This year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden in Chicago.
The Chicago Park District’s Harvest Garden Program is an organization committed to connecting the children of Chicago to their food’s roots and teaching them the fundamentals of organic gardening. Founded in the year 2000, the program is now present in 18 parks across the city, where local children can get involved in all aspects of tending vegetable garden beds, completely free of charge.
According to Kristin Brock, the Park District’s Senior Program Specialist for Gardening, “Many of the concepts taught through the Harvest Garden Program are reinforced through games, writing and art activities, and recipe preparation. These projects thrive when they are inspired by the garden and the concepts are less theoretical – closer proximity to plants and beneficial insects increases the participants’ creativity and wonder.”
It’s been hard for the program to thrive in Minuteman Park, however. Built in the 1970s in an historically underprivileged neighborhood right next to the airport, the park’s sprawling layout and difficult access for children have been a real obstacle to the program’s efforts to reach its full potential.
With Gardening Know How’s support, the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden will get a much-needed expansion and revamping, relocating and growing its vegetable garden and adding a native plant and pollinator garden. This should give the program’s children much better access to vegetables and the opportunity to learn about new plants and insects.
With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden will be introducing even more of Chicago’s kids to healthy produce, pollinators, and inclusive, engaging education about gardening and plants. We’re proud to be able to help them realize their dream.