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Women in Circular Economy: Dulce Morales-Cedillo

It’s the start of another season for Cedillo’s Fresh Produce. Located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, the farm utilizes city lots to grow the onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and flowers that will make their way to the stands at various Chicago farmers markets (including Plant Chicago’s), and to the tables of many families. On this particularly warm, sunny March day, volunteers across Chicago come together to help the farm get a start on the season by clearing brush and debris from the lot and making the way for fresh mulch and compost. It’s clear that what happens at Cedillo’s farm is a labor of love and a center for community wellness and growth.


In accordance with Women's History Month, Plant Chicago continues to highlight the important work that women do within the circular economy. Dulce Morales-Cedillo is one such leader and took some time out of her busy schedule to tell us more about her role and the ways she’s embracing her roots to help others in need. See the brief interview below and learn more about the farm’s newest initiative “Amor por la Comunidad,” which assists immigrant families experiencing food insecurity.


How important is your role as a farmer, a mother, a woman of color, and does it play into the work you do?


“I really think it is important as a mom to give an example to children of how powerful they can be. As an immigrant person, we’re limited to our resources sometimes and I want to teach my kids (and everybody else) is that if one door closes, another will one open, and if 10 doors don’t answer, knock on 20, knock on 30...if you fall, get up. It’s an example we have to give our kids, our youth, and our community. Empowering women is especially important for me. I was raised by a single mom and I saw a great example from my mom. As an immigrant person, I feel that is my responsibility to be an example for my community."


Can you tell us more about Amor por la Comunidad?


“Translated as “Love for our community,” is something we started for immigrant families, especially those who are struggling because of COVID-19. If you are an immigrant who is suffering, or a single mom who is struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic, we want to help you. We want to make sure we are helping those who are in need. We’ve been there and it’s a very personal mission for us. We want to be there for others as others have been for us. All the different requirements [on the application] have been me or my family at some point.”


Applications for Amor por la Comunidad are now open until capacity is met. You can access the application here.

Please email completed applications to cedillofreshproduce@gmail.com. Applications are only in Spanish. Contact Cedillo's for more information or to request an English application.


Over the next ten months, we will be highlighting aspects of our organization that have contributed to a decade of success! With your support, we will continue to transform traditional linear economies into circular ones that can and will endure for years to come. To learn more about our circular economy work and ways to donate, click here.


Photos by Narcisse Robles


Cedillo’s Fresh Produce is a family-run farm located in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Founder Juan Cedillo is a third-generation farmer who learned most of his skills working alongside his father and grandfather in Mexico. Now in its 4th year, Cedillo's continues to bring locally grown medicine and food to Chicago's southwest side via Plant Chicago's Farmers Market in Back of the Yards and La Villita's Mercado de Colores. You can find out more about Cedillo's via their website.


Amor por la Comuidad_Spanish Application
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