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Urban Growers Collective maintains a herd of 17 goats at its South Chicago farm. (Courtesy of Urban Growers Collective)

Where humans see a messy pile of dried needles, goats see a tasty meal. The herd at Urban Growers Collective’s South Chicago farm can dine for weeks on recycled Christmas trees.

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A $2 million investment from the state pushed funding for an urban farming campus over the top, paving the way for Friday’s groundbreaking. (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity / Twitter)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced $2 million in state funds for the Green Era Urban Farming Campus, pushing financing for the project over the top and paving the way for Friday’s groundbreaking in Auburn Gresham.  

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Urban Growers Collective co-founder Erika Allen, right, and staff sort through seeds inside the geodesic dome at the nonprofit’s South Chicago farm. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The nonprofit Urban Growers Collective operates community farms on Chicago’s South Side, providing fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods with few to no nutritional food options.