During the summer, our Peace Garden can feel like a garden of Eden, a beautiful oasis amidst the concrete. Our children will run through the garden, picking raspberries right off the bush and popping them in their mouth. We love our garden and have felt the healing powers of connecting with the earth.
Teaching Garden Vision
As we began to expand with our Peace Campus, we knew we could do even more with our garden. Our neighbors are beginning to ask questions about how to use the produce we’re growing, and we see the potential to deepen engagement with our garden in a more meaningful way.
Thanks to support from the Whole Cities Foundation, we have the opportunity to do just that. By creating a Teaching Garden, we hope to share with our neighbors not only fresh produce, but also the information they need to fully take advantage and ownership of this resource.
We are transforming unused space in our garden to an area for learning and gathering – including picnic tables, an outdoor grill, instructional signs on how and when to pick produce, tire planters, and a pizza topping themed bed box.
This week, we are building and installing a chicken coop for our Teaching Garden. Four volunteers are hard at work on this project, including our neighbor Speedy and Robbin’s son Sam.
Our amazing community partners are bringing our Teaching Garden to life. This month, we have the opportunity to host the Chicago Bears for a service day. The rookies will be painting and installing picnic tables in our garden, filling the space with wood chips, and painting words of affirmation on bed boxes. Later this summer, Made in Englewood will help us build the outdoor grill and pizza oven.
Meg from Pistil and Vine has been instrumental in bringing our garden to the next level, organizing all our seeds and planning and starting our Pizza Box with basil, oregano, fresh peppers, and spinach. She is also mentoring our Survive to Thrive participant Otis in gardening, and they have formed an incredible bond. She embodies what it means to connect communities and show up whole heartedly, last week surprising Otis with a basket of sunflowers and cupcakes for his birthday.
“I bask in each minute I spend there and am so humbled and happy to be a part of such a beautiful community,” Meg told us.
Meg and our interns are working together to draft informational signs to go with every bed box. Our interns are researching the nutritional value of the produce we’re growing. During our Summer of Hope camp in July, our teen One Summer Chicago participants will work with Arts Alive Chicago to design and paint these signs.
Through the Teaching Garden project, children and adults alike will be able to walk through our garden not only as neighbors, but as stakeholders and leaders in the health of their community.