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Buy Southside Blooms’ non-toxic flowers, and help build the south side’s social infrastructure.

Flowers sold in urban areas are notoriously toxic. They’re grown hundreds of miles away, under the worst factory-farming conditions, and are treated, en route, with even more chemical adulterants. However, if you live in the United States or have loved ones there, you now have a progressive solution to this vexing quandary. Instead of giving up on bouquets all together, you can pre-order organic bouquets via Kickstarter, for prices comparable to retail florists, from a fledgeling social enterprise on the south side of Chicago.


Southside Blooms is a social enterprise start-up that rehabilitates vacant lots on Chicago’s south side. They farm, build and sell top-tier bouquets arranged by vibrant young designers. Many of the designers are also at-risk youth who are served by the social justice education program provided by Chicago Eco House, Southside Blooms’ backing 501(c)3.

Quilen Blackwell, President and co-founder of Chicago Eco House and Southside Blooms, explains that it’s “a way for everyone to participate in the budding green renaissance that is taking place here. Our flowers are superior in quality, as they are toxin free, and they are superior in impact, as each purchase goes directly into job creation for some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Southside Blooms is launching a Kickstarter campaign on September 23rd, 2019, where people can pre-order flower bouquets for the 2020 growing season. It was first recognized as a successful social enterprise in 2017, as the winner of both the Underwriter’s Laboratories Innovative Education Award, and the Delta Institute’s BOOST award for contribution towards a more sustainable economy. 

In 2018 the The University of Chicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative (UHI) awarded Chicago Eco House a violence prevention, intervention and recovery grants, funding which it renewed this year. “UChicago Medicine is proud to support these vital programs and efforts as we all come together to address violence recovery and prevention in our communities,” says Brenda Battle, vice president of the University of Chicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative

Southside Blooms is just one of the many social enterprises that Chicago Eco House supports. They offer a wide variety of other educational and social-justice programming, all designed to uplift members of the local community while rehabilitating its blighted public spaces. Southside Blooms is the most visible of these programs, with its multicolored floral lots immediately drawing the eyes of every passer-by. 

Orders for next year’s batch of flowers open on September 23rd, and can be placed directly through the project’s funding page on For directions to the campaign once it’s underway, visit Chicago Eco House’s website at

Southside Blooms

Author : Roger Hollings

Born and bred in Maine, Roger is one of the longest-standing writers for A translator by trade, he is passionate about art in all its forms. He enjoys both classic and contemporary literature, nature photography and music from both sides of the Atlantic. Fascinated by technology from an early age, he has always explored the ways in which computers let people articulate their thoughts and communicate better with the world at large.

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