You can grow your own food. We can help.

Karma Garden

The Karma Garden is a joint program between Cook Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, Nancy B. Jefferson, Chicago Public Schools, and University of Illinois at Chicago Master Gardeners that offers incarcerated youth the opportunity to foster a love for the environment, learn hands-on horticultural skills, and give back to the community. We created the first green space the JTDC has had in 20 years. 

Last year Chicago Public Schools teachers secured grants to begin the garden. Incarcerated youth planted, tended, and harvested produce, which was then donated to the local soup kitchen that is within the area of the detention center. At first, the Karma Garden was met with some resistence. However, during a hear wave this past summer, the school- prision community came together and cared for the Karma Garden. Through this shared expereince, the Karma Garden has become a symbol of hope and involvement for youth, staff and teachers  

This year we would like to do the following:

(1) continue what we dld last year--plant, tend, harvest and donate produce

(2) add in the compost so that the kitchen staff is involved. We would like to texten the garden to have compost bins and youth who are in charge of the compost bins.

(3) we need an expert who would be able to come in and discuss compost in a secure environment.

Where it's at:

1100 S. Hamilton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60629
United States

Garden type:

prison garden

Garden size (in square feet):


Garden beneficiaries:

prisoners and prisoners

Number of people reached:

1 500

What this project needs:

compost bin

Project leaders:

Jen Cullerton Johnson
Jennifer Johnson

About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

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Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606