Schreiber Park Garden photo by oceandesetoiles

Its amazing how a public access garden—or other shared neighborhood green spaces—can draw various people together. Asserting the public “we”  (as an alternative to the capitalistic “I”) in ownership and caretaking of communal land, flora and produce is an inspiring perspective and an empowering social model. As an example of this credo, here is a recent case study…

For many years, the Chicago Waldorf School‘s students, faculty and staff had developed the Sophia Garden, a lovely community lot on Loyola Avenue, with diverse species of plants, benches and a cupola that served various ritual and social events that was an integral part of the local community’s experiences and that also embedded care-taking of the land and gardening in the student’s curriculum.

Unfortunately, the garden was razed in the summer of 2009 for pending development of the land, but not before local stakeholders came togeter to organize and transfer a large portion of the plants to a new site in Rogers Park to continue and expand the legacy of the Sophia Garden. After much searching and resource building, a new garden site was located on Schreiber & Bosworth streets.

The Schreiber Park Community Garden opened this past summer as a result of collaborative efforts by many community groups and individuals including the Rogers Park Green Space and Food Systems Coalition, the Angelic Organics Learning Center, the Chicago Waldorf School, Heartland Alliance‘s Marjorie Kovler Center and Refugee Health Programs, Loyola University’s STEP Program, Family Empowerment Centers, Pan African Association and the Schreiber Park Advisory Council. These efforts were supported by the Chicago Park District and a grant from Heifer International (to name some of the garden’s many institutional supporters!).

More details about the planning & efforts, and photos of the garden are available on the Angelic Organics Leaning Center weblog and also here.

Its heartening to see this spirit and caretaking of green space live on even as the land that formed and united this social group has changed and the garden’s concerned community continually transforms and evolves.

Anyone interested in getting involved or volunteering at the Schreiber Park Community Garden can get information by joining the Rogers Park Green Space and Food Systems Coalition.

Note: Photo is from flickr account by oceandesetoiles.

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