- Educational center to help community members restore physical and financial health
- Provide working and volunteer opportunities as well as empowerment programs for the elderly, local schools, ex‐offenders, and after‐school youth.
To help create these services, Traditions & Hope will seek small businesses and other nonprofits organizations to help provide some of the above services. T & H has considerable expertise in producing renewable energy from organics and producing compost.
Empowerment Aspects of Green Business Incubator
Based on our work in Ghana and Minneapolis, a critical part of successful economic development is the empowerment of people. Of course providing information and education is a critical component, but if people are not empowered to action then there is little chance for birthing new green businesses. We have found that mentors and collaborators have made the difference in our enterprises over the years. Mentorships are an integral part of our green business incubator program. Our organization has many technology based experts from Northern Illinois available for mentorships. Traditions & Hope seeks help from organizations to find additional mentors to match with the users of our Incubators.