Cultivating Relationships With the Community by Connecting to One Another Through Nature


The 71st and Crandon Organic Garden is located on three vacant city lots in the heart of South Shore.

The garden was born as a result of the 5th Ward Participatory Budget process. There were months of public meetings at which members of the community asked for multiple community gardens. This desire was winnowed down to a single vision for a garden on the corner of 71st and Crandon. The project would go on to receive more votes than any other in the participatory budgeting process. 

Established in May 2016

In May 2016, 200 hours of volunteer service were donated by moving multiple yards of mulch and soil and planting a total of 19 trees and shrubs: 2 black cherry trees, 5 American plum trees, 1 black walnut tree, 1 pecan tree, 5 hazelnut shrubs, 2 bald cypress,  2 swamp white oaks, and 1 linden tree. These 19 trees/shrubs will help clean the air, reduce runoff into combined sewers, and create a gathering space for the community.


The garden is owned by NeighborSpace.  NeighborSpace is the only nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago that preserves and sustains gardens on behalf of dedicated community groups. They shoulder the responsibilities of property ownership — such as providing basic insurance, access to water, and links to support networks  — so that our community can focus on gardening. NeighborSpace-protected gardens give young and old alike an opportunity to get their hands in the earth and enjoy nature, right in their own neighborhoods.


Mission and Vision

Our mission is to cultivate relationships with the community by connecting to one another through nature.

Our vision is three fold:

  • To be able to nurture the curiosity of the youth by providing them hands on learning sessions.
  • To provide a space for positive and safe social interactions.
  • To improve nutritional awareness and promote healthy eating habits.

How it Works

The garden holds 43 raised beds that are leased to individuals for the growing season to independently plant, maintain,

and harvest.  

Each bed is leased for $25 a season.

We encourage children of all ages to participate.  We offer planting bags, seeds, and soil at no cost.

We also offer veggies and herbs for the community.

2023- Year In review

In 2023, we held almost 30 free events for the community.  Below are just a few.  We are looking forward to 2024!

Gardening Classes

Musical Events

Yoga Classes

Bees 101 Class

Are your Seeds still good?

Most brand new seeds have a 90% germination rate, meaning that 9 out of  every 10 seeds should grow.  But seeds that are aged over three years have a germination rate of only 60%.  To test older seeds before you plant:

1. Fold a dampened paper towel in half. 

2. Take 2-3 seeds and place them on the damp towel.

3. Fold the towel over the seeds  and place in a zipped plastic bag or airtight container in a warm location.

4. After a few days, open the bag and see if any sprouted.  This will give you a good gauge of how your seeds are germinating.

Why include flowers with your veggies?

Flowers not only attract pollinators, but some perform double duty as pest deterrents.  Here are just a few you can try:

1. Lavender or Basil- repels mosquitoes, fleas, flies and moths

2. Alliums - repels cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies, and slugs

3. Petunias- repel squash bugs, tomato hornworms, and aphids

4. Marigolds - repels mosquitos, cabbage worms, plant lice

Squash Bug with eggs

How and When- Indoor Seed Starting Tips

Not all seeds should be started indoors, Check the package.

Timing is everything.  Start too soon and the weather may not allow you to plant before the seed out grows the pot.  Start to late and they won't have time to mature before the end of the growing season.

You don't have to purchase seed starter trays or fancy equipment.  Try food containers- yogurt or sour cream containers as examples.  Just clean them out and pole a few drainage holes in the bottom.  Or you can try using egg shells.  Rinse out the shell, fill with soil and add your seed!

Direct Composting   

Compost is a nutrient-rich soil made from decayed scraps and landscape waste.  If you don't have the time, space,  or patience for standard composting, direct composting may be for you.

1. Dig a hole or trench, usually at least 12 inches deep to discourage pests.

2. Dump in your table scraps (no meat, oil, dairy)

3.  Add the same amount of brown material (shredded leaves, paper, ashes, nut shells, used potting soil) as you did of the table scraps.

4. Cover with the removed soil.

In about a month, the mix will turn into rich compost, feeding nearby plants.


No experience required!

We always need volunteers to help maintain the garden.  Volunteer projects include watering, weeding, painting, and harvesting.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at

Interested in Participating?

The Garden has Great Benefits to offer:

Learn about growing fresh veggies

A resource for fresh herbs

Students can earn service learning hours

Great for volunteers of all skill levels

Crandon Garden Email

Visit our FaceBook Page- Crandon Community Garden


We would like to thank all the volunteers and community supporters