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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois
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Green Chicago Mini-Grants

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Each year, in the early spring months, GreenNet administers the Green Chicago Mini-Grants program. The program, sponsored by the Prince Charitable Trusts assists urban gardeners working in publicly accessible green spaces with grants that fund gardening materials, supplies, and activities. The mini-grants are intended to fund a small project or a special part of a larger project, with awarded funds ranging from $100 to $1,000. Grant money is used to buy seeds, plants or soil, lumber or mulch, compost bins, buckets, nails, schoolbooks related to school gardening, even a garden festival for the community.

To qualify for a GreenNet Green Chicago Mini-Grant, the garden project must be in Chicago in a schoolyard or community garden, or other community greening project. The work and garden area should promote ecological issues, such as a pesticide or chemical-free food garden, plantings that showcase Illinois prairie or woodland plants for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, etc., a composting system that recycles waste and gives nutrients back to the soil, wooden structures free from dangerous chemical preservatives, or a garden that converts lawn to no-mow perennials, shrubs or trees. Applicants must also own or have permission to use the land, and must represent a group such as a block club, garden club, faith-based group, school or other youth group. Finally, funding priority is given to garden groups with an existing (rather than proposed) garden or greening project.

Mini-grants applications will be mailed out to Chicago school and community groups in mid-January with an application deadline of mid-March. Groups are notified of their grant status by early April and funds are distributed near the end of April. Access an application online. To find out more about Green Net's Green Chicago Mini-Grants Program, or to be included on the program mailing list, please call Sherry Legare at 312/863-6266, or e-mail

Thursday, March 1, 6:30 P.M. - Grant writing workshop; question and answer session

Thursday, March 15, 5:00 P.M. - Application Deadline

Week of April 9, 2007 - Grant notification letters sent out

Thursday, April 19 1-7 P.M. - Check pick up, downtown at Openlands Project, see address below.

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