Thursday, November 3, 2022

A tree planting initiative is growing in North Lawndale

TREEmendous Ambassadors marking spots for
future planting by the City

TREEmendous Lawndale (a project of the GROWSS Committee) is collaborating with the City of Chicago's 311 tree planting initiative, Chicago Region Tree Initiative (CRTI), Trust for Public Land, and Morton Arboretum in their efforts to increase the tree canopy throughout the 77 Chicago neighborhoods. 

The goal is to plant 75,000 as a way to combat the changing climate, reduce flooding, create more wildlife habitat, and increase health and well-being for the citizens of Chicago. North Lawndale is aiming to plant 10,000 of those 75,000 trees (13%!).  

Members of four organizations -- YMEN, Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, St. Agatha Catholic Church, and I AM ABLE Center for Family Development -- assisted by North Lawndale Greening Committee and Permaculture Chicago Teaching Institute were trained in the Tree Ambassador program which uses 311 as a tool to request free street trees for residential public parkways. The City will plant and help maintain the new trees for the first two years. This initiative requests that residents help monitor the trees thereafter.  

If you are interested in having a free tree planted in your public parkway, please contact any of the following organizations and they will send someone to evaluate if your parkway meets the requirements for tree planting.  

I Am Able -

Stone Temple MIssionary Baptist Church -

St. Agatha -


Stay tuned for various workshops regarding the value of planting trees and other related benefits of having a robust and thriving tree canopy for North Lawndale!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Have you seen all of the Whirligigs yet?

Take a walk around North Lawndale and check out all of the whirligigs installed at each of our community garden partner sites! Here are a few shots we took of some of the whirligigs in action!

YMEN's Whirligig

Monday, October 24, 2022

Whirligig Celebration: Thank You

Our Whirligig Team would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who was involved in making this project a success in North Lawndale! Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table during the Open House Chicago weekend, it was so nice seeing all of you and seeing the joy on everyone's faces after seeing the completed whirligigs!

Whirligig table with miniature whirligig models from each of the garden sites

Open House Chicago

 The Open House Chicago Week-End was a big success in North Lawndale.

And if you haven't had a chance to participate, you can still take the Self Guided tour of some of the neighborhood's community gardens, with commentary by Blanche Killingsworth, Annamaria Leon and Dr. Israel.

To get the App and start walking:

Saturday October 15th at the African Heritage Garden


Thursday, October 20, 2022

NL Whirligig Booklet

After many months of design workshops, meetings with our garden liaisons and contractors along with site visits, we celebrated all of the completed Whirligigs last weekend on October 15th & 16th during Open House Chicago. If you didn't get a chance to view our booklet, take a look below.

If you didn't get a chance to view our booklet, take a look below.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

North Lawndale Whirligigs Celebration Events

Saturday October 15th 2022 
Sunday October 16th 2022,
NLCCC/GROWSS invites you to see the whirligigs installed at eight North Lawndale gardens, talk to the designers, make your own whirligig.
Register Here:

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Litter-Free Lawndale: Community Meeting & Clean-Up

Community Meeting

Join us for a community planning meeting for Litter-Free Lawndale on Tuesday, October 4, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Franklin Park field house, 4320 W. 15th St. We’ll celebrate successes so far, commit to clean-up events, vote on a logo, and plan future advocacy and infrastructure. Light snacks will be provided. Hope to see you there!

Clean-Up & Lunch Discussion

The following week, we will have a community clean-up as part of the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival. We will convene at 10:00 a.m. and then have a community lunch (hot dogs!) from noon-1:00, with a conversation around environmental justice. The event is co-sponsored by I Am Able and the Jewish United Fund.

To sign up, click here. For more information, contact Jonathan Kelley at / 312-420-2558.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Whirligig Poem Series: "The Wind: An Extreme Instance"

The Wind: An Extreme Instance

What is the wind? -a flow in many forms, 

What the bards have call'd thee 

All are their melodious evergreen songs, 

As a philocalist I see the wind in me. 

Wind, a divine secret agent of the almighty, 

Invisibly roaming over seas, soils and nature 

For tidings of the colourful world slightly, 

And the deeds, white and black of the creatures. 

Wind, a messanger, takes the messages fairly 

Of innumerable flowers' fragrances, 

Sweetness of fruits, melodies of bird-songs, tastes of poetry, 

And to the peasants love of animals' disturbances. 

Wind, a bondage of love and peace 

Amongst the diverse hearts of its creatures, 

And for a painter, wind is a moving picture 

Of far-fatch'd fields, blue skies and solitary seas. 

Wind, a wander'r rolling up the fallen leaves 

With her into the spelly paths making sound, 

A Sufi singer; the song of herself can be listen'd 

In a loud silence all around. 

Wind, a great saviour, a transparent shelter, 

Creatures, all the three, are under her absent presence, 

They find haven in heaven of the lady defender, 

The wind is wind, an extreme instance.

Jagdish Singh Ramana

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Whirligig Design: In The City & The Studio

One of our project designers, Odile Compagnon, was able to insert the whirligig designs into a digital computer program to see what our models would look like in actual places throughout the city. Here she inserted the MLK District Garden whirligig into the garden space at The Art Institute of Chicago!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Whirligig Design: Wooden Prototype Scaled Models

We laser cut all of our whirligig prototypes out of wood and were able to share one with each of the eight participating gardens! Pictured below are the scale 1/3 whirligig models for YMEN, Love Blooms Here and MLK District Garden.

YMEN Bike Box Whirligig

Love Blooms Here Plaza Whirligig

MLK District Garden Whirligig

Sunday, September 18, 2022

From Concept to Construction: Whirligig Design

  Our first meetings were filled with design sketches and drawings as each garden listed out some of the visual elements they felt were important to their whirligig designs.   


Friday, September 2, 2022

Sears Sunken Garden Concept Drawings

  Chris Gent, the Sears Sunken Garden's Landscape Architect of record presented his concept drawings at an event in the Nichols Tower on August 16th 2022.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Designing Whirligigs: A Look Into Each Garden Pt. 3


3618 W. Douglas Blvd., Chicago, IL 60623

The Stone Temple Peace Heritage Garden is a community gathering and educational space.  All produce grown is offered at no cost to people from North Lawndale. 

Adinkra Symbol:
"tree of god" – altar
symbol of God's presence and protection 

 YMEN Bike Box 

Southwest Corner of 13th Street and Pulaski Road

YMEN BIKE BOX is a bike shop in partnership with the youth development organization Young Men’s Educational Network. They provide bike repair alongside sales and rentals of refurbished used bikes, at little or no cost to residents.

Adinkra Symbol:
"except for God"
symbol of the supremacy of God 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Designing Whirligigs: A Look Into Each Garden Pt. 2

3732 W. 16th St., Chicago, IL 60623

The MLK District Garden is a permaculture designed space that incorporates production gardens, fruit orchards, and small farm animal management. 

Adinkra Symbol:
"wisdom knot"
symbol of wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience

1322 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60623

PermaPark is a unique public art-space that is based on the principles of organic architecture and permaculture.

Adinkra Symbol:
"He who does not know can know from learning"
symbol of knowledge, life-long education and continued quest for knowledge

 1581 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, IL 60623

Spaulding Memorial Garden is one of Gardeneers’ North Lawndale school gardens, a sunny, buzzing green space designed to give students in food insecure communities equal access to healthy fruits and vegetables.  

symbol of love, safety and security 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

NL Whirligigs: A Look Into Each Garden

3555 W Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60623

FARM ON OGDEN is a multi-use facility that supports and sustains a healthy urban community by bringing food, health, and jobs together in one location.

Adinkra Symbol:
"sack of cola nuts" 
symbol of affluence, power, abundance, plenty, togetherness and unity

3844 W 16th St, Chicago, IL 60623

HOMAN GROWN is a social enterprise focused on propagating urban durable perennials, and on creating regenerative edible and ornamental landscapes.

Adinkra Symbol:


"when you climb a good tree" 

symbol of support, cooperation and encouragement

Douglas Blvd. & Central Park Ave.

LOVE BLOOMS HERE is a social enterprise offering multiple pathways to empowering the community and building resilient food systems on Chicago’s West side.

Adinkra Symbol:


"spider's web"

symbol of wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Happening in the Gardens: North Lawndale Whirligig Project

 In 2021, the GROWSS committee of NLCCC received a Neighborhood Access Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to bring together eight of the community gardens that have shipping containers on their sites. The North Lawndale Whirligig project was born. Whirligigs are sophisticated weather vanes, which not only indicate wind direction and speed, but also help each garden tell the story of its caretakers and present in a fun and creative way the mission that drives them. 

Friday, July 29, 2022




Did you know that seed bombs are great for nature? According to Lincoln Park Zoo Community Engagement Facilitator and North Lawndale Community Program Lead, Jaeda Branch. “Seed bombs are great for the environment because they give us a lot of edible things that are great for urban wildlife pollinators.” This past May, Illinois Humanities, The Lawndale Popup Spot and UCAN’s Youth Peace Council sponsored and hosted their 1 Lawndale Peace-making Summit. I had the honor and pleasure of documenting the planning process and final installation of the 1 Lawndale Peace-Making Summit.

Upon documenting the Peace-making Summit, I had the pleasure of getting to know and learn more about Jaeda and the work that she does with the Growss Youth Council. The GROWSS Youth Council is a collaboration between Stone Temple Baptist Church, UCAN, Homan Grown, Urban Growers Collective, North Lawndale Pop-Up Spot, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, and Lincoln Park Zoo (LPZ). The goal of this collaboration is to create confident leaders to build relationships with each other, their neighbors and nature in order to create a healthier, more vibrant community.

Recently, I was asked to join the Lincoln Park Zoo team as a Photography Teaching Instructor and Co-Facilitator to teach young people ages,14–19 the essentials of how to photograph nature and horticulture through context and storytelling.

We are currently in the process of hiring youth who are interested in becoming leaders in the areas of agriculture, horticulture and nature who have a passion to make a difference when it comes to transforming their neighborhood and environment. The Growss Youth Council Nature and Horticulture Project begins July 5th — August 11th. We will be accepting 14 applicants to be involved in this project. Applicants will earn up to $1,140 through their participation.

If you know any young people who you think would be interested, their is still time, please have them apply. Our final project will consist of creating a photo nature book that will be showcased and displayed at the NLCCC Arts & Culture Festival this Fall. Stay in tune with us as we will be posting more information about the progress of our project.

By: Jay Simon

Monday, June 20, 2022

Litter-Free Lawndale Community Meeting this Wednesday at UCAN!

Our first in-person Litter-Free Lawndale community meeting will take place this Wednesday, June 22, at UCAN! We hope you'll join us to discuss clean-up opportunities, connect with others focused on this issue, and continue to work on messaging and advocacy efforts.

The meeting will be from 5:30-7:00. See you then!

Saturday, June 4, 2022


This is a map to "connect the spots" -- shipping containers in community green spaces and gardens in North Lawndale! Each spot is represented by an Adinkra symbol chosen by the site's caretakers.

Piet Oudolf at work on the Sears Sunken Garden plant layout  The Friends of Sears Sunken Garden now have a brand new website. Make sure to c...