Loyola University Chicago

Community Relations

Vedgewater Successful Season

Vedgewater: A Successful Season Comes to a Close

The Vedgewater Victory Garden saw its inaugural season successfully come to a close.

Green thumbs, garden novices, young ones and activists all found a home in the Vedgewater Victory Garden at Broadway and Rosemont Avenues.

While the cry for water hampered the gardeners for a few weeks during the early portion of the hot and dry summer, community members rallied and came together in support of one another. Donations of water literally poured in until a more permanent solution was operational. The water source was rectified in mid June when Alderman O’Connor was able to supply the garden with a buffalo box.  The buffalo box is in a locked cage with a detachable hose. The gardeners now have easy access to a water supply.

The green and growing things have filled every inch of the lot. Local restaurants like Uncommon Ground used additional plots at Vedgewater to add more fresh healthy vegetables to what is produced in the certified organic roof-top garden. Many neighbors who never gardened before learned the joy and fulfillment of watching a plant grow from a seed, harvesting it, preparing it and seeing it end up on a plate to be consumed.

The garden became the site for “Green Scene” a free summer gardening camp for children ages 9-14. This four-week summer program was well attended with an average attendance of 15 campers per day.

In mid June, the public television station WTTW visited the garden and interviewed several of the gardeners including some of the family members of Jake Wons, a brave little boy who lost his battle with Cancer in February of this year. Click here to view the video.  

Organizers LaManda Joy Minkel, Peterson Garden Project and Troy McMillan, Edgewater Neighbors North, partnered with Care For Real to offer "Grow to Give" plots. 

Care for Real is Edgewater's Food Pantry. CfR, an independent non-profit agency, has provided food and clothing on the north side of Chicago for 40 years. These plots enabled families in need to have access to fresh vegetables.  In late July, the first round of vegetables were harvested and donated to the Care For Real Food Pantry. Program volunteers donated over 150 pounds of vegetables to the food pantry.

Building community through events was a large part of the garden's impact on the neighborhood. A grand ribbon cutting in July, "Chill and Grills," and garden tours for Loyola students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff rounded out the late summer and early fall months. Late fall workshops focus on cleaning and preparing the garden for winter.