Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2012.


We want to build an Ethnic Heritage Garden to showcase all kinds of diverse veggies and herbs!

Who we are:

We are a group called the Heritage Harvesters and we are part of a community of folks passionate about urban agriculture and sustainable practices. We want to help our community eat locally, limit the use of chemicals, and live healthier, more socially connected lives. It gives us a good excuse to play in the dirt, and that--is definitely healthy & fun! We are artists, accountants, teachers, business people & more.  We live in Skokie, Evanston, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Wilmette, and northern Chicago neighborhoods like Rogers Park & Edgewater.

Our project:

We want to build an Ethnic Heritage Garden. The raised beds will be built on the Howard Street Farm in Skokie, IL. Our communities are wonderfully diverse (94 languages are spoken by the kids who attend Skokie & Evanston area schools).  Our Ethnic Heritage Garden celebrates this diversity by bringing together local cultural groups to grow the specific veggies and herbs that are part of their, their parents', or their grandparents'  heritage.

Groups from the Assyrian, Ethiopian, Filipino, Greek, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican, Mexican, Muslim, and Trinidadian communities are all part of the project and more are still joining us, too!

The community we build is not just about food. It's about bringing together all sorts of people--recent immigrants & long-standing residents, folks from all walks of life and every religious and cultural background. We hope to share a good story or two as we get out in nature. We want to spread the word about everything from preserving our own okra to growing potatoes-in-a-box to making our own soil.

Our focus is on learning.  We want to introduce ourselves and many others to new plants and also learn ways to prepare and preserve them.  We’ll create amazing bilingual signs and handouts about the plants and the produce. Well-labeled beds will allow visitors to walk about on self-guided tours and learn along with us. 

We'll be publicizing unique recipes throughout our season and this fall we'll have a Harvest Potluck that showcases the dishes created from the foods we've grown.

What we need:

  • Building materials (lumber, screws, bricks, and cement blocks)
  • Fencing (to keep the critters out)
  • Soil & amendments
  • Plants & seeds
  • Garden equipment & tools
  • a Shed
  • Materials for hoop houses
  • Wood chips and stone for ADA-accessible pathways
  • Materials for making signs, handouts, and recipes
  • Field kitchen equipment


The Skokie Park District  * Thomas Ahleman & Doug Snider at Studio Talo, Evanston *  Shawn Decker, Evanston * Arcus Construction, Wilmette * Charles Lerman, Sr. Project Mgr at Facilities Operations at Northwestern University * Steven Berecz & Mark Hamilton * Dale Stempel, Skokie  *  Matt Ryan, Evanston * Kristin Alexander, Evanston  *  David Lau, Northbrook  * Ken Kastman at Earth-Whys, Evanston * Eric Masi, Chicago (photos) *  Tot Learning Center, Skokie * Nels J. Johnson Tree Experts, Evanston

Join us today!


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    8 backers

    Get a heartfelt shout out on our web site and know that you've helped us create this amazing community resource.

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    12 backers

    You'll receive a photo from the new garden and a handwritten note expressing just how grateful we are!

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    You'll receive 4 postcards decorated with original art created by one of our spectacular artists.

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    You'll receive a super t-shirt featuring original art inspired by the new garden.

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    3 backers

    You'll get our super t-shirt and a class about herbs. Learn to grow and preserve them. You'll also get a collection of recipes that highlight our friends: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

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    5 backers

    You'll see your name displayed on our Donor Plaque in the garden & you'll get the t-shirt and postcards, too.

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    1 backer

    Your name will be added to our Donor Plaque. We will also bestow on you our fantastic apron so you can be stylish while cooking up all the yummy food you'll be growing this year! The apron pockets will be full of fresh herbs from the farm.

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    2 backers

    You will get an upcycled, one-of-a-kind piece of garden art, in addition to the apron. Your name will also be added to our artistic Donor Plaque. It's kinda like being in the Gardener's Hall of Fame.

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    1 backer

    You'll receive a garden Haiku written especially for you! We've also got a special garden gift basket for you (includes the apron, the t-shirt, herbs from the garden, recipes, seeds, and more)

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    One special donor will receive a campfire night in their honor. We'll meet at Howard Street Farm and he or she & 5 friends will be treated to an extraordinary night complete with a meal cooked over the fire.

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Funding period

- (30 days)