My name is Molly Hulseman, and this is my first year with the Summer Of Solutions team. I am working with the Children’s Garden at the Koinonia house on Ashland. My schedule is different than most summer participants in that I come to SoS just on Mondays.
The kids picked herbs and other foods growing in the Children’s Garden to add to their pizzas.
We are almost 1 month into our program. It began slowly. No children showed up the first day of children’s garden, but the week after we had as many as 15 kids at the garden.
Children’s garden has been going along very smoothly! The goal of the children’s garden is to teach the kids about the importance of plants, organic foods, and growing crops in a city. Each week we decide on a theme, and teach basic lessons on the themes that we have chosen. In our first week we talked to the kids about the water cycle as well as how water allows plants to grow. The next week we talked about the sun’s influence on plant growth. Continue reading →
Hi my name is Chanel and I work for the Chicago Summer of Solutions. I began working with them through YEP (Youth Employment Program). I really enjoy working with Summer of Solutions because it’s showed me a lot of things I didn’t know. I’m still open minded to know more but from what I have done so far it has been the best experience. I signed up to work with Children’s Garden at The United Church of Rogers Park. However, we recently began new garden classes at the Westwood Manor nursing home where we run a greenhouse. We teach the kids from the YMCA Summer Camp next door about gardening so they will start their own garden with their families.
David Mack (center) talking with the LETS GO team in summer 2012
Hello everyone! My name is David Mack. I am from Evanston, but have lived in Rogers Park all of my life. I just finished my freshman year on June 12. I’m one of the youngest to join Summer of Solutions at the age of 13 (I am 14 now). I am doing my second year here. I like this program because it gives me the chance to make a change in my town. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make their home a better place if they were given the chance? I was given the chance, and now I’m making my home a better place. Continue reading →
Well, maybe we’re not friends yet–let me introduce myself! My name is Desi, I live in Chicago, I’m a grad student/writer/amateur gardener, and I love cheese. This is my first year at Summer of Solutions, and I’m proud to be one of the teachers of the Children’s Garden Class.
Before this program, I was aware of the nutrition deficit that many Americans deal with. A growing number of Americans don’t know what a healthy diet looks like, and even those who do often lack the funds to follow one. But even as aware as I was of the problem, I had never thought much about a solution. And I’m not sure why. Especially because what we are doing this summer–growing food locally and educating the community on how to do the same–seems like such an obvious answer. But now that I’m in-the-know, I’m super excited to pass on my knowledge and skills to a great group of kids. Continue reading →
LETS GO Chicago members have been quite busy throughout the late winter and early spring and we are excited to tell you why. As Chicago thaws, the Rogers Park solutionaries are revving up for their fourth season of gardening, community building, youth empowerment and more. We have been preparing for our spring garden since early March by planting seedlings in our new greenhouse in West Rogers Park. Through a new partnership with the Westwood Manor Nursing Home, we are breathing life into the 18 by 32 foot space with the help of nursing home residents. The greenhouse is allowing us to select a wider range of crop varieties while providing a valuable learning experience for all involved.
The greenhouse at Westwood Manor
Come mid-May, we will also be adding a community garden to this open space on the nursing home grounds:
Cross-posted from LetsGoChicago.org, homepage of the Chicago solutionaries! Written by Marissa Neuman, Chicago 2013 Program Leader.
Compartmentalized is a word that I often use to describe the separated realms that make up my day to day life, and I think that for many young activists this is a similar sentiment. Many of us have other jobs, school, children, relationships, other activist work, or passions that occupy our time and energy. The majority of my time is spent between the ceramic studio, Let’s Go Chicago, and feminist organizing. With so many of these sectors functioning simultaneously and often not in union with one another it is easy for me to feel spread ultra thin.
On those weeks when days feel like hours and work looks like steep mountains for me to conquer, it is important for me to know why I spend my time the way I spend it. Sometimes these reasons are more clear on certain days than others and it is often more challenging for me to find real clarity when the pressure keeps building on top of me.
This past week started off as one of these ‘bottom of the mountain’ kind of weeks. Several projects were due at school, a fundraiser I had been planning for months was taking place, and an important grant was in the works for Let’s Go. By the end of the week all of these tasks were successfully accomplished and all of those seemingly daunting mountains felt like foothills in retrospect. Admittedly, I think it is relatively symptomatic to make little of the pain of a challenging week when time has nursed the wounds. However, the transformation of my ‘mountains into foothills’ was not a temporal consequence, but the result of breaking down that precipice and conquering it with a team of fellow solutionaries. Continue reading →
This blog post, written by Chicago Program Leader Nell Seggerson, is cross-posted from Letsgochicago.org.
In this blog, I’m going to attempt to pack the two things I think about all the time into one tidy package about the future of our communities: schools and climate change.
A motto we use (not very much but enough that I’m going to say it’s our motto) here in Chicago is “A school in every neighborhood, a garden in every yard”.
We’ve been talking about the connection between the education system and sustainable community transitions for awhile now and it makes sense to us that we should be working with schools, but mostly because schools are a resource to get more kids involved, not because we recognized why the schools need us. But as times in education shift, it’s becoming more clear why schools and community-based environmental groups need each other.
In Chicago right now, we’re in the midst of a battle for public education. It’s the modern apparatus of a 200 year movement for public education that includes the fight of slaves teaching their children to read and black organizers building freedom schools during the Civil Rights movement. But now, as the bloody hand of neoliberalism claws at one of the city’s (and country’s) last remaining public institutions the ground is being laid for a huge community uprising.
In March, the Chicago Board of Education will release its list of school closings. So far there have only been rumors and small leaks from the Mayor’s office, but predicted numbers have been around 100 schools.
A stiff breeze off the lakefront may have chilled our vegetation until the spring, but
an exciting fervor for planting and growing has been brewing in our solutionary
meetings with new and evolving plans for the future!
Our three main programs have reaped great success and lessons for us this past
Students showing off pickles made in the fall children’s garden class
The children’s garden remains an active staple in the ‘playground’ of LETS GO Chicago. We maintain a fruitful partnership with the United Church of Rogers Park to help elementary school students to dig in and learn in our victory garden. Their textbooks are the raised beds in front of Koinonia house, an intentional community that is part of our home base, where they learn to identify, cultivate, know and love the land. This summer was jam packed with all kinds of fun games and activities with new kids and instructors. This fall we continued the fun pickling cucumbers and painting pumpkins ahead of the first frost. Just like perennials, the children’s garden will blossom once again in the Spring bringing with it new adventures and lessons. Continue reading →
With the arrival of November and all its triumphant color, calm, and hints of frost, so comes the end of our second season as Yard Sharers. We celebrated the closing of another beautiful growing season with a bonfire, soup, and hot chocolate at our friend and land lender Bob’s house. This year we were able to expand our Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network from 1 to 6 back yards and expand our gardener population from one learning program (us) to around 25 new growers.
But as things wind down in our gardens, our work on the network picks up inside! To date, we have spent most of our yard share work time outside building and maintaining the network’s material infrastructure. In line with our vision of making this network flourish and grow, however, we understand our need to develop more of the organizational elements of the network. Therefore, Nell and I have been busy working on financial goals and re-writing land-use-agreements in hope to have a sound model to share with new Summer of Solutions programs come January. Continue reading →