Urban Green Spaces



Remember that book / film / musical, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

Well now an orchard grows in Logan Square!

(or at least the potential for one, marches toward realization…)

We have blogged about the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP) before. Its a great opportunity for urban greenspace revitalization. Click here for that introductory post.

Here is the latest development as an announcement from CROP…

Since the last big community meeting in August all us CROPsters have been looking forward to this day:

Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development will host the…

Second-Stage Community Meeting Presenting Proposed
Logan Square Community Orchard Project

Wednesday, April 27th

at the Logan Square Auditorium
2539 N. Kedzie Blvd.

Please join us to see how your ideas and suggestions from the last meeting have been incorporated into the current plan. CROP could never have come as far as we have in the last two years without the support of our community. We need your voices now more than ever.

Let’s end this lot’s four decades as a forgettable patch of gravel and build our own community orchard. This space has the potential to become a haven for biodiversity, a living testament to the local food chain, and an utterly unique classroom. In addition it will provide all the social and economic benefits of programmed public space.

You can make this vision a reality by participating in this meeting. All you have to do is be present and ready to share your thoughtful opinion.

If you have any questions about the project or the meeting, please check out our website at www.chicagorarities.org

Thanks for your support thus far, and we look forward to seeing you in April!


Your Neighbors at

The Chicago Rarities Orchard Project

To any backyard/community gardeners, urban agriculture enthusiasts, or “newbies” interested in starting your own garden:

You know the foundation of a good garden is cultivating a diverse and excellent seed bank. Germinating seeds can be a unique and rewarding experience. Ever set up a seed nursery before? How do you get access to heirloom seeds and other specialty seeds? Connect with other gardeners to trade info, advice, resources and yes, SEEDS!

Every year the Kilborn Park Organic Greenhouse supports local gardeners in kicking off the growing season by hosting an enormous Organic Plants (Seedlings) Sale in early May. Well, now they are extending that support and knowledge by offering this 2-day workshop for gardeners interested in sharing, germinating, and care-taking seeds in the planning for this Spring’s new garden crops.
The event kicks off at 9am with a free Seed SWAP at the greenhouse, followed at 10am by an educational workshop (requiring a small materials fee) in preparing your own seed nursery.

Explore Urban Agriculture:

With A Seed Starting Workshop

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse
3501 N. Kilbourn
RSVP: Kirsten Akre 773-685-3351

Craving unique vegetables? Want those old fashioned French marigolds? Like the delicate herb chervil? Want to show your children the wonders of plants? Sometimes, to get the plants you want–when you want them–you just have to grow them yourself.

Master Gardener and organic advocate Nancy Benjamin will show you the basics of seed starting. Discover seed sources, trays, growing mediums, lights as well as germination tips and times for a whole variety of vegetables and flowers.

This 2-day workshop will be lead by Nancy Benjamin, Master Gardener.
Saturday, January 22 & February 12.
CASH ONLY. Cost: $10
More info about the Kilbourn Park activities is on their calendar.

Ever wanted to try starting a chicken farm right in your own backyard?
Will you go to great lengths for fresh eggs?
Want your kids to see how chickens live (maybe even feed them or hold them?)
Want to bond with other chicken-centric folks?

Then we have the event for you…

(Note: click on the image to see a slightly larger, printable version of this event flier)

Contributed by E.O. member, Michelle E. Thoma

Explore the Chicago River with the Flatwater Classic

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

October is nearly here.
To us that means one special thing: Friends of the Chicago River’s Flatwater Classic.

Sign up for this athletic, invigorating and exploratory river trip.
Paddlers begin the 7.25 mile course at Clark Park (3400 N. Rockwell) and paddle south the finish at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown (300 W. 19th St.). Along the way, participants enjoy all of the visual splendor that the Chicago River has to offer, including the wooded riverbanks of the north side neighborhoods, industrial corridor surrounding Goose Island, and awe-inspiring vista of downtown as seen by the river.

Not familiar with the Flatwater Classic? It is a celebration of our fine river as a place of recreation and habitat for over 70 birds species and 60 fish species. The Chicago River Flatwater Classic is the only canoe and kayak race on the Chicago River where 10 – 12 teams compete for the Voyageur trophy. The race then opens up to hundreds of individual racers and non-competitive participants.

Teams can register with Friends of the Chicago River today

If you are little squeamish about the competition, be sure to register as an event volunteer and spend a great day in the fall sun.

Need more reasons to get out there?

Friends of the Chicago River founded the Flatwater Classic in 2000 to give people a chance to see the Chicago River and learn for themselves why it needs their help. The goal is a clean, accessible river shared by the people, plants, and animals that call our watershed home.

Contributed by E.O. member, Britt Wiley / Sponsored by Friends of the Chicago River

Join with NeighborSpace, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Tourism Center for a FREE guided bus tour of Chicago’s community gardens. Visit 5-7 of Chicago’s hidden Edens while learning about the incredible past and future of urban gardening and agriculture in our City. Some of the sites might include visits to the Peterson Victory Garden, Bowmanville Gateway Garden, Ginkgo Organic Garden and Ruby Garden at Schreiber Park among other places.

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday,August 28th.

The Bus Tour will begin and end at the Chicago Tourism Center, 72 East Randolph. Map It.
The duration of the tour is from 10 am to 1 pm. Taking public transportation is highly recommended.

Tours are FREE of charge but donations are accepted by the tour organizers. All donations collected will go to a different community garden so they can build raised beds, buy tools and continue to grow. RSVP on their website (see link below) is required to guarantee your seat on the bus.

Tours are in conjunction with the exhibit, “City Is A Community Garden,” which looks at urban gardens, vertical farming in the city, and urban chicken keepers through photographs, architectural drawings, and installations. You’re welcomed to view this indoor exhibit before or after the tour.

Registration is required at: http://communitygardentours.eventbrite.com/

Space is limited so please register online ASAP. If you do not register, you will not be allowed to attend this event. Please courteous and responsible about your attendance. A confirmation and record of attendance will be taken.

Join us for a symposium on All Things Bees, (& worms too) for this Mother’s Day weekend!

To Bee or Not To Bee

Saturday May 8th from 1pm – 5pm
North Park Village Nature Center
5801 N. Pulaski Road

A number of folks (including many Empirical Opera members) will be running workshops and presenting lectures and activities about maintaining bee hives, harvesting honey and the latest info from experts within the Bee-keeping community.

Come to The North Park Village Nature Center this Saturday to learn more about bees. Hear experts in the field lecture on the latest knowledge in the field. Tour the Nature Center’s own hives and more…

Also Vermicomposting Workshops (that’s worm farming) will train you to start your own worm composting bins.

Prizes of free composting earth machines, worm bins and other things will be raffled off to participants.

Organized by E.O. member, Hazel L’Auria Ginsberg
Presentations by E.O. members, Sean Shaffer, Roberta Schmatz, Karin Brennan, Jason Greenberg and more. Supported by the Chicago Conservation Corps and the North Park Village Nature Center’s educational programming.

For more info click here (or the image) for a larger, more readable version of the poster.

Or  email Hazel with questions or call the Nature Center at 312.744.5472.

Sign Up now for this weekend’s Spring Green Bike Tour.
Saturday May 1st: Explore Green Community in Chicago!

bike safety & road readiness workshops . . . . . . . .10:00 – 11:30
green neighborhoods bike tour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11:30 – 3:00
socializing & after-tour discussions. . . . . . . . . . . . .3:00 – 4:00

Come join us for a day of outdoor activities celebrating biking and learning about some of the great green institutions in the Humboldt Park & Logan Square neighborhoods!

Presentations include tours and site visits to the Chicago Center for Green Technology, local community gardens and reclaimed public access green spaces, proposed projects for the Logan Square Farmers Market, Chicago Rarities Orchard Project, Rails to Trails conversion projects, car-sharing programs, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, community-based bike advocacy organizations and more! Come out and learn from your neighbors about sustainability efforts in our communities! Speak with local activists, organizers and administrators. Meet other green-minded folks, learn about volunteer opportunities and more.

Register now; only 10 slots left!
The tour is free, but you must pre-register to attend the Spring Green Bike tour.
To register, send an email request here.

The Bike Readiness Workshops (safety riding instruction, bike tune-ups, kiddie corral & riding maze) are free and open to the public from 10:00-11:30am (no registration required). Come on down for these adult & kid-friendly activities.

Location: Workshops & the bike tour start at the

Humbolt Park Boat House
1359 N. Sacramento Boulevard
on the Humboldt Park lake

For more information and details about the tour itinerary, see the tour homepage here.

Empirical Opera event organized by E.O. members: Jason Greenberg, Greg Scott, Todd Allen, Sayre Vickers, Vicki Walden, John Donohue and more…
Event supported by Active Transportation Alliance, Ciclo Urbano & West Town Bikes, Alderman Roberto Maldanado, Center for Neighborhood Technology, I-Go Car Sharing, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, Neighbor Space, Safe Routes Ambassadors, Chicago Center for Green technology, Chicago Conservation Corps.

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