- August 1, 2016
Barry Howard is a founder and principal at Firm clients LG Construction + Development, a high end residential and retail developer and general contractor, and Core Spaces, a nationally-focused student housing developer. So what’s next for a successful entrepreneur— why farming of course, urban faming in particular.
Barry is behind a new venture called Herban Produce (silent ‘h’– ‘urban’) located on Chicago’s west side. This non-profit urban farm strives to provide fresh produce year-round to the nearby Garfield Park and North Lawndale communities and to some of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Herban Produce goes further by providing nutritional education, employment opportunities, and hands-on experience in various aspects of self-sustaining, social enterprise.
“Food deserts and a lack of basic understanding of nutrition are real problems in many Chicago neighborhoods,” says Howard. “Combining our development experience with a desire to help, we think Herban Produce can make good local food available to people in underserved communities. Along the way, we will reinforce healthy eating habits and create jobs too.”
Herban Produce, located at 2900 West Van Buren, includes a 4000 sq ft greenhouse, a farm stand, raised beds and education area. Produce includes tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, microgreens, lettuce, arugula, radish, salad mixes, herbs, beets, basil, onions, and garlic. The farm is environmentally responsible, using only 10% of the water of traditional in-ground agriculture and the produce is grown locally, taking out the high environmental cost of transporting and keeping produce chilled.
The farm’s produce will be sold and distributed to Chicago’s thriving culinary community, including The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building — the first major restaurant customer. Herban Produce’s restaurant sales will make the organization financially sustainable.
The Firm’s Joe von Meier has provided legal real estate counsel to Barry and his business partners for many years. Joe has also handled the legal work in connection with the development of Herban Produce, including the purchase of various parcels. Joe’s colleague Mary McWilliams helped the organization achieve its not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status. He also serves on the Herban Produce board of directors. For more information, please contact Joe at 312/840-7063 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Herban Produce website at http://www.herbanproduce.com/.