There are currently nearly 70 community gardens spread throughout Chicago’s parks. The gardens vary greatly in size, style and function. From large pots of flowers to carefully planned landscapes, many of the community gardens are ornamental and focus on growing native plants, shrubs and beautiful annual and perennial flowers. The “edible” gardens feature a variety of opportunities, including allotment plot gardening, pantry gardening and children’s learning gardens. Welcoming people with a range of interests and experience levels, there are many opportunities to volunteer in one of the many gardens found in Chicago’s parks. The links below will help those interested to learn more and get involved.
The Chicago Park District helps to promote and expand the greening efforts in our city by providing valuable outdoor space where communities can garden together. Building the foundation for a successful community garden is a long-term responsibility which requires community support and dedicated, ongoing commitment by all members of your gardening group.
Ornamental gardens are typically characterized by shared plots of land where groups divide the responsibility of tending and weeding. Vegetable gardens are more often divided into allotment plots assigned each season to gardeners, or shared space where members are responsible for working together and sharing equally in the fruits of their labor.
All gardens in parks are and will continue to be public property. While the Community Gardens in the Parks program continues to support efforts to reduce unnecessary vandalism or theft, we cannot guarantee that any garden is free from the risk.
Established in 1999, the Harvest Garden program has been engaging youth in planting, tending, harvesting, and preparing food for over twenty years. Harvest Garden counselors encourage participants to become caretakers of their gardens, themselves, and their communities through cultivating the beauty of the park’s edible garden and sharing its bounty. Observing the transformation of seed to vegetable taps into the curiosity of children and connects them to the natural world. This program runs in the spring, summer and fall, primarily during Park Kids and summer Day Camp programs. Kids especially love making and eating pico de gallo and pickles!