“It’s amazing what you can do in a garden,” said Jill Johnson, The Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm’s group organizer. The Corner Farm is a community garden, established in 2009. The vegetables they grow each planting season feed at-risk families through its partner, Christopher House. The group harvested roughly seven pounds of food per week last year, making the fruits of their labor realized. While gearing up for a new planting season, the Corner Farm hosted a series of workdays, which will continue regularly throughout the season.
Orientation day was on March 25, in which myself and participants planted 146 seeds in recyclable drink cups, keeping them indoors to allow them a safe place to sprout. At this stage, they need to gain strength to face the fickle Chicago elements.
With permission, participants took a few seeds home: I chose a pair of Mexican Midget tomato seeds that are poking out of the soil as I type this.
I was especially impressed with a little boy who brought his parents to the orientation on a Saturday afternoon to plant vegetables. At his age, I would’ve been playing video games or glued to the TV on such an overcast day.
On a workday the following weekend, April 1, the weather was perfect, so volunteers planted seeds in the outdoor lot and painted signs. The signs are both pretty and informative: It’s best to be organized with more than one hundred seedlings to care for.
No matter the weather, gardening continues through June, and the full harvest begins in October. Corner Farm welcomes volunteers in any capacity. For more information, contact the Corner Farm group at cornerfarm.org and [email protected]. Learn more about Christopher House at christopherhouse.org and [email protected].