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Cook County Sheriff Beekeeping Initiative

The Urban Farming Program teaches a wide range of organic farming and gardening skills to 120 men and women jail inmates per year in a supportive and constructive environment. It also provides training in all areas of business operations, including production, packaging, delivery, bookkeeping, marketing, and customer relations. The program is intended to increase the prospects of minimum-security, non-violent inmates for future employment upon release. Over its 20-year history, the program has developed numerous collaborative partnerships in the public and private sector to support and enhance opportunities for the training and rehabilitation of the inmate participants.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Beekeeping Initiative project is expected to result in the following: 1. Launch the beekeeping program within the Urban Farming Program at the Cook County Department of Corrections and produce our first batch of organic raw honey for sale. 2. Expand capacity within the Urban Farming Program to produce honey through sustainable and organic methods. 3. Provide beekeeping training and certificates to inmates participating in the program at the Cook County Department of Corrections. In addition, create a learning environment that teaches all aspects of urban farming to the men and women participating in this project, which will be beneficial to obtain employment in local community garden programs.

Funded by Chicago, IL (February 2014)