Since 2009, El Paseo Community Garden (founded as Growing Station) has been enhancing the quality of life for Pilsen residents through community building, stewardship, conservation, placemaking, partnerships, programming, and community gardening. The converted brownfield site provides opportunities to socialize with each other, plant and grow food, play, or simply be outside and enjoy the wildlife and fresh air the native plants provide in the many gathering spaces provided. The garden is one of many Neighborspace protected and community managed spaces in Chicago, maintained by volunteers and donations. The garden’s protected land (1.1 acre) and adjacent abandoned railroad land it stewards serves as a public green space for the neighborhood and as a backyard for neighbors in the adjacent senior living and affordable housing apartments. The garden sits along a path with a native prairie and permaculture site on one side and raised beds 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 hosts stewardship days every weekend for residents to get involved.
El Paseo’s mission is to strengthen environmental stewardship and civic engagement while protecting equitable green space on behalf of the community. Our 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. 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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Contact us to collaborate or reserve the picnic area.