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.
You may find it helpful to read through the Manual for Development before beginning.
In order to form a new community garden with the Chicago Park District, the following documents are required:
Harvest Garden is a three-season organic gardening program that teaches kids age 6-12 how to plant and maintain an edible garden in their neighborhood parks. The 16 week curriculum includes gardening basics as well as lessons in nutrition, cooking, and environmental stewardship. During the last week of the summer program participants from all parks come together for the Harvest Festival to show off their produce and creative creations. Managed by Chicago Park District’s Culture, Arts & Nature Department, the Harvest Garden Program is currently available in 16 parks.