Stories of Stewardship and Chicago's Community Gardens

A community garden is not only a place to watch seeds grow into tomatoes or to try your first taste of basil; it can also be an entrypoint for conversation and action around politics, civic practice, and neighborhood stewardship. Join NeighborSpace Executive Director Ben Helphand and Assistant Director Robin Cline for a conversation with Pete Leki, Riverbank Neighbors of Lincoln Square; Angela Taylor, Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden of East Garfield Park; and Jessica Fong, McKinley Community Play Garden of McKinley Park, to share stories about local stewardship.

The discussion will highlight the many ways that Chicago neighbors come together to problem solve, design spaces, raise money, welcome strangers, and celebrate. NeighborSpace, the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago, preserves and sustains over 120 gardens led by local community groups across the city. These gardens provide healthy food, opportunities for residents to engage with neighbors, and generate beauty, play, health, and safety for their neighborhoods.

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NeighborSpace is the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups. They shoulder the responsibilities of property ownership—such as providing basic insurance, access to water, and links to support networks—so that community groups can focus on gardening. NeighborSpace-protected gardens give young and old alike an opportunity to get their hands in the earth and enjoy nature, right in their own neighborhoods.

Jardincito Nature Play Garden, Little Village. Image courtesy of NeighborSpace