Ruby Garden is located at 1552 West Schreiber Avenue in Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois.
About Ruby Garden
Ruby Garden was created in November of 2008, born following the demise of the Sophia Garden after a ten-year lifespan on nearby Loyola Avenue. A coalition named “The Rogers Park Green Space and Food Systems Coalition” was formed and began a concerted effort to find a new space. Our “Edible Garden” application was approved in April of 2009, and in concert with the Schreiber Park advisory board, the garden was mapped out. Ground was broken (soil was delivered) on June 27 the same year. Over 60 plots were created, shared in a 50/50 distribution between community organizations and individual neighbors. In the first years, The Ruby Garden consisted of 32 16’ X 4’ beds - divided into 64 8’X4’ plots.
On September 12, 2009 the garden was dedicated to the memory of Ruby Langer, who lived adjacent to the garden for 40 years, stewarding the park with her husband, Ed Langer. Ruby passed away shortly before the garden started. Ed is on the advisory board and has shared the garden is one of the “best things” that has happened here.
In 2011, the garden expanded from 64 to 72 beds. We were able, with alderman and CPD assistance, to access water on site, construct a hydrant, secure attachments and connect 4 food grade hoses (thanks to Parkways Foundation.) This allowed easy watering for multiple gardeners simultaneously. We installed the garden tool storage chest (from a past Gardenburger grant) which is now full of tools all gardeners have access to (thanks again to Parkways Foundation.) Communal borders were sown with perennials, native plants and fruits. Most programs share their produce communally between participants.
An area which distinguishes our garden from many others is the diversity of gardeners and program participants These participants represent countries and traditions many of us locally have little knowledge of including Bhutan, Burundi, Cameroon, Togo, Eritrea, El Salvador and Gabon to name a few. Despite some challenges with language differences, exchange of knowledge, seeds, plants, food and the joy of gardening, all serve to boost the community spirit at the garden and beyond.
The garden is maintained day to day by plot holders and oversight is monitored via our ongoing garden council meetings in collaboration with the CPD supervisor who is also on the council. Community work-days are scheduled periodically during the season. Community events include drop-in days and “plot lucks” which are well attended and delicious. Angelic Organics Learning Center has supported training workshops, funded through Heifer International. Most of the community organizations plan weekly work projects in the garden.
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