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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois

Urban Gardeners in Chicago

Posted by Ron Wolford -

For 23 years I have been involved in Urban Gardening in Chicago. Of all the great people I have worked with over the years Gerald and Lorene Earles of Chicago's South Lawndale neighborhood best represent what the urban gardening movement is all about. I helped them start the Slumbusters Community Garden almost 20 years ago. This is a unique community garden with the "L" running over it. The Earles focus was to get rid of "the beast" and to bring beauty back to Chicago's blighted neighborhoods. Their community garden has won numerous awards including the President's Points of Light Award which we nominated them for in 1993.The Slumbusters were one of 4,000 groups nominated and only one of 30 groups who received awards. They received their award from President Clinton at a White House ceremony. The garden provided the impetus for the Slumbusters to get involved in other neighborhood projects such as the redevelopment and renovation of near-by Douglas Park. Today Gerald and Lorene continue to inspire others through their example to get rid of "the beast" and beautify their neighborhoods.

Listen to an interview of Gerald and Lorene Earles from the WTTW show Eight Forty-Eight-Chicago Public Radio's Morning Magazine. Go to the following link- and scroll down to the July 11, 2002 show and click on the audio for the Slumbusters Community Garden.

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