Greetings from Chicago! Over the past three weeks, we have been hard at work preparing the ground for the Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network. As one of our three project areas, this network aims to connect neighbors in the highly-dense Rogers Park community with arable land and gathering spaces to get to know one another.
Today we are launching a Kickstarter Campaign to help us raise funds to build new pilot gardens and demonstrate that this is an idea whose time has come. Last year, we built and operated a 700 square foot vegetable garden on borrowed land and produced a bounty of food that benefited our community. With four new homeowners ready to go, we are looking to generate resources to construct and support four new gardens that will allow up to 10 families to grow food together this summer and fall.
Read on for more information on the program itself and be sure to watch the video and visit the Kickstarter page linked below.
Here is how the Yard Share program works:
- Our Program Leaders canvass single-family homes to find suitable spaces and willing hosts for new gardens.
- We reach out to families in our Children’s gardening classes and flier the area to find community members interested in growing their own food or growing food for donation.
- Awesome people like you visit our Kickstarter page and pledge monetary donations to support material purchases.
- In early June, we construct the new gardens with the help of at-risk high school students engaged in our Spring program.
- As soon as construction is complete, we invite the gardeners in for a training and ribbon cutting at their new garden bed.
- Throughout the summer, Summer of Solutions Participants and Program Leaders provide technical and manual labor support to gardeners to ensure their success.
- Gardeners, Garden Hosts, and the whole Summer of Solutions staff celebrate the season with a series of harvest potlucks and skill sharing workshops.
In a neighborhood where population density rests at 30,000 people per square mile and open space comes at a premium, this network has the creativity it needs to thrive within the constraints of our community. And the best part? It doesn’t stop in Rogers Park. We are developing a Tool-kit to Start Your Own Yard Share available in it’s initial release to contributors of $100 or more.
Please consider being a part of this ground-breaking effort and visit our Kickstarter page to contribute. We’ve included plenty of perks to get your mouth watering, including some limited edition jars of our Chicago rooftop honey! And come soon, because we’ve only got 10 of them!
With hopes for gardens everywhere,
Molly, Nell, Ben and Peter