Urban Agriculture & Ecology

In the summer of 2013, CCA Academy began its Holistic Wellness program to teach students healthy eating and physical activity habits to achieve and maintain lifelong  health and well-being. The program has expanded to include an Urban Agriculture/Ecology component that integrates theory and environmental sustainability as a pathway to build academic, green technology, and college-readiness skills.  Urban Agriculture/Ecology incorporates transforming vacant lots to gardens, aquaponics, vermiculture, recycling, and composting.   Below is an overview and highlights of our program.

Summer Work and Learn Program

Through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, CCA Academy students worked to develop urban gardens and learned about urban agriculture. Students also earned badges through Sweetwater Foundation's AQUAPONS  program and the Chicago Summer of Learning. imageimage-2image-11image-5image-7 View more images from the Summer Work and Learn Program here  




Healthy Foods and Physical Activities


Vermiculture, Composting, and Recycling








Chicago State University

Chicago State University works with staff and students to develop the program. CCA Academy students intern at Chicago State on Saturdays.          

The Sweetwater Foundation

The Sweetwater Foundation works with staff and students to develop the program.


The City of Chicago

CCA Academy has acquired four vacant lots from the City of Chicago and is in the process of acquiring six more to develop urban gardens. CCA Academy has committed to grow produce on this land for the next 15 years.

Forsythe Technology

On October 17, 2012, employees of Forsythe Technology volunteered their time and helped CCA Academy complete Phase II of its urban garden. View more images from the Forsythe Technology Volunteer Work Day here

The Kitchen Community

CCA Academy received a grant from The Kitchen Community to complete Phase III of its urban garden. This phase of the project was completed on November 8, 2012. View more images from The Kitchen Community instillation day here

Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS) STEM Academic Challenge

CCA Academy students conducted a three-week experiment to test the yield of spinach and basil plants one could gather from a 10-gallon fish tank containing three tilapia.  They presented their findings at the Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS) STEM Challenge and won first place in the competition.