El Paseo Community Garden is one of many Neighborspace protected and community managed spaces in Chicago, maintained by volunteers and donations. It is located in the Pilsen neighborhood and was founded as Growing Station in 2009. It is located on a former brownfield site and was constructed during the first phase of the rails to trails project “El Paseo”. The garden sits along the public path and maintains the area between West 21st Street and West Cullerton Street. A monarch butterfly prairie lives on one side of the path and raised beds on the other. Gardening is offered through private allotment beds or collective beds. Collective beds eliminate waiting lists for participation and allow anyone to get involved. Free food beds are included on the perimeter of the collective beds for visitors. The garden serves as a public green space for the neighborhood, especially for our neighbors in the adjacent senior living and affordable housing apartments.
Our mission is to harness the skills and talents of neighborhood residents and to strengthen environmental stewardship and civic engagement in Pilsen. Our land acts as a community space that provides the opportunity to not only grow healthy food but become an active member of the community and learn from one another. We provide opportunities to share knowledge while bridging the cultural gap around issues of health and sustainability. El Paseo Community Garden partners with community members to unite the diverse neighborhood through monthly public events, including: volunteer days, educational gardening workshops, potluck parties, annual Harvest Festival, Halloween Haunted Garden, pop-up markets, weekly yoga, and weekly meditation. Our goal is to Empower through Nature.
- 2020 The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Creative Placemaking Award
- 2018 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Award (Special Award: Larger than Life)
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