This fall I had a blast gardening on about 150 square feet with students at John Hay Community Academy, a Chicago Public School in the Austin neighborhood. They planted and grew cool weather crops of kale, lettuces, chard and mustard greens. They also planted garlic to be harvested July 2012. Several of them told me they cooked what they harvested in November with their mothers. A small scale garden but real quality time for me and clearly for them and their families too.
Right now, I’m working with Urban Habitat Chicago, my sponsor, to apply for kids’ gardening grants to expand Hay Academy’s food garden next spring. (Editor’s note: Debra got the Hay Academy Food Garden the prestigious Whole Kids gardening grant for a whopping $3,000.00 for the 2012 growing season!) The school has 2,015 square feet of beds built by the Chicago Botanical Garden in 1994 for a native plants garden, long perished. Next spring, we will plant about 350 square feet with the fruits and vegetables the students identified as their favorites. We are also planning to restore fertile, healthy soil to the beds in a joint venture with Hay Academy’s Science Club to make lasagna beds and grow manure crops where we’re not growing vegetables and fruits.
If you would like to support our initiative and make a donation to help us get started, please donate to Urban Habitat Chicago in honor of the John Hay Community Academy Food Garden. We’re very grateful for your support!