In May, The Rogers Park Garden Group, whose motto is: People + Plants = A Caring Community, A Beautiful Community,   A Working Community, awarded 17 small project grants for their Adopt a Way Program. The grants were made available for public parks, parkways, two businesses, two commercial street scapes, a school, and two houses of worship.

Projects like these can directly impact not only the local area’s spirit but it can also mean growing property values for the surrounding area’s homes and condos. An article published by the The American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association stated, community gardens can effect the surrounding area as far as 1000 feet (or about 3 blocks around the garden).   The nicer the garden the more it can impact the value, as much as 9.4 percent over a 5 year period in certin neighborhoods.

Rogers Park has a long history of supporting its public spaces and parks. One of the first projects began in 1952, as a grassroots effort, when community members banded together and stopped private developments on the lakefront. They ensured that today’s Rogers Park residents still get to enjoy the beautiful unobstructed beach, even without having to cross busy Lake Shore Drive. Today the effort to create green spaces for the community to share is still going strong in the Rogers Park area.

Rogers Park has many garden spaces for its residents to enjoy. This offers Rogers Park residents outdoor spaces to get back to nature, as well as the chance to farm and harvest their own crops. One such community garden can be found just behind Devon Hardware, on Boseworth near Shreiber Park.   This garden is in its second year. Community members began this year’s growing season on May 1st and it’s scheduled to last through to about September.

Another garden space can be found at 1401 W Devon Ave, Uncommon Ground, a progressive resturaunt that grows its own food on the rooftop garden.   Their rooftop garden is the first of its kind in the neighborhood.   They grow a large variety of organic food that they then cook fresh and serve in the downstairs restaurant.

Uncommon Ground   is not the only restaurant in Rogers Park that has taken advantage of their rooftop space. The Heartland and the No Exit Cafe have started a container garden on their rooftop, a perfect example of how community members can grow healthy food and promote a green lifestyle using creativity and innovation within unused space.

These gardens add color and tranquility to the Rogers Park neighborhood. These gardens are bringing community members together, creating a more engaged group of neighbors who take pride in their community.   To get your hands in the dirt contact the Rogers Park Garden Group for their upcomming event Pondering The Pond on June 29th at 7pm, where you will learn what it takes to keep an aquatic garden.

Adele Paslaski, Move with Maggie Team

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