Park Forest Community Gardens

PF Community Garden Logo 2016.jpgPARK FOREST COMMUNITY GARDENS

Mission: The Park Forest Community Garden Program seeks to engage community members in the transformation of land into productive garden spaces while improving the overall quality of life for all residents through neighborhood beautification, community building, and greater access to affordable, nutritious, locally-produced foods.

Background: A community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people. Historically, community gardens have played an important role in the U.S. The Victory Gardens of World War II brought people together to garden on public and private land. At one point during the war, there were over 20 million Victory Gardens in the U.S., producing 40% of the nation’s vegetables.

The Village of Park Forest has a long history of community gardening going back to an allotment-style garden with 352 individual plots started in 1979. It was very successful in bringing members of the community together to grow their own food and continued through the 1992 growing season. The Park Forest Community Garden Program aims to revive the tradition of gardening together and growing food within the community.

The Village of Park Forest encourages the establishment of gardens on public and private land including at schools, workplaces, and houses of worship. Additionally, in order to support community gardening, the Village is offering the opportunity to garden on Village-owned land. Interested individuals and gardening groups can apply to garden on an available vacant lot. In exchange for maintaining the lot for the entire growing season, gardeners can receive a reimbursement of up to $250 for garden-related costs. Additionally, garden groups may apply for a Village Community Garden Grant to receive up to $100 for community garden creation and development.

Why garden?

Beautify neighborhoods. Empty lots are less attractive than flourishing garden spaces. Community gardens add diverse plant life and help keep neighborhoods pleasant and green.

Meet your neighbors. Community gardens are shared spaces that bring people of diverse backgrounds together in a common goal.

Spend time outdoors and be active. Gardening is great exercise! Studies show gardening reduces stress and contributes to physical and mental health.

Cut down on grocery bills. Produce you grow yourself is cheaper and fresher than you will find at the grocery store. Community gardeners can save an estimated $75 to $380 on yearly food costs.

Learn new things. Not everyone starts out as Master Gardeners. Gardening is a process of trial and error which also results in significant rewards. People of all ages can acquire and share skills and knowledge related to gardening, cooking, nutrition, health, culture, etc.

How to be involved:

There are several ways that you can be a part of the Park Forest Community Garden Program.

- Apply to start your own community garden.

- Volunteer with an existing garden group.

- Join the community garden email list for updates on work days, gardening tips and community garden events.

- Fundraise for the Community Gardens.

- Join the Community Garden Task Force and assist in managing the program.

Please fill out the Community Garden Interest Form if you would like to be involved and return it to one of the following Community Garden Coordinators:

Hildy Kingma, AICP
Director of Economic Development and Planning
Park Forest Village Hall
350 Victory Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466
Rob Gunther
Director of Recreation and Parks
Park Forest Village Hall
350 Victory Drive
Park Forest, IL 60466

Park Forest is here to support you in your gardening efforts.