Peterson Garden Project
Peterson Garden Project
  • Welcome To Our 2nd Decade

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    Our mission is to recruit, educate and inspire everyone to grow their own food.
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Learn how to grow your own organic food in six large Pop-up Victory Gardens on the north side of Chicago. Gardens are run by the communities that garden there. PGP provides management and education. 


Since 2010, over 10,000 volunteers have helped us grow. From behind-the-scenes administrative work to garden leadership to hands-in-the-soil day-to-day joyful garden labor, volunteers are the heart of PGP.


Grow2Give plots encompass approximately 10% of each garden and are tended by volunteers who grow food organically to donate to neighborhood food pantries. 

We've done a lot together since we started in 2010...




Pounds of organic produce grown


Pounds of food donated to local food pantries



In the beginning...

Peterson Garden Project was inspired by the WW2 Victory Garden movement. In 2010, we were still reeling from the economic crash of 2008. Our Founder LaManda Joy, inspired by her own parent’s involvement in WW2, discovered that the empty lot at Peterson and Campbell had once been a Victory Garden. With the hope of doing something positive on this historic piece of empty city land and “teaching 20 people how to grow their own food” our project was born. Within days of announcing the garden on April 17, 2010, a community of 350 neighbors created a Pop-up Victory garden (the city’s largest organic community food garden at the time) and PGP was on its way to being the award winning program it is today...

Fighting Food Insecurity

Grow2Give™ is our volunteer-run program growing fresh organic produce to share with others. Donations go to local food pantries/ nutrition programs chosen by the community. The program addresses food security issues by introducing vulnerable populations to fresh produce. Volunteers have grown over seven tons of organic produce for our partners since 2010.

Scholarships and In-garden Program Partnerships. Peterson Garden Project sets aside at least 10% of garden plots for scholarships for individual families and for food growing programs facilitated with community partners.

2020 Garden Locations

Global Garden
Lawrence/Sacramento, Albany Park, 33rd Ward

Partnerships:Alderman Rossana Rodriguez, North River Commission, Global Gardens Urban Refugee Training Farm, NeighborSpace

Grow2Give™ produce donated to Lincoln Square Friendship Center and First Slice

Email for waitlist
Broadway/Sunnyside, Uptown, 46th Ward

Partnerships:Alderman James Cappelman, Uptown United, Uplift High School, Heartland Health Center, Neighborspace

Grow2Give™ produce donated to Ezra Multi-Service Center

Email for waitlist
Hello!Howard Garden
Howard/Ashland, Rogers Park, 49th Ward

Partnerships:Alderman Maria Hadden, Rogers Park Business Alliance, Howard Street Service Area #19, Howard Area Community Center

Grow2Give™ produce donated to Howard Area Community Center

Email for waitlist
Land on Lincoln
Lincoln/Sacramento, Arcadia Terrace, 40th Ward

Partnerships:Alderman Andrew Vasquez

Grow2Give™ produce donated to Inspiration Cafe

Email for waitlist
Swedish Covenant Garden
Carmen/California, North Park, 40th Ward

Partnerships:Alderman Andre Vasquez, Swedish Covenant Hospital

Grow2Give™ produce donated to First Slice

Email for waitlist
Vedgewater - ON HOLD UNTIL 2021
Broadway/Rosemont, Edgewater, 48th Ward

Partnerships:Alderman Harry Osterman, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Loyola Lakeshore Campus

Grow2Give™ produce donated to Care for Real

Join us for Classes & Events

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Thanks and remembrance...
Many people have contributed to the success of Peterson Garden Project since its inception in 2010. 

Some are still with us serving in leadership roles, managing gardens, teaching others… 

And, sadly, some of our beloved participants have passed on. Their contributions and sweet spirits are dearly missed. 

Others have moved on to different passions and projects or simply relocated - there are PGP-like programs in many parts of the country now...

No matter where we have ended up a decade later, the journey of PGP proves the words of Helen Keller:

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”
2020 Board
Staff and Consultants
  • Alvin Yu, Owner, Fyusion Dining (2017)
  • Amy Smith, Garden Leadership (2019)
  • LaManda Joy, Founder, Board President Emeritus (2010)
  • Leah Ray, Secretary, HKS Architects (2018)
  • Maribeth Heeran, President (2017)
  • Tony Abruscato, Treasurer, Director, Chicago Flower & Garden Show (2014)
  • Troy McMillan, Government Relations (2017)

  • Becky Rico, Executive Director
  • Shannon Greve, Registration Management

Volunteer Garden Leaders

Over 45 people volunteer as garden leaders every season. Their names are too numerous to list here but they are all very much appreciated.