A Community of Gardeners...

Register Now for 2017 Membership When Peterson Garden Project was born in 2010, I never suspected it would grow into the far-reaching educational organization it is today, including the addition of our Community Cooking School and expanding our mission to encompass a plot-to-plate approach to teach people how to grow AND cook their own food. It’s important to remember that the inspiration for our first garden, and Peterson Garden Project as a whole, was VICTORY; reminding ourselves that we can band together, teach each other and help our communities thrive like the WW2 Victory Garden movement. Some things have changed since 2010 – our political climate for one – but our core mission remains the same. The WW2 Victory Garden model still inspires us to use vacant urban land to teach people how to grow their own food and to learn meaningful skills as we gather for a meal together in the Community Cooking School. Victory is still at the heart of PGP and, in 2017, we have new victories to achieve. First is making sure that our gardens are open and welcoming to everyone – no matter where you’re from, what language you speak, your income level, class, color or creed. It’s worth repeating, unequivocally: our program is and always will be open to everyone. In Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook, I shared the lessons I learned from PGP about people being the most important part of our—and any successful—community garden program. Community is more important than ever. While our core values remain the same, we’re also adjusting to changing times—and your feedback. First, this year’s revamped orientation program allows more gardeners from each garden to connect face-to-face. We’re also asking that everyone spend at least two to four hours volunteering...

Growing to Give to Care for Real...

Grow2Give is Peterson Garden Project’s program for growing fresh, organic produce for food pantries and nutrition programs. We dedicate at least 5% of the beds at each garden to Grow2Give. Care for Real in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago has been a long-time partner for the program, and Lyle Allen, Care for Real’s executive director, kindly shared his thoughts below. Care for Real, a 501(c)(3) not for profit, has been providing free programs and services to our neighbors in need for more than 45 years. We manage an innovative food distribution that reaches approximately 65,000 annually. Our organization offers a client choice model, essentially operating as a small grocery store, allowing clients to pick and choose the food they bring home to prepare. The majority of our clients are seniors and families with children under the age of 18. We understand the importance of not only filling bellies, but providing better food options to ensure clients are eating better and living healthier lifestyles. Care for Real is so grateful to Peterson Garden Project for their support and dedication to our mission. Their weekly donation drop offs harvested from their Grow2Give gardens make for especially exciting days at our agency, bringing bounties of fresh, locally grown, organic produce to a population that does not have the financial resources to purchase on their own. From the smile of an immigrant discovering a unique vegetable that reminds them of their own homeland, to the look on a child’s face the first time they truly taste a delicious cherry tomato, I give sincere thanks to Peterson Garden Project for bringing joy (and healthier food) into the lives of our clients. —Lyle Allen, Executive Director, Care for...

History Re-eating Itself...

As you may know, our original garden at Peterson and Campbell was a WW2 Victory Garden. Our name “Peterson Garden” comes from that location. The “Project” part stems from our desire to use the WW2 model to see if it would work in our age. And we learned quickly, at that first garden in 2010, that our goal of getting neighbors together on short-term land to grow, learn and connect was a good one. Worked in the 1940’s – works now! Because property is so expensive in Chicago, we quickly determined that we would focus our energies and resources on teaching people and create long term gardeners vs. focusing on land acquisition to create long term gardens. Basically that means we’ve moved around some. Our original garden location is now a health clinic. Two of our other locations have moved on to other purposes as well. But that’s ok. It is what we do – we find unused urban land and make agreements for 2+ years, put gardens in, teach lots of people, connect communities and then move the gardens when the time comes. The education and community live on – in new gardens and as life-long skills our members can share with others. This year I’m very excited about a new garden at Northeastern Illinois University called NEIU Ground which we are building on an abandoned tennis court on the campus. Lots of people got together on March 29th of this year to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day of Service and built 120 raised beds for this new garden (and special thanks to Chipotle Mexican Grill for feeding our hungry workers!) Neighbors, faculty, students, other local organizations… the seeds of community were definitely planted for this garden on that chilly but productive day. Build...

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun...

Spring is officially winding down, and it’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. But as they say, time accelerates when you’re having fun, and it’s certainly a thrill being in the gardens in spring, preparing them to open for the season and watching them flourish. As per usual, spring was a fickle time this year in Chicago, and we can already feel the steady uptick in temps indicating summer. Cheers to a great season, and we’ll see you on the other side of the solstice (that’s this Friday, June 21)! Volunteer of the Week With gardening season comes volunteer season! Peterson Garden Project would not be what it is without all of our wonderful, devoted volunteers, so each week we will be highlighting a volunteer who has really gone above and beyond to lend their talents, time, and energy to helping us. Each “Volunteer of the Week” will receive a free pair of Wells Lamont gardening gloves from Matty K’s Hardware (4874 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625). This week we would like to recognize Melissa Anderson! Melissa is a mega-volunteer at the Edible Treasures garden at The Field Museum, and has become a leader in planning the selection and placement of the large assortment of garden plants and seeds. Melissa, stop in to Matty K’s for a well-deserved pair of free gloves for being so awesome! PGP Gardens/Gardener News/Announcements Upcoming Classes & Events We’ve got some great stuff coming up soon! Here’s what is happening in the next few weeks: Sign up to build the Seed Saving Garden! Come help fill, build and plant the Seed Saving Garden that Kickstarter brought us! Saturday, June 22 from 1:30 to 4:30. Sign up by clicking here! (Stealth class-shhh!) Vedgewater is participating in a study...

Gardens Aflutter With Activity...

It’s shaping up to be a bustling summer season here at Peterson Garden Project! Not only have we got new gardens this year (raise your hands, Ashlandia and Swedish Covenant!), but there’s lots going on in the coming months. On the horizon, we’ve got a demo and lecture on worms, a concert series, group garden tours, and more in the works. Stay tuned to this newsletter for all your PGP 411, and we’ll see you in the gardens! Volunteer of the Week With gardening season comes volunteer season! Peterson Garden Project would not be what it is without all of our wonderful, devoted volunteers, so each week we will be highlighting a volunteer who has really gone above and beyond to lend their talents, time, and energy to helping us. Each “Volunteer of the Week” will receive a free pair of Wells Lamont gardening gloves from Matty K’s Hardware (4874 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625). This week we would like to recognize Chun Chow! Chun is a Land On Lincoln gardener who has been with PGP from the beginning. His generosity never ceases to inspire us and he is always willing to lend a hand, whether it be building beds, renting a truck to transport materials, digging trenches for water hoses, or just doing a favor for a fellow gardener in need. We often find ourselves saying, “We couldn’t have done that without our hero Chun!” Chun, stop in to Matty K’s for a well-deserved pair of free gloves for being so awesome! PGP Gardens/Gardener News/Announcements We need your heirloom tomatoes Do you have any extra, interesting heirloom tomato, cucumber, or pepper seedlings? Check out the list of vegetables at Slow Food/Ark of Taste and at Seed Savers Exchange. If you have any...

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Linkedin