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The garden started as an informal project. It was once an abandoned building that was torn down and then the community began to ‘guerrilla’ garden there. Around 2000 the lot was beginning to take some shape with the input of the neighbors on the 2200 block of North Monticello Avenue. A few trees were planted, and people organized together to start some plots. Soon after (around 2002) Greencorps Chicago helped build three raised tiers. After a while, these beds started to collapse and the neighbors on the block helped to build one very large raised bed with organic soil. NeighborSpace visited the garden around this time, and the process to become a NeighborSpace garden began in 2008. Once Monticello was were established as a NeighborSpace garden, the gardeners were able to receive support for building six more raised beds, completed in 2011.
The garden is mainly used by people on the block, but occasionally neighbors from a block or two away come and contribute to the garden. The gardeners grow many varieties of fruits andvegetables, and a well-established Paw Paw tree bears lots of fruit. There is a raspberry patch, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, lettuces, kale, okra, carrots, fennel, cucumbers, zucchini, other squash, fennel, radish, and spinach, plus a bed dedicated to herbs including oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, lemongrass, and parsley. The gardeners have had movies in the garden in the summertime, hold an annual block party, and have crafted a mosaic sign for the garden with the children living on the block.
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