Getting Down & Dirty at the Edible Garden

| October 14, 2008 | 3 Comments
By: Jen K
October 14, 2008 – I know you have been to the Farm in the Zoo area of Lincoln Park Zoo, but there is a little known treasure called the Edible Garden right at the center of it all. If you are scratching your head about which area of the zoo, you’ll know you’ve arrived when the kids start lining up to sit in the huge John Deere tractor or see the chicks being hatched in the big red barn. You are there!My two sons and I have been coming to the Edible Garden with Chicago Smart Green Families, the group I founded this year, every Wednesday since the early spring when the garden opened to connect with farming and food. This has been and continues to be the most valuable learning experience.

First, let me share that the zoo and the garden are free activities. The zoo opens ate 9:30am everyday and the garden opens at 10am Wednesdays and Saturdays for anyone to walk in and do your thing.

What to do? We all have different interests so the farmers and volunteers are ready to share their knowledge about a variety of subjects from how to plant food at a home, the type of fruits and vegetables survive our weather in Chicago, ways to avoid pesticides, different approaches to composting and the list goes on. There is no set program. It is very organic (pun intended!)

How to start? Just walk in. I think the reason people hesitate sometimes is that they aren’t sure how to begin. Check in with a farmer. You’ll know them not only from their EG t shirts, but their great hats and dirty hands! Say hello and they will take it from there. In my 16 years of living in Chicago, I have never met a more warm and inspirational group of people. Verd, the Organic Gardener, heads the project and is assisted by Kord, Barbara, Gloria and a whole group of volunteers who love to share their talent of gardening and farming.

Trust me this is not just a tour so be prepared. This is a hands in the dirt, hauling wheel barrels of weeds, getting messy and leaving with fresh fruits and veggies type of experience. Your kids are going to LOVE it! And parents will too. Kord mentioned that there is a study proving that gardening cures depression. Is that why Wednesday is my most relaxing day of the week?

Think your kids are too young? No way! Even the littlest of children benefit from touching the soil, seeing the transformation of a strawberry as it ripens and watching caterpillars and worms make their way through the luscious, green plants. For my family the experience has been life changing. My sons have had the opportunity to run down the corn fields that they planted, weeded, harvested and ate all while being in the city and still able to see the lake in the short distance. Amazing!

The garden runs through the fall so pop by and ask Gloria to read the kids The Carrot Seed and then harvest some carrots. You will walk away with a new outlook on city farming!

Category: See & Plays

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

Comments (3)

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  1. MJ Tam says:

    You made it so non-intimidating for me to just bring my kids and have them join in on the fun. Thank you for this great info!

  2. Asianmommy says:

    What a nice activity. I didn’t even know it was there!

  3. kristen says:

    yes, I’m so glad you posted this. Can’t wait to go next year when AJ is even older and more apt to get down and dirty in the garden.

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