EDGEWATER — The Peterson Garden Project plans to open a "teaching kitchen" this summer at the Broadway Armory, where urban-gardening enthusiasts can learn how to make healthy meals with fresh produce, its founder LaManda Joy said.
Joy runs eight community gardens throughout the city, including two in Edgewater and another on Howard Street in Rogers Park, but the kitchen at the armory would be the first of its kind.
"The point is to teach people they can do it themselves," she said of healthy cooking. "I joke that people watch cooking shows 24 hours a day while eating a Lean Cuisine."
When the kitchen opens this summer, Joy said, there will be cooking classes in the evenings and weekends.
She said that many of the hundreds of people who grow food in the project's gardens end up with a bunch of produce but few skills to turn it into healthy, tasty meals.
While the details were still being worked out, classes would be as simple as teaching something like "three things to do with a tomato," Joy said.
"It’s all going to be very skills based," she said.
Joy said a Kickstarter campaign had been launched to help raise money for cooking utensils, pots, bowls and a hand sink for what she calls "The Fearless Food Kitchen."
The armory's second-floor kitchen has sat largely unused the past few years since it was updated with brand new equipment, said Sara Dinges, staff assistant to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
A Chicago Park District spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment about how much the commercial kitchen cost to build — or why it has sat unused for so long.
"The armory is such as huge building. There’s so much going on. The really exciting thing about the Peterson Garden Project is they know food," Dinges said. "It’ll be a space for the community to use."