Our Sol Food bus recently left the great city of Chicago, Illinois and we are now continuing our trek west across the Great Plains. During our time in the Windy City, we met some wonderful new friends, saw amazing sites around the city and enjoyed great local food. We want to especially thank the community members with the Chicago Corner Farm who gave us a place to call home for a week- baking us cookies, providing us with showers and food and showering us with hospitality. We feel confident that we will make it back to the great people and gardens we grew to know in this special area.
During our time in Chicago, we parked the bus at the ReBuilding Exchange on 2160 N. Ashland Avenue. The Exchange houses reclaimed building materials for aspiring carpenters, artists, gardeners and anyone else interested in reusing found materials for projects. From there were we able to branch out around the city on bikes to explore the lake front, the Loop and other nearby neighborhoods. On our designated “day off” we ate lunch downtown, visited the Bean and saw some amazing art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Our schedule quickly filled up however and the rest of the week was spent in gardens, schools and markets around Logan Square.
Our two most visited garden sites were hosted by an organization called the Chicago Corner Farm. This active group of community members was spearheaded by Brie and Margaret, two wonderful women living around the Corner Farm sites. The two plots they manage with the neighborhood are on the corner of Altgeld and Sawyer Street and on the corner of Kimbell and Medill (thus the fitting name “Corner Farm”). We spent two days at each site helping to construct a fence, turn over new garden beds, plant veggie starts from our greenhouse and harvest produce for the local food pantry. We also had the opportunity of providing Expos to the elementary school next door to the garden. The Christopher House children were able to join us on the bus for some fall planting, a “Parts of the Plant” activity and tours of the bus. In total about forty kids came and worked with us on the bus and the local news station even came out to cover the afternoon.
We also spent time that week at the Logan Square Farmers Market. We were lucky to secure a good spot at a busy Saturday and had a flood of people on bus for tours all morning. We met extremely kind and knowledgeable community members who seemed very engaged in the local garden movement going on in Chicago. We finished out that great week with a night at The Hideout music venue, where they have “veggie bingo” each week during the summer. This particular evening was a fundraising night for the Chicago Corner Farm so we were able to say our goodbyes and thanks before leaving the next day.
Our next stop is Milwaukee, WI and then onto some site seeing through South Dakota before weaving our way to Seattle, Washington. Until then, thank you again to all of our family and friends who have supported us thus far and we are looking forward to this upcoming section of our route west!