Posted April 2, 2012 - 3:31pm by Jenise Celestin
This week, I charged $65 to buy my own 8 ft x 5 ft plot in a community garden. Wow, never thought I would say that. Honestly, when my colleague told me about the Peterson Garden Project last year, I didn't think I would ever feel the need to plant and grow my own vegetables. How will I know what to plant? How far apart do you plant veggies? What grows best in this climate? How on earth will I get the plants to actually grow and produce food? Will I have fun doing this?
But this year, my perspective totally changed. First, I started to see the impact that healthy home cooking was having on my 3-year-old daughter through the 28-Day Challenge. From making our own hummus to dicing up fresh veggies for soup, cooking natural foods in the kitchen allowed us the opportunity to have fun prepping together, eat less processed foods and save money! A win-win for all.
So, I started thinking about what it would mean for Molly (and our whole family) to grow our own vegetables, harvesting those goods for use in our meals at home. This year, when my colleague came around talking about the new garden plots throughout the north side, I was energized by the thought of owning a piece of that experience.
There are a number of community gardens, but for those of you who haven't heard about the Peterson Garden Project, I encourage you to check them out. What started as a garden site at Peterson & Campbell in 2010 (an actual site of one of the Victory Gardens during WWII!) has now turned into a broader movement - with five edible community gardens across several north side communities including Albany Park, Edgewater, North Center, North Park and West Ridge. There is also a Grow2Give section of each garden - the harvest from this area is donated to a local food pantry or organization. In a time of food scarcity, poverty and poor food choices (which often leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems), it's promising to hear about communities supporting one another with healthy food resources.
I can't wait to share some of my experiences with you throughout the summer. In the meantime, sign up for your plot at one of these gardens, or find another garden to get involved with!