CHICAGO — In a parking lot at the United Center Saturday, the City-Wide Climate Smart Urban Agriculture Equity Expo carried on, with a mission to help educate Chicagoans on the positive benefits of urban farming.

“Today is a major day learning about healthcare, learning about education and learning about urban farming,” said Donald Patterson, president of the Urban Transformation Network (UTN).

The UTN is a non-profit that brings community leaders and churches together to promote farming on unused City land, as well as explore opportunities for farming indoors.

According to Patterson, the UTN’s activities are inspired by the impact a healthy diet and fresh food can have on the outcomes of Chicago’s young people.

“We have to start growing it in the community, know where it comes from, get [the] community involved,” Patterson said. “Churches, schools ,the youth—the youth have to learn about opportunities in farming.”

The expo included giveaways of seeds and produce, and Illinois congressman Danny Davis (7th District), said the City is ripe for growing interest in urban agriculture.

“People are understanding the value of urban agriculture, growing fresh foods, putting oxygen in the air, helping our economy become more of a green economy,” Davis said. “And so, it’s great to be a part of it.”

For more information on events and opportunities like the City-Wide Smart Urban Agriculture Equity Expo, visit the Urban Transformation Network’s website.