Global Garden: Pop-up Victory Garden #1

In all fairness, Global Garden is #1 because we’re alphabetizing them all… Vedgewater (more on that later) really get’s the honor of #1 since we’ve been working on it for over a year. But, that’s neither here nor there.

Global Garden is an amazing collaboration between the City of Chicago, CLESE (Coalition for Limited English Speaking Elderly), The North River Commission and The Peterson Garden Project. This REALLY big piece of land – 1.5 acres – is located in the most culturally diverse zip code in the nation: 60625. The neighborhood, Albany Park, is a gateway for immigrants in the gateway for immigrants – Chicago. Our friend Rebecca at the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce likes to call it “the gateway to the gateway”.

Linda - The Boss Lady

It is only fitting then that CLESE finds a home for their project here. Part of a grant from the State Department to help refugees assimilate into U.S. Culture, CLESE is putting in a training farm where refugees can use their native skills as market gardeners in a new way. Considering Chicago is bursting with demand for locally grown produce, an urban farming program like this is a win-win for everyone.

The Peterson Garden Project’s part of this is we’re putting in one of our Pop-up Victory Gardens on the land too. Our .25 acres will allow 145 families to grow their own food. Personally, I’m really looking forward to learning some gardening tips from these life-long farmers. They’ve probably forgotten more about growing food than I’ll ever know.

Today we had our community meeting and then spent some time cleaning up the land. It was a mess. But, in true community spirit, many hands make light work and 25 or so excited future gardeners make quick work of a lot of trash! There’s more trash to remove (and some really nice bricks to salvage for, I don’t know, a labyrinth for the kids?) we’ll get back in there soon to help out more.

As I mentioned, we’re partnering with CLESE on the project and they have a little work to do before we can get in there and do our part. We’re covering the ground with a non-permeable layer (Chicago’s EPA dudes are very strict) then topping that with 18″ of wood chips. Then the monster trucks full of soil roll in, the backhoe revs up and the farm is born. We’ll stay out of their way for that part and build our 145 raised beds, and garden community, quietly and out of the way. But come summer and harvest time, we’re all one big, global family.

Here’s a video of our work today…

If you live in Albany Park, Lincoln Square or Ravenswood Manor and want to garden, please join us!