Encouraging youth to bloom through off-grid farming on vacant lots.
In This Podcast: We usually speak with food farmers, however, Quilen Blackwell is doing something so amazing with flower farming we needed to get him on the show! Learn why he chose to farm flowers over food, got community buy-in, and how he eliminated much of the overhead cost of a farm by working with nature (even in the middle of a big city). The flowers are a product of his true passion, which is teaching skills to at-risk youth and giving them job skills to better their future.
Don’t miss an episode!
Click here to sign up for podcast updates
or visit www.urbanfarm.org/podcast
Quilen’s background in renewable energy and community organizing is well suited in his role as president of Southside Blooms where they serve over 70 youth a week at four sites in Chicago and one site in Detroit. Southside Blooms has the mission of using sustainability to alleviate inner-city poverty through a scalable social enterprise program that converts vacant city lots into off-grid flower farms.
Quilen’s organizing credentials include work abroad as a volunteer in the Peace Corp organizing rural farmers in Thailand all the way to helping working-class residents of suburban Milwaukee attain affordable housing. He later worked in the biofuels industry where he procured feedstock such as used cooking oil and soybean oil for biodiesel production. Quilen holds a bachelor’s degree with comprehensive honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Denver.
Visit www.urbanfarm.org/southsideblooms for the show notes on this episode, and access to our full podcast library!
520: Quilen Blackwell on Urban Flower Farms.