Our rooftop garden at the shelter, Seeds of Hope, provides interactive green space for the shelter guests, garden/nature activities, and an opportunity to grow their own "bucket" garden, which they can take with them when they move into their home!
My hope through this gardening project is to empower others to grow herbs, food, flowers, etc, and encourage each other to start growing, wherever we are, and discover the joy and yumminess that growing our own garden can bring, even if it's simply one pot of herbs! Bringing this rooftop garden to the homeless shelter, we hope to provide a quiet, calm, healing space to discover the wonder which nature holds, and to learn about growing one's own food.
Currently we have two main activities in the garden:
1. Ladies Tea & Art on Mondays -Ladies from Naomi Ladies program come to the rooftop and they can grow their own "bucket" garden, pick herbs, tomatoes, etc, from general garden boxes, have a fresh fruit snack & iced mint tea (made from our garden mint), and do art.
2. Mom & Kids Tea time & activity on Wednesdays - Moms and their kids join together to do a scavenger hunt or nature activity in the garden, and enjoy a fresh fruit snack and garden iced tea, and just explore the garden together, and prizes for all when the activities are done. :)
The Hannah House program has access to the garden all day since the location is on the rooftop next to the playground for their program. This creates space for the kids to discover and experience the garden hands on, and often I find picked items, like green tomatoes, baby watermelons, etc. (sometimes smashed). Now we educate the kids on picking what is ripe, and learning what that looks like, and we help them to "Be a garden protector, not a random picker". Since our garden is hands on and experiential for everyone, and I value offering open access, I am willing to pay the price of losing some veggies as kids learn, discover and experience the wonder of garden!
Funded by Chicago, IL (November 2022)