El Paseo’s mission is to strengthen environmental stewardship and civic engagement while protecting equitable green space on behalf of the community. Their governance and leadership structure allows for anyone with a desire to make an impact to do so, growing not only healthy food, but community leaders as well. The outdoor space has become a community center and partner for anyone willing to share accessible community resources. Their goal is to Empower through Nature.
Since 2009, El Paseo Community Garden (founded as Growing Station) has been fostering community and wellness for Pilsen residents through stewardship, conservation, placemaking, partnerships, programming, and community gardening. The garden is one of many NeighborSpace protected and community managed spaces in Chicago, with over an acre of equitable greenspace maintained by volunteers and donations. The garden is a converted brownfield site and sits along a path with a native prairie and permaculture food forest on one side and raised beds and an apiary on the other. Gardening is offered through private allotment beds or collective beds. Collective beds eliminate waiting lists for allotment beds and allow anyone to get involved. Free food beds are included on the perimeter of the collective beds for visitors. The garden plans to add a dog run, nature play area for kids, community stage, fitness area, and several more gathering spaces and plants to their half acre expansion within the next few years as funding is secured. If you would like to donate towards this expansion project, you can do so here.
- 2020 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Creative Placemaking Award
- 2018 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Award (Special Award: Larger than Life)