Plus's Let's Build Garden City! fundraiser
Hi all! I'm raising money to support Let's Build Garden City!, the service learning platform teaching students and community how to transform empty space in their neighborhoods into community gardens.
This fundraiser will contribute to engaging students at local high schools, paying guest speakers+local educators for Let's Build Garden City! public programs, and rent+utilities at our base of operations for the school year.
Thank you for your support.
Who are we?
Let's Build Garden City! is a diverse service learning platform from including resources and educational ties spanning many community organizations. We have work experience in corporate and nonprofit spheres as well as grassroots movements; collectively we have our mitts in fields including most facets of the art world, education, and agriculture.
Why have we contacted schools for our produce instead of planting directly in the soil? Most of CPS consists of black and brown students. The high school Service Learning environment will keep our future produce protected from outside contamination thanks to the power of education. If we reach our goal, this will all be possible.
What do we want to create?
We seek to create a garden resource that all community members can access, service. and benefit from. In our first and only operating year, we're growing the infrastructure that will allow our city to have a successful bounty next harvest and for years to come. Our vision is the first city without hunger! Several distinct projects comprise our goals for this season:
I. Double the number of Community Gardens via the empty spaces and concrete pads in the city. We seek to erect 900 additional raised vegetable+herb gardens to keep the food we grow safe from contamination due to pollution.
Keeping in mind the state of our land, we've set out to help students rehabilitate the soil- in the process reversing the built up effects of disinvestment, gentrification, and toxification. For instance, surrounding a garden with wildflowers and mycelium (mushrooms) will serve to cleanse the polluted soil and attract bee activity, benefiting our plants and beautifying our communities.
II. Fill the Let's Build Garden City! Directory with Community Support liaisons and organizations who can help students build strong relationships, educate, and facilitate donations.
Like all gardeners, Let's Build Garden City! participants will be delivering food and hauling large amounts of garden necessities - soil, organic compost and rocks, as well as transporting tools and machinery such as greenhouse supplies, shovels, rakes, and rototillers. They will need at least two quality wheelbarrows to move materials within the gardens.
Many students will want to construct greenhouses for seed starting and nursing delicate greenery. A greenhouse can nurture plants before they are large enough to root outside and allow us to extend the growing season beyond the natural bounds of the Chicago climate. They will need plastic, steel and concrete to erect greenhouses as well as quality proven design.
Community Support liaisons can facilitate infrastructure*, tool donations to till and plant in fields, as well as hoses and other systems to irrigate our plants in times of drought. These are just a few examples of projects that our network is built to support.
III. Get a Let's Build Garden City! headquarters to store resources and use as a base of operations while we expand. Your contribution will help us rent a space for the remainder of the 2018-2019 year for $500-$750/mo.
[Our first community garden, full of reclaimed boats.]
Where will this actually happen?
We seek to revitalize abandoned space in all of Chicago’s historic neighborhoods, many of which are known as food deserts. Giving new meaning to the idea of “fast food,” many abandoned lots next to the highway will become the homes of community gardens and fields of scraggly weeds will be seas of beautiful flowers.
[Pullman bricks found at our first garden site]
When will the pantry be stocked?
In just 8 months we have already received approval from the Chicago Public Schools for Service Learning partnerships, successfully petitioned the city and organized for public water access, had a string of impactful publicity events, contacted dozens of schools, released a website full of contacts & resources, and re-positioned our first community garden to be reclaimed by students.
We seek to roll this momentum forward by promoting the green programs necessary to cultivate food education this non-growing season, with anticipation of crops throughout the summer and fall, as well as sites permanently set up for future harvests.
Why you should care?
Using the pre-existing social and ecological landscapes, we are creating a series of local and sustainable developments to serve as material resources for our community. By building the infrastructure for high yielding community gardens, we aim to construct a safe and beautiful community space for educational, economic and environmental opportunities. In a town that is too familiar with empty spaces and disinvestment, our garden network will be a positive social center for the city; it will engage and inform local residents, cultivate environmental responsibility, food and wellness education as well as civic engagement.
Risks and challenges
Without community involvement and support, a sustainable community garden network would not be possible. Seeking trust and transparency, Let's Build Garden City! openly communicates our activities as we reach out to like-minded organizations and other community groups to unite in our shared goals.
This way we can share the burden and better prepare young folks for the risks and challenges of growing, which can be a very consuming endeavor.
Engagement with the community will be maintained and nurtured through acts of outreach including fostering bonds with our neighbors and going door to door, publishing regular newsletters, maintaining a relevant online presence and hosting or promoting a variety of events including garden workshops, musical performance fundraisers, art shows, skill-swapping events and educational workshops.
WATCH the full Let's Build Garden City! video at tinyurl.com/thiswillendhunger