Garden Tours Offered in McKinley Park

By Casey Cora on August 2, 2013 7:30am 

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 Residents, schools will open their gardens for first-of-its-kind tour.
Garden Tours Offered in McKinley Park
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McKINLEY PARK — A self-guided tour of gardens will highlight the efforts of green thumbs throughout the neighborhood.

The first-ever McKinley Park Garden Walk takes place Aug. 10 at several residential backyard gardens and gardens outside Namaste Charter School, Greene Elementary School and Evergreen Academy Middle School.

"This is for people who love gardening, big or small," said organizer Lucy Stanfield, a McKinley Park parent.

Stanfield said there were 15 total sites on the tour, ranging from "a fountain and a few roses" to a "showstopper" behind a 1905 four-flat co-owned by three local families. The building was recently featured in a Chicago Department of Transportation and Center for Neighborhood Technology website highlighting sustainable gardens in the city.

Also up for viewing on the tour is the McKinley Park Community Garden, a grassroots effort that's grown to dozens of plots on an otherwise industrial stretch in the 1900 block of West Pershing Road.

The garden has served as a point of pride for the neighborhood. It's where Anna Ahumada and her son, Andrew, were examining a plot filled with carrots, zucchini, chard, squash, tomatillos, kale, eggplant, banana peppers and herbs.

Andrew, a student at Namaste, said the garden, which they share with a friend, has been a gateway to healthier eating at home and in school.

While most of the plots have been reserved for a fee, a few are reserved for growing produce that will be sent to nearby food pantries.

The upcoming tour is a part of a series of events showcasing the land, and a "cocktail soiree in the garden" is planned for Aug. 23.

A complete map of homes to tour will be available on the day of the tour at the McKinley Park Community Garden and the McKinley Park branch of the Chicago Public Library, 1915 W. 35th St.

The event is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Aug. 10. More information is available at the official McKinley Park Community Garden website.

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