Community Garden Universe

Peterson Garden Project is one bright star in a big universe of the community gardening movement. Our organization has been nurtured, supported, challenged (in good ways!) and invigorated by others in this sphere that are dedicated, like we are, to making food growing and green space the norm, not the exception in urban areas.

The American Community Gardening Association is the brightest light in this constellation. Founded in 1979 – right here in Chicago! – ACGA is “coming home” this summer for their 35th annual conference August 7-10 at The Field Museum.

Peterson Garden Project staff and partners will be presenting on a variety of topics at the conference (see below), there will be other incredible presentations, networking, tours of Chicago gardens (including our Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum – the host venue) and we’ll be doing a workshop in the new Fearless Food Kitchen on “Food as Fundraiser”). To top it off, Garfield Park Conservatory is hosting a big “garden soiree” to celebrate the 35 years of achievement of this incredible organization.

Why am I telling you this? Because I’d like you to help spread the word.

Here’s some easy things you can do:

  1. Share this post with a friend who works with, or is interested in starting, a community garden. Out-of-towners are welcome too! We’ll have guests from Korea, Chile and other exciting international destinations… and there’s a great hotel deal at the Blackstone hotel for out of town guests! Click HERE for info.
  2. If you live in Chicago, consider attending the “garden soiree” on Friday, August 8 at the Garfield Park Conservatory – great food, great music and an evening of fun with community garden experts from across the world (and community gardeners know how to party as you well know!) Plus a silent auction! Register HERE (soiree is at the bottom):
  3. And if you’re interested in the bigger community garden picture, attend the conference! Scholarships are available until June 30. For more info click HERE

That’s it. Your support of Peterson Garden Project means a lot. If you could do these  small things to help support the bigger picture, I would very much appreciate it.

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LaManda Joy, Founder/President Peterson Garden Project


Presentations at the conference by PGP staff and partners:

Global Garden: Where Community Gardeners and Refugee Farmers Grow Together

  • Linda Seyler, Farm Manager/Director, Global Garden Refugee Training Farm
  • LaManda Joy, Executive Director, Peterson Garden Project

Global Garden Refugee Training Farm and Peterson Garden Projects’ Global Garden Community Garden share a 1.3 acre site in Albany Park, a densely populated, culturally diverse neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. Come learn what happened when 75 refugee families and 724 community gardeners worked together to grow food and create an urban oasis.

A Guide to Community Seed Saving Projects

  • Breanne Heath, Program Manager, Peterson Garden Project

This lecture/hands-on workshop will present ideas and processes for creating community seed saving projects: why do them?; how to develop partnerships; how to build community and get long-term “buy-in”; workarounds for doing seed-saving on a small scale; and how to take it to the next level by hosting seed swaps and distributing seeds. We will end the lecture with a demonstration on seed cleaning techniques, and offer the opportunity for guests to take part.

Reaping the Benefits:  Community Gardening and Health in Chicago

  • Sarah R. Taylor, Researcher, Peterson Garden Project
  • Alexandra Nelson, Leadership Team, Peterson Garden Project
  • Grace Jaworski, Research Assistant, Northwestern University

Chicago is known for its food deserts and high rates of chronic disease.  Can community gardening help?  This workshop will share the results of recent research that examines the effects of community gardening on several aspects of health and wellbeing in two Chicago neighborhoods featuring Peterson Garden Project (PGP) gardens.

Environmental Education in a Community Garden Setting

  • LaManda Joy, Executive Director, Peterson Garden Project

Working with Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab, ACGA and Peterson Garden Project have explored how community gardens can be used for environmental education. Pop-up Victory Gardens on Chicago’s North Side become learning labs for city dwellers otherwise not able to be actively engaged in the food growing process. From building the gardens in spring, planting, dealing with pests and disease and harvest, PGP’s innovative education program focuses on long term gardeners, environmental awareness and skills that can last a lifetime.

LaManda JoyCommunity Garden Universe

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