Howard Area Community Garden

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Year Established: 1982
Community Group: Howard Area Community Center
NeighborSpace Partnership: 1999
Katje Sabin, coordinator
Mail: 7648 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60626
Phone: (470) 228-1725

The 12,000-sq.-ft. lot on Juneway Terrace – the northernmost street in Chicago – could easily have become any number of things besides the award-winning Howard Area Community Garden. Seeing the garden today it is difficult to imagine anything in its place besides row after row of vegetables – everything from tomatoes and cucumbers to hot peppers and tall stalks of sweet corn – separated by low-lying fences covered in flowering vines and other creeping plants. However, this thriving space came very close to being turned into a parking lot for a nearby condominium development. Fortunately, the land had already been purchased by NeighborSpace, and this allowed the community gardeners to keep their plots and preserve green space valuable to this densely populated area.

Primarily used for growing vegetables, the Howard Area Community Garden gives residents the rare opportunity to grow their own fresh food and plants of all types in its 48 individual plots and three open growing areas. Preservation of the garden also secured one of the social focal points for this diverse community. According to former neighborhood leader Sister Cecilia Fandel, the Howard Area Community Garden has successfully brought together many different ethnic groups and area organizations through a range of activities, not all of which pertain to gardening. “We have hosted garden fairs with judging done by Master Gardeners in our community, dedication ceremonies, anniversary parties, potlucks and cook outs. All of this builds skill, knowledge and pride in the gardeners, and it develops community spirit…Throughout our years with NeighborSpace we feel more confident and safe. We have obtained a renovated water source. We feel united with gardeners throughout Chicagoland, and we have learned of various resources to better our garden. We know we can call on them and count on them in any adversity or need we have.”