McKinley Park Community Garden
The McKinley Park Community Garden broke ground on the near southwest side of Chicago in 2013. The goal of our garden is to serve as a source of fresh, organic food for our urban gardeners as well as for our neighborhood food pantry and soup kitchen. In addition to providing gardeners with an opportunity to develop a relationship with their food, we serve as a safe, inviting, outdoor space where residents can develop strong relationships with each other, our neighborhood, and the environment.
The McKinley Park Community Garden is the only community garden in our neighborhood. Although we have only existed for one season so far, the support and enthusiasm demonstrated by neighbors is overwhelming. We built over 60 raised beds last year, with families participating from McKinley Park and all of its surrounding neighborhoods. We dedicated five of the beds to growing produce for our local food pantry and soup kitchen, and we hope to double that number in 2014.
Our garden directly benefits over sixty families as well as a steady stream of homeless, unemployed, or otherwise food insecure people who come through our weekly neighborhood food pantry and soup kitchen. Our garden provides nutritious food that might not otherwise be accessible or affordable to our community members; it creates and strengthens relationships among neighbors who might not otherwise know each other, let alone work together; it empowers residents who might not otherwise feel they have the capacity to improve the health of their children; it connects people with the earth who might not otherwise get away from the gritty hustle and bustle of city life; and it reminds us of our responsibility to care for the earth, when we might otherwise consider it a job for others. Our garden grows vegetables but mostly, it grows better people.
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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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA