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Latino State News

New Urban Garden Provides Healthy Food for Hungry in Chicago

Representatives from the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, Greater Chicago Food Depository and Origin Capital joined Ald. Edward M. Burke for the first harvest of a new Southwest Side urban garden Oct. 28.

The harvest of lettuce and other leafy greens from the one-acre garden, located at 51st Street and Lawndale Avenue, was donated to the Food Depository for distribution to those in need through the food bank’s network of 650 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

In June, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council staff and 10 unemployed men and women from Instituto del Progreso Latino’s Putting Illinois to Work program began the project of transforming the vacant lot into a functioning garden to produce healthy food for those in need while providing residents with an outdoor space to enjoy.

With the help of a $5,000 gift from Origin Capital and donated lumber from the Rebuilding Exchange, staff and volunteers also used recycled materials to build raised beds for planting, benches and fences. The University of Illinois Extension helped supply flowers, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and a variety of other herbs and vegetables to fill the garden.

“This event culminates months of work this summer and fall,” Ald. Burke said. “We commend this work today and hope it inspires others to get involved with the Food Depository and their outstanding work around Chicago.”

If you are interested in volunteering in the garden, please contact the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council at 773-523-4416.