160 years ago, the land near Cermak and Wolf in the Hillside / Westchester community was a farm. The land was developed and all that remains is the Save the Prairie Society and about 10 acres of field that is owned by Immanuel Lutheran Church and Christian Academy.
In spring of 2016, a group of parents, teachers and community friends with the cooperation of Immanuel and the Village of Hillside, will begin the planting of a community garden in the north field of this unused land. The non-for profit garden will connect the community; building relationships on a foundation of sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly practices that will nurture, educate and inspire the local community, especially the children of both the public and parochial schools.
Our current Community Garden Committee is comprised of educators, a Certified Permaculturist/Contractor, a Master Herbalist, a retired Florist/avid gardener, and a Bee Keeper/Certified Urban Farmer. We believe that the love and passion we feel for our community and the environment and the potential of this garden, will impact the Hillside / Westchester Community in a huge and positive way.
Community gardens improve the quality of life for gardeners, reduce crime, preserve green space, stimulate social interaction and community development, encourage self-reliance and beautify neighborhoods while providing nutritious food and reducing family food budgets as well as creating new recreational and education opportunities outdoors.
The Old School House Community Garden will:
• offer plots to neighbors within the Hillside & Westchester neighborhood
• foster positive social interaction within the community
• produce nutritious food
• beautify the neighborhood
• provide opportunities to grow and donate food to local food pantries
• provide youth gardening
• provide educational programs and workshops: principles of permaculture, organic gardening, herbal product making, canning, woodworking, garden walks/talks and more
To begin, we must perform basic updates to infrastructure such as removal of sod, construction of picnic area, fencing, compost bins, sheds, installation of rain barrel irrigation and new furnace to our building. Other needs include signage, tools, bushes, trees and flowers for common areas.
It will cost $20,000 to transform just one acre of this empty land to a sustainable garden. The goal for the first phase of this project is $10,000 by February 29th.
We will begin planting plots in the spring of 2016. You can check out the Garden's progress at https://www.facebook.com/OldSchoolhouseCommunityGarden/
On behalf of the garden committee and the thirsty land located just east of Wolf on Cermak Road, thank you, thank you. Bless your heart!