Our Community Gardens are a part of our Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative in the Greenbrook Tanglewood Community in Hanover Park. Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) is the practice of working with residents and communities to take a holistic approach to community reinvestment. Through this process our team has worked with residents to gain feedback on which aspects of their community needed improvement. Once we had the core areas identified, we worked with residents to see how we could achieve those improvements. The Community Gardening program was developed out of the need that residents wanted a community space to come together to achieve something for others, and not just themselves, as well as a way to enhance the greenspaces in their community. Due to the generosity of The GardenWorks Project, we have been able to create three community garden spaces throughout the Greenbrook Tanglewood Community over the past two years.
The first garden is located behind the Tanglewood Clubhouse, a central location in the neighborhood. This garden was planted with a Youth group, and is maintained and watered by children in the Hanover Park Community Resource Coalition Summer Camp. Through this camp, the children are taught the importance of having a garden, as well as how to make healthy snacks based on what they can pick from the garden. This garden is flourishing, and we cannot wait to start harvesting the vegetables that we have grown.
The second garden is located in a greenspace in the Tanglewood community. We used two of our raised beds at this garden. We felt like this area had a lot of potential for a community garden, and are piloting this space that we may look at expanding to next year with more gardens. The gardens here will get great sun, as well as have access to a water source. We look forward to seeing what they are able to produce this summer.
Our third garden is at Greenbrook Court J. This little Neighborhood is located across the start of the west branch of the DuPage River from the Tanglewood community. We used three raised garden beds in this space. Residents in this area may not have access to gardening space in their back yard, so we worked with them to develop a gardening program that would help them all to work together to produce food that they all could benefit from. Since we installed the gardens, we have seen residents start to work together more, and not only in the gardens. As they talk to each other more, they learn more about each other’s lives, and how they are similar. Students from Faubourg Theatre Literacy through the Arts Summer Camp and the children of the residents that live in the area assisted in planting these gardens. We are looking forward to the continued success of this garden.
As we continue moving through the summer, and into the harvest season, we hope that our gardens can continue to bring people together. We have seen powerful things happen when residents are able to work together, so we are looking forward to what they can do when they all put their hands together for a common goal.
Thank you to Jill Sobie, Family Services Manager for DuPage Habitat for Humanity for the wonderful write up.