Families do not live in Chicago because we want big back yards. We make do with small gardening spaces, standard city lots, condo balconies, patios or small decks. Or, sometimes, we just put a planter in the windowsill. Chicago also is home to some amazing resources to make gardeners out of your little ones.
You cannot talk about urban gardening without mentioning the youth center. The center, a resource for kids from all walks of life, stands on the cutting edge of youth education through urban agriculture with its two acre-plus vegetable gardens on the rooftop and across the street. Tons of summer camp and after-school programs are offered.
Sara Gasbarra, at the forefront of the edible gardening movement, started a company to help local restaurateurs grow rooftop gardens. Gasbarra also does at-home consultations that can turn any space into an edible feast. For kids, she recommends growing plants that thrive in city-style planters such as sorrel, anise hyssop, Mexican gherkin cucumbers and sungold tomatoes.
The Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm in the Zoo has hands-on gardening and educational activities April-November on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Best of all, it's free.
More than 150 varieties of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers are grown. Kids of all ages get a chance to experience growing food while learning valuable nutrition lessons. Located at the intersection of East Congress Parkway and South Columbus Drive.
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
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