Chicago Botanic Garden Showcases Sustainable Ag at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden
This story features the Chicago Botanic Garden and information about their NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant. Read more information about their grant project, on the online MySARE reporting system.
Source: Julie McCaffrey, Chicago Botanic Garden
GLENCOE, Ill. (May 7, 2012) – The Chicago Botanic Garden has done groundbreaking work as a result of a two-year grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant reaches both casual passersby and committed gardeners with ideas for how to integrate sustainable agriculture techniques into their own backyards.
The Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden (RFVG) is one of the main locations where visitors can learn about sustainable agriculture, with additional events, programs, and classes offered throughout the Chicago Botanic Garden. The SARE grant made possible the installation of a solar-powered irrigation system and water collection tank for irrigating a portion of the four-acre RFVG, a demonstration garden for organic vegetable gardening techniques. This irrigation system was designed to be replicable in home gardens to serve as an educational demonstration for visitors. A series of seasonal handwritten signs give visitors tips and information on gardening sustainably.
Events and programs that educate visitors about sustainable gardening and sustainably-farmed products include the Farmers’ Markets on the first and third Sundays of each month from June 3 through Oct. 21. The marketplace features free 15-minute demonstrations on a variety of sustainable agriculture and gardening topics at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/calendar/farmers_market for a schedule of topics.
Three Farm Dinners will be held on July 18, August 15, and Sept. 5, bringing together local farmers, winemakers, breweries, and our own Green Youth Farm for a spectacular multicourse meal. These dinners explore the relationship between the earth and the food on the table. Guests will meet the chef, farmers, winemakers, brewers, and more during dinner. Cost is $200 per person. Tickets are available online or at the Visitor Center information desk. Price includes cocktails, appetizers, dinner, and dessert. Hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information visit www.chicagobotanic.org/farmdinners or call (847) 835-5440.
Family Drop-in Activities on Saturdays and Sundays from June 2 through Sept. 30 allow visitors to get close to nature and discover where food comes from with fun, free activities each weekend in the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities vary from week to week, allowing children to explore a variety of gardening topics such as the role of a bees and other pollinators, growing organic fruits and vegetables at home, worm composting, and more. Additional family activities will occur in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden during Herb Garden Weekend on July 28 and 29 and Heirloom Tomato Weekend on August 25 and 26. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/forfamilies for more information.
Classes through the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden include a tour of two organic farms with a cooking class and lunch, as well as a class that meets multiple times throughout the growing season to teach families to grow vegetables together. Earth’s Bounty: Organic Farm and Lunch Experience is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 30, and takes participants to Loyola University’s Retreat and Ecology Campus as well as W&M Land Corp farm in Woodstock, Ill. Let’s Grow Together encourages families to learn about and grow vegetables at home and compare them to the ones growing at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Let’s Grow Together meets May 19, July 28, and September 22. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/school/ for more information and registration.
Admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden is free. Select event fees apply. Parking is $20 per car; free for Garden members. For information about Garden programs and events, call (847) 835-5440, or visit www.chicagobotanic.org.