About Sweet Water Foundation
Sweet Water Foundation is a nonprofit in Chicago, Illinois that utilizes a blend of urban agriculture, art, and education to transform vacant spaces and abandoned buildings in Chicago into economically and ecologically productive and sustainable community assets that produce engaged youth, art, locally grown food, and affordable housing. The Sweet Water Foundation has turned four city blocks in Chicago into safe and healthy places where the community can gather, grow nutritious food, and learn together.
Sweet Water Foundation has transformed four city blocks in Chicago into The Commons, which includes a u-pick community garden, the [Re]Construction House, which serves as an art gallery and co-living space for the Sweet Water community, and the Thought Barn which serves as a community gathering and arts space. Sweet Water’s Community Farm is a 2 acre urban farm that has more than 210 rows of vegetables that provides fresh, healthy food to more than 200 residents each week. Sweet Water’s Think-Do House was formerly a foreclosed home that was vacant from 2007-2014, when Sweet Water gained access to the home and transformed it into a community space that holds community meetings, cooking demos, and workshops.
The Sweet Water Foundation (SWF) says, “In just 5 years, the SWF team and community has designed and built The Commonwealth, a dynamic campus that spans 4 contiguous city blocks and serves as a model of Regenerative Neighborhood Development. The Commonwealth has successfully reintroduced and redefined agriculture within the city limits as a practice central to the revitalization of the neighborhood, transformed formerly foreclosed and abandoned houses into community schools and live-work residences, introduced new agricultural building typologies into the urban fabric, and remixed programming into a 21st-century context through the practice of Regenerative Neighborhood Development.”
Solar Savings Invested Back into the Community
By going solar with RE-volv, Sweet Water Foundation’s 3 kW solar system will save them more than $8,300 throughout the life of the solar system, money that Sweet Water can invest into their many programs. Their solar savings can be invested back into their urban garden, into creating art installations built by local artists that will transform the property, and providing more workshops, courses, and fellowships to youth and local residents through the Sweet Water Academy.
As Sweet Water pays back RE-volv for the cost of their electricity overtime, Sweet Water’s monthly Solar Lease payments will be added to our Solar Seed Fund, a revolving fund for solar used to bring solar to more community-serving nonprofits across the country. It’s a pay-it-forward model for solar that provides nonprofits the opportunity to go solar without needing the upfront capital available to pay for the solar system upfront.