The CHIditarod grant of $5,000 has supported the following improvements at the Hermitage Street Community Garden, Englewood, in partnership with NeighborSpace.
• We were able to construct 11 additional raised beds in the garden. This raises the total number of donation beds from 12 to 23. The additional beds will ensure that even more Englewood residents will be served with fresh produce. The grant has increased the garden’s vegetable growing output and also has increased donations to additional Englewood families and to a local senior resident center, Bethel Terrace. Though it is too early in the season to give exact figures, we estimate that 120 additional families will receive fresh vegetables this year due to CHIditarod.
• The grant paid for all the building materials and labor construction costs associated with the raised beds. To ensure healthful vegetables are grown in the new beds, we purchased landscape barrier cloth (to block out any existing toxins in the Chicago topsoil) and organic soil from lake street supply. The CHIditarod grant helped pay for the above, ensuring a significant increase in capacity for Hermitage’s food donation program. This offseason, we also made additional upgrades to ensure the vibrancy of that increased capacity:
• We purchased 7 rain barrels scattered throughout the project for hand watering needs. This water conservation measure not only decreases hydrant usage within the garden itself, but helps model and encourage smart water usage for the entire Hermitage Street Community Garden.
• We constructed a compost bin system to help Hermitage Street Community Garden better serve its own fertilization needs and once again demonstrate environmental best practices for the
• We purchased ten additional long handled garden tools to use in the garden, increasing our ability to handle large volunteer groups for workdays.
• We constructed a butterfly flower garden bed with paver blocks, stones, and soil in the middle of the garden lot to attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. NeighborSpace, the non-profit that protects Hermitage Street and 108 other Chicago community gardens on behalf of community members, provides fiscal agency to our sites to make funding like the CHIditarod grant possible. Thank you for your support of increased healthy food access in Englewood.