Who Are We?
LETS GO (Leading the Energy Transition, Sprouting Green Opportunities) Chicago is an organization focused on creative environmental solutions in the northside neighborhood of Rogers Park. We’ve been teaching kids about gardening and food for the past two years in partnership with the United Church of Rogers Park (UMC), and last year we started a summer program for young people as part ofGrand Aspirations’Summer of Solutions network.
What Are We Doing?
We’re building a yard-sharing network to improve access to healthy foods, build relationships among neighbors, and develop shared investment in the outdoors. We find homeowners willing to part with some of their lawn and build small gardens where a neighbor without land can grow fruits and vegetables. This brings together different groups of people around shared goals and contributes to making shared spaces. The gardens’ produce is shared among the grower, the homeowner, and food distribution organizations like Food Not Bombs and the soup kitchen at United Church of Rogers Park. By taking the initiative on installing the garden and providing support for its success, we help all the possible gardens of our neighborhood come to fruition. We’re not only looking to put in the gardens, but also to install composting and rain-harvesting systems that will make the garden easier (and cheaper) to commit to maintaining.
What are the Impacts?
If fully funded, we will be able to demonstrate a type of urban agriculture that can solve many of the problems associated with accessing growing space in dense urban communities. The Yard Share concept transforms underutilized space into areas where education and community building can take place while producing fresh fruits and vegetables to support healthy lifestyles.
Can We Do It?
Last year, we piloted alarge backyard garden growing greens, tomatoes, and carrots on nearly 700 square feet. This year, we want to start 4 or 5 new gardens. With your support, we can provide the soil, seeds, lumber, and labor to make this happen. We’ve already got untamed spots ready to be transformed into places for creative collaboration. All we need is additional resource support in order to get planting.
Replicating the Model
In the spirit of moving forward the broader development of urban agriculture, our team is committed to sharing the outcomes of this project with any and all interested parties who would like to use it for non-commercial purposes. The initial sharing of this information will come in the form of Yard Share tool-kits, which we will offer to supporters based on the Kickstarter Reward system. These kits will include sample land use agreement documents, tips for canvassing your neighborhood to find land lenders, a guide to setting up your garden(s), and a slew of activities for building community around them.
For the Future
This project is an experiment and we are forever grateful for your support of it. This year is a growth step for the initiative, which we hope will spawn into an ever growing network of urban yards supporting the social, spiritual, and physical needs of the Rogers Park community for years to come. Join us to be a part of this transition away from unsustainable food practices and toward a community that feeds and nurtures itself through a spirit of collaboration!
Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network
LETS GO Chicago
- (30 days)