Even though we had to say goodbye to Virtual Veggie Bingo for the season, if you love what we do and want to support the featured gardens and farms you can still donate to the Virtual Veggie Bingo GoFundMe Page until October 31st!
You can also support the individual gardens and farms by visiting their social media pages and donating to them directly! Just scroll down to the garden and click the link to find out what they’re doing and how you can help!
SCHEDULE OF GARDENS AND CALLERS BELOW
Garden: Star Farm – Star Farm’s mission is to increase accessibility of locally grown organic produce. They achieve this through a combination of farm stands, community supported agriculture (CSAs), and food donations. In addition, they provide local jobs, job training, and business incubation for adults with developmental disabilities and/or employment barriers, while engaging local families through their children’s and community programming.
Guest Caller: Dag Juhlin, from Expo 76, Poi Dog Pondering, and the Sunshine Boys
Garden: Ginkgo Organic Garden – Ginkgo Organic Gardens is a community garden growing fresh produce for low-income and homeless people in the Uptown area of Chicago. Using organic methods, they grow about 1,500 pounds of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers each year and donate them to local food banks.
Guest Caller: Amy Lombardi calling all the way from Austin, Texas
Garden: Drake Garden– In the words of one of the main founders of Drake Gardens, ‘This green space has become a catalyst for change in our community.’ So as it was in the 1990s, so let it be in the 2020s. Together as neighbors & friends and with the support of our 33rd ward alderman Rossana Rodriguez, we are thrilled to begin the revitalization of our Drake Gardens. Among the exciting new additions will be an open central space for gatherings and performances, brand new benches, plantings, and pathways, as well as new plots for community-usage, and the addition of new signage and garden artwork created by local artists. Currently, the garden is hosting a mini-food bank shed, where those with resources can drop off cans, and those in need can pick them up.
Guest Caller: Playwright and director Seth Bockley
Garden: We Sow We Grow Project – The We Sow We Grow Project is dedicated to the furtherance of gardening and farming in an urban landscape through education and service. Fresh fruits and vegetables are possible to grow for all and we seek to remove the fear and reservations of growing your own food through community-powered assistance in an urban ag safe space. We seek to connect growers from all over on any and every level.
Guest Caller: Mucca Pazza’s Justin Amolsch
Garden: Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden – Fulton Street Garden was revitalized by the Taylor family when they moved into the house next door a few years back. With the Fulton Street Block club, they have developed a rich and productive garden, a meeting place for the community, and strong working relationships with city and not-for-profit entities. The garden has been honored at the Mayors’ Landscaping Awards and has won competitions at the Garfield Park County Fair. Each year, we strive to do as much as before and more by learning, teaching, growing, eating, laughing, relaxing, and most importantly, working hard under the Chicago sun!
Guest Callers: Gerald Dowd
Garden: Cedillo’s Fresh Produce – Cedillo’s Fresh Produce is an incubator farm based at the NeighborSpace Eat 2 Live site and part of the Englewood Village Farms network. Cedillo’s serves P.O.C. communities on Chicago’s West and South sides. You can pick up Cedillo’s fresh produce at the Farm, in Back of the Yard at Plant Chicago or in the North side at GrowOp. Please follow us on https://www.facebook.com/CedillosFreshProduce/ and https://www.instagram.com/cedillofreshproduce/?hl=en
Guest Caller: Film and Television Actress Rusty Schwimmer
Garden: 6062Trees: Sembrando Bajo el Sol – In Little Village, the vibrant community that proudly welcomes visitors with a warm bienvenidos, a concrete lot was transformed into –6062Trees: Sembrando Bajo el Sol or “sowing in the sun.” Under the leadership of Enlace, the help of community partners and resident volunteers, 6062Trees has evolved into a flourishing allotment garden that is cared for by local individuals, families, and organizations.
In addition to addressing the need for increased growing spaces, this 2017 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Award winner offers a place for community activities, educational opportunities, artistic expression, and a welcoming play area for Little Village youth.
Guest Caller: Laura Ann Masura of Laura Ann’s Jams
Garden: Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm – Uniting the Land and the People: “Don’t take your food for granted.” The Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm is working to connect city dwellers to the land and to the basics of organic food production. Many young people tend to think food magically appears on grocery store shelves. Operating a functioning farm within walking distance allows residents of all ages to see firsthand how the food production process works in real time.
Guest Caller: Dag Juhlin, from Expo 76, Poi Dog Pondering, and the Sunshine Boys
Garden: 71st and Crandon Organic Garden – The 71st and Crandon Organic Garden is located on three vacant city lots in the heart of South Shore, just blocks from the South Shore Cultural Center. The garden was born as a result of the 5th Ward Participatory Budget process. There were months of public meetings at which members of the community asked for multiple community gardens. This desire was winnowed down to a single vision for a garden on the corner of 71st and Crandon. The project would go on to receive more votes than any other in the participatory budgeting process.
In May 2016, 200 hours of volunteer service were donated by moving multiple yards of mulch and soil and planting a total of 19 trees and shrubs: 2 black cherry trees, 5 American plum trees, 1 black walnut tree, 1 pecan tree, 5 hazelnut shrubs, 2 bald cypress, 2 swamp white oaks, and 1 linden tree. These 19 trees/shrubs will help clean the air, reduce runoff into combined sewers, and create a gathering space for the community.
Guest Callers: Sarah Dandelles & Jennifer Quinlan
Garden: North Lawndale Greening Committee – The North Lawndale Greening Committee is an organization that was started in 1995 to increase the amount of green space in the Chicago west side neighborhood of North Lawndale. A large percentage of the land in this community is vacant lots. The North Lawndale Greening Committee was instrumental in transforming vacant lots – full of garbage and weeds, and used by youth and young adults for loitering – into beautiful and productive community gardens.
Guest Callers: Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Transportation, Gia Biagi, and Garden Leader Dr. Shemuel Israel.
Garden: NeighborSpace Community Greenhouse Collective –
The NeighborSpace Community Greenh
Guest Caller: Garden Leader Lora Lode and WBEZ’s Monica Eng
Garden: Belmont Cragin Garden –
Belmont Cragin Garden is committed to harnessing the skills and talents of neighborhood residents to build a common space where we, as a community, can learn and grow from one another. Our goal is to have our garden act as a space where local schools, teachers, mentors, and families can learn to grow health foods, learn of the ground and environment, socialize, partake in educational workshops, health and exercise classes, as well as enjoy the fun events and interactive activities for the entire family.
Founded in 2018, our garden is in the Belmont Cragin Neighborhood, which is predominantly working class Latinx families. It is a beautiful gem, located near our local shopping mall plaza. Recently, we added a tiny library, and envision adding a permanent food pantry, areas for exploration as well as peace. Some ideas include Nature Play, native grasses & perennials, benches, berming, gravel paths, and herb gardens.
Guest Caller: Playwright and director Seth Bockley and the Belmont Cragin Garden Leaders
Garden: First Nations Garden –
The mission of First Nations Garden is to provide a healing space for the Inter-Tribal Native community of Chicago, to promote public knowledge and appreciation of Chicago’s Indigenous landscape, native plants, gardens and the environment. The garden, which began in 2018, is being developed by the American Indian Center along with the ChiNations Youth Council. Their shared vision is to create a preeminent cultural and educational hub within the Albany Park neighborhood. The current 5 vacant lots have been carefully cleared by volunteers and a teepee and wigwam erected. In order to proceed with the broader plans organizers have reached out to NeighborSpace to assist with land preservation, environmental safety and design.
Guest Callers: Songwriter/musician/artist Chris Salveter of Judson Claiborne and The Fruit Stare.
Garden: Peterson Garden Project/GrowUptown/Global Garden/ Land on Lincoln – Peterson Garden Project is a nonprofit educational organization looking to recruit, educate and inspire everyone to grow and cook their own food. Pop-up Victory Gardens, a Community Cooking School, and extensive educational resources are available to the entire community. Through PGP programs, families and communities discover new strength and connection through the lifelong skills of organic food gardening and cooking.
Guest Callers: David Kodeski & Edward Thomas-Herrera
Garden: Jardin Esperanza de La Villita –
Jardin Esperanza de la Villita, Nature Play garden is a beloved place that gives young children and their families a place to connect with nature and neighbors.
Rather than the traditional metal swings and slides, this garden features elements and characteristics of the natural world: a pebble pool, balancing logs, a herd of boulders, and play deck.
Guest Callers: Third-generation square dance caller Annie Coleman, founder of Chicago’s Golden Horse Ranch Band (and realtor extraordinare) and North Carolina-based artist Janet Ecklebarger (who can do your taxes to boot!)
Garden: Austin Green Team –
The Austin Green Team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that builds, maintains, and supports community gardens and community beautification in the Austin neighborhood. For almost thirty years, the Austin Green Team has also managed two greenhouses located in the Austin Career & Educational Academy High School, propagating and growing plants that help maintain the community gardens that the Austin Green Team oversees. The purpose of the Austin Green Team is to enhance the quality of life issues by working collaboratively with other community stakeholders in beautifying the Austin
Guest Caller: Austin Green Team’s Tina Augustus and Lisa Martain Hoffer – Corporate giving fundraiser at the Museum of Science and Industry, mom of 2 radical teenage girls, nostalgic Reader alum and middle-aged Rockette who still takes the occasional ballet class
Farms: Windy City Harvest‘s North Lawndale Youth Farm and Kenneth Street Farm –
North Lawndale Youth Farm – Construction on the North Lawndale Youth Farm began in 2005, building on the success of the Lake County site. The program’s most urban site, this Youth Farm is nestled on a quarter-acre lot between the El tracks and Ogden Avenue at the beginning of Route 66. Like the Lake County site, this location also depends highly on the generosity of its partner, NeighborSpace, an urban land trust that owns the land and supplies the water. In 2012, the North Lawndale Youth Farm expanded to an additional site down the street at the Lawndale Christian Health Center, allowing more growing space to meet the needs of its 20 youth participants and the growing demand for farm-fresh produce from the weekly farm stand outside of the Green Tomato Café.
Kenneth Street Farm – This 10,000-square-foot NeighborSpace lot in West Garfield Park has been used as a production and Corps training site by Windy City Harvest since 2009. Produce grown here is distributed through VeggieRx programming. This site is home to three farm plots used by West Garfield Park residents.
Caller: Windy City Harvest‘s Urban Youth Programs Director Eliza Fournier and Mr. & Mrs. Wednesday Night
Garden: Montrose Metra Community Garden – 4200-4400 N Ravenswood Avenue
Montrose Metra Community Garden’s mission is to create vibrant, green community spaces that connect neighbors and fosters a healthy, sustainable environment for all.
What started in 2016 has grown into more than just permanent vegetable plots. It now hosts a public orchard of native fruits, a pollinator flyway, and a native Oak savanna. Our garden has become home for the families that grow in its plots, the students from area schools and colleges who come to volunteer and learn about ecology and civic engagement, and the countless volunteers and visitors we host each year both at the gardens and our Green and Growing Speaker Series at the local library.
Guest Caller: Garden Leader Extraordinaire and owner of Vivant Gardening Services Kasey Bersett Eaves
Garden: Chicago Community Gardeners Association (CCGA) –
(From chicagocommunitygardens.org) Our city is home to hundreds of community gardens, and Chicago Community Gardeners Association has created a network of gardeners that is truly gardener-designed and led, to ensure the sustainability and vibrancy of Chicago gardens for years to come. CCGA supports Chicago’s many gardens spread throughout the city’s neighborhoods and surrounding areas. They vary greatly in size, style, and function from beds of vegetables and flowers to memorial or peace gardens. Many of these community gardens are ornamental and focus on growing native plants, shrubs, and beautiful annual and perennial flowers, while others have allotment plot gardening for individuals to plant as they wish. CCGA is composed of working groups that meet regularly to coordinate garden tours, plan an annual conference, and find solutions to common challenges such as leadership transitions, access to water and land, and community organizing. It welcomes people of all ages with a range of interests and experience.
Guest Caller: Musician and recording engineer Stan Wood of OnYou
Garden: The Garden Project at Oscar Mayer Magnet School – 2250 N Clifton Ave
(From oscarmayergardenproject.com) In the Spring of 2008, The Garden Project at Oscar Mayer Magnet elementary school began. Fourteen teachers signed on to introduce to their students the joys of working in a garden. Parents and volunteers prepared a 100′ x 16′ plot just south of the school’s entrance on Clifton Avenue. The kids started seeds, created worm bins, tilled their plots and finally planted some plants!In the many years that we have had The Garden Project up and running, there have been some changes but our goals remain the same: we want we want our students to be interested in where food comes from, learn about our hard-working pollinators, create awareness about our environment, take the learning outside of the building, and help other Chicago Public Schools create their own schoolyard garden. We also want to shout from the rooftops that playing in the dirt is fun!
Guest Caller: Oscar Mayer Garden Project leader and Hideout family member Anastasia Davies Hinchsliff
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