Mayor Emanuel talked his desire to reduce crime and increase local jobs, well the example he set this weekend by attending a groundbreaking for a community garden in Woodlawn is an example that he can set in every low income and high community of Chicago as early as this summer! And it would help him also achieve his commitment to addressing the "food deserts" in those same urban communities.
There are dozens and dozens of local community groups including those that represent ex-offenders, former gang members, and at risk youth who have become certified in the ability to create local community business and thousands of low income jobs this summer through the development of community gardens and other green jobs!! These constituencies are now able to provide much needed fruits and vegetables to these local communities, make a legal income, and be taken away from the illegal street economies and life threatening environments that would otherwise be luring these same constituencies this summer! Many of these same constituencies are facing a summer of a predicted double digit unemployment and lack of established and traditional summer jobs, but an investment in these community gardens and other green jobs could provide a new level of local community jobs!!
From the Southside to westside and across this city many of the ex-offenders, current and former gang members and other at risk youth idenitifed the community gardens and green jobs as a way for many of them to make a legitimate income and not be drawn into the illegal elements this summer, and save lives! This is a cost effective investment in that the city has enough vacant lots and land they can donate, and they do not have to pay City managers for trainining for these non profit groups have already done the training and certification processes. In addition to the selling of these fruits and vegetables to local residents, the city could be helful in recruiting local restaurants and stores to purchase from these new community gardens and even larger stores like Wal Mart, Walgreens, Food For Lessand others could also buy from these community gardens and that too will sustain workers working in low income communities and out of the negative elements, and again, save lives of youth this summer!
Today, Mayor Emanuel said that he will not accept "No We Cant" as an answer to knew proposals, but "YES WE CAN." So I hope The Mayor answers YES to this proposal on putting ex-offenders and other at risk youth to work this summer by investing in the many community organizations who are ready with legitimate organizations, certfied training, and certified workers ready to work at Community Gardens and other green jobs this summer!