Alewyfe Urban Potager: A Garden of Eating
Update- the EGP lots have been secured, but are now on the market in hopes of acquiring the lot adjacent to our new home to keep the farm all in one place… please contact me if you’re interested in purchasing them, so that we can expand, remediate, and build an edible living landscape on what’s currently an ugly vacant lot and former house site next door. Read on for the original vision for the farm… we will be incorporating many of these design aspects into the plan for the adjacent lot. We’ve already made a positive impact on our new neighborhood, with many comments and complements from both neighbors and our AIRBNB guests about how our urban farming projects have added much to the character of the neighborhood, and demonstrated what is possible with just a small city lot and a vision!
We are working to improve access to fresh and nutritious food, beautify our community, and provide an example of small-scale, sustainable community-based food-production by cultivating a patchwork of vacant lots in the East Garfield Park community to create lively and diverse productive landscapes.
We will utilize permaculture design principles, organic growing methods, and community support to transform these now-barren plots into productive urban gardens. While we will raise a diverse crop of vegetables, bramble and tree fruits, nuts, edible flowers and native plants in an attractive edible landscape, our focus will be on cultivating culinary and medicinal herbs and fungi to be used in Alewyfe soaps, tinctures, teas and lotions and other products, and growing fresh food for our members to provide operating funds for the gardens.
The farm will host an apiary and provide wildlife habitat, and will incorporate perennial plantings, cover-cropping, composting and careful crop rotation in our farm fertility plan. The gardens will provide healthy food, natural medicines and personal care products, and other value-added products for our farm-share members and others. We will donate a portion of our harvest to local food pantries, community-organizations, and/or directly to local families in need.
The gardens will also serve as an empowerment and education center; a home for workshops and demonstrations on healthy food, green living, and self-sufficient lifestyles. Our mission is not just to grow food, but also to grow community, cultural knowledge, and self-sustaining ecological literacy. We hope that our project will inspire others to start similar ventures of their own!
We aim to lead by example how we can live lightly but richly on the planet, increase food security and neighborhood resources in our urban centers, and each in our small way, work to heal the deep wounds of poverty, blight, and environmental damage in our own communities, all while healing our hearts and bodies by cultivating beautiful gardens.
We’re working to acquire several lots in East Garfield Park to secure a long-term tenure for remediation and soil-building. We hope to close on the lots by August 2014 to prepare beds to overwinter and be ready to plant the following spring. Till then, we’re planning and designing, saving and fundraising, and propagating stocks of plants and fungi and researching varieties and sources for other materials.
Your donations, large or small, will help make this vision a reality!
This page, and farm, are under construction… but in the meantime, enjoy these pictures of one of our garden projects!
The Factory Farm: RIP- this garden was bulldozed by the new neighbor in 2016. 🙁
this is our garden on a city lot near our studio, which is in an old warehouse. It’s about 8 years in the making, and has a mix of herbs, fruits, and flowers growing abundantly and often riotously! Other building tenants have taken interest in the garden and are turning the adjacent vacant lots into a shared community garden space. They’ve built a greenhouse/sculpture/ gathering place out of reclaimed materials during the October Art Walk weekend as a contribution to Chicago Artist’s month, and are planning to scale up the growing space this spring if the funding comes through (update – we got the grant! Full-steam ahead… we have materials in place and we’ll be laying out beds in the spring). So excited that this garden’s energy will continue as my future focus shifts to other projects further west! I am on the planning board for this project, The Carroll Kedzie Quad (RIP), which will include community garden production beds which can be reserved by the season for a small fee, an art and sculpture garden, rain water reclamation, native plantings, and more!