A Year of Thankful… by LaManda Joy Nov21


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A Year of Thankful… by LaManda Joy


Amazed. Joyous. Awe-filled… these are words, in addition to thankful, that come to mind when considering everything that 2012 has brought to our project. And I do mean our project. The Peterson Garden Project is about community – everything we do is accomplished because people want to work together to create places and experiences that forward the local food movement in Chicago. In our case, one family at a time.

At the start of the year, when the idea of recreating 1% of what Chicago’s historic Victory Gardeners had done in 1942 kept percolating to the surface, we pondered – could it work? Would the community join us in this vision? Now, toward the end of the year, as we look back at the four giant Pop-up Victory Gardens, the Edible Treasures garden at The Field Museum, the 1,000 pounds of food donated to community food agencies via our Grow2Give program and the hundreds of people who learned to grow food because of the effort we can say “hell yes! We CAN do this”… if a bunch of volunteers, willing property owners and communities want to make a change in how we access food then we can do it. And on a large scale.

In the photo above you will notice two things 1. a gnome and 2. a trophy. The gnome will have to attest to the wording on the trophy (which is a little hard to read) but it is from theĀ Governor’s Sustainability Awards. Our work was recognized earlier in November for taking unused, unsightly urban land and converting it – albeit temporarily – into community food hubs that have an impact on the environment, transportation costs, community involvement and more. If the Governor’s office is noticing then we are all doing something right.

Today is about wonder and thanks. But, very soon, you’ll be hearing about the path the Peterson Garden Project will be walking in 2013… hand-in-hand with our members, partners, friends and supporters. If you thought 2012 was exciting, hold on to your hats and glasses!

JFK said “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” We all tried – and DID – this year with astonishing success and joy. And for that, and for all of the individuals who are motivated to do something because they believe that their small actions make a difference, I am deeply, deeply thankful.