Some resources to get started with a community garden.

Start Here
Neighborspace – “… nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups.”  See top menu: Resources and Join Us.

CCGA (Chicago Community Gardeners Assoc.) – See in particular the Resources Menu: Grants/Funding, Education, Plant Distributions, etc.

Openlands – Strong supporter of school gardens, and also community gardens.  See top menu: Schools and Gardens.  Note the workshops offering.

Grounds for Peace Project.  “In partnership with Heartland Alliance’s READI Chicago program and Urban Growers Collective, GROUNDS FOR PEACE is the City’s new vacant lot beautification pilot program that’s designed to restore 50 city-owned residential vacant lots on Chicago’s South and West sides.”  Urban Growers Collective is a partner for this project.

20th Ward Alderperson.  For use of a city owned lot as a community garden, or for fire hydrant access, visit the ward office.  See Ald. Jeanette Taylor’s website for office hours.

UChicago – University Community Service Center.  Contact UCSC to receive notifications of volunteer service days at community gardens.

Who Owns That Vacant Lot?
Who Owns That Lot – Instructions (PDF)
City-owned Land Inventory
CookViewer – Cook County’s Map Application
Cook County Recorder of Deeds – Online Search by PIN
NeighborSpace – How can I find out who currently owns our property?

Wood Chips
Wood Chip Sources

Compost – Chicago South Side Providers
E-Z Tree Recyling
Garick – Harbor View – 2000 E. 122nd Chicago
Compost Supply (LaSalle Illinois)

Soil Testing
Univ. of Massachusetts  Amherst – plant nutrients and lead
StatAnalysis (local – results in 5 days, ask about heavy metal tests)

Bindweed.  A problem for many Woodlawn community gardens.  Some basic info here.

Seed Starting and Spring Planting Guides
Vegetable and Annual Flower Planting Dates – Cook County – Illinois Extension (PDF)
Article on Spring Planting Dates – Illinois Extension
Seed Starting – Botanical Interests
Seed Starting Indoors Dates – Botanical Interests (PDF)
Johnny’s Seeds – one source for disease resistant cultivars

Community Garden Guides, By-Laws, etc.
American Community Gardening Assoc.
Community Garden Best Practices Toolkit (Newfoundland and Labrador) PDF
Member Application and Liability Waiver   PDF   RTF
Garden Rules     PDF   RTF
Bylaws      PDF   RTF

University of Illinois Extension 

Hort Corner – information about plants, insects, trees, shrubs, and more

Chicago Master Gardeners

Ask a Chicago Master Gardener

Beyond Veggies – Urban Farm Animals

City Kids Farm in Albany Park – an intro to urban chickens, ducks, quail, goats

Garden Tool Rental

source:  CCGA announcements – 2016
The Chicago Tool Bank rents nearly any tool you can think of for about 3% of the retail cost! This project has been very successful in 8 other cities with Chicago as the 9th and newest location after its opening in June 2016. Keep the Tool Bank in mind for your next garden project, and help spread the word.

Executive Director: Alisha Wenc
Phone: 312-952-8896
Location: 1500 S. Western Ave. Suite 1CS1, Chicago, IL 60608


CCGA – Chicago Community Gardens Assoc. (formerly CCCG)  CCGA
Rebuilding Exchange
Chicago’s Citywide Clean & Green Volunteer Cleanup program – city provides brooms, rakes, shovels, bags.  Call 311 to schedule a neighborhood cleanup date.
City of Chicago Urban Ag Ordinance – describes differences between urban farm and community garden
AUA Resource Guide –  How to get land, Seeds, Composting, Starting a community garden, Grants/Funding and more
Creating a Sustainable Community Landscape on Vacant Lots (in Chicago) 1. Slides (PDF)  2. Lecture Notes (PDF)
Map of Woodlawn School and Community Gardens (PDF) – map of 16 school and community gardens in Woodlawn.