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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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Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home Garden

Posted by Ron Wolford -

I love my job even after 30 years and the Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home Garden is one reason why! This is our seventh year at the Smart Home Garden. The Smart Home and the garden were open to the public for five years. During that time 300,000 people toured the home and many of them were given toursĀ  of our sustainable, organic garden by University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners . Master Gardeners also help to plan and maintain the garden each year. Most of the original 40 Master Gardeners are still volunteering at the garden for a total of 9,600 volunteer hours.

The last two years the garden has become a "teaching garden" for Master Gardeners and Chicago Public School teachers. All vegetables grown are donated to food pantries through Chicago Master Gardener Linda Wygants's Share the Harvest: Grace Seeds Ministry. Linda also collects vegetables for food pantries harvested from the Growing Solutions Farm for autistic young adults in the Illinois Medical District.

Master Gardeners like Linda Wygant and all the other Master Gardeners who have volunteered at the Smart Home every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the past seven years are the backbone of University of Illinois Extension programming in Chicago.

I love my job and Master Gardeners!

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