Healthy Eating and Tomatoes with Marcy Newberry Center and Maxwell Street Community Garden

Marcy Newberry kids enjoying a variety of fruits

Marcy Newberry kids enjoying a variety of fruits

Janet Cornelius, a gardener with Maxwell Street Community Garden, wanted to make sure the children at nearby Marcy Newberry Center had a chance to learn about and be active in the garden from the start. Along with support from C4C’s Nancy Plax, Janet put together a spring break camp for about 50 kids. At each of the three classes they learned something new about gardening and healthy eating. They had a chance to try a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, some that became new favorites. The kids also made their own tomato plant teepees and started tomato seedlings. The culminating event took place at the beginning of the summer when the children along with other garden volunteers planted the seedlings at Maxwell Street Community Garden.

Making Tomato Teepees

Creating Tomato Plant Seedlings

Unfortunately, Marcy Newberry Center closed this summer but the tomato plants are still being cared for and the children are still encouraged to participate in the garden whenever possible. If you have a group of children who would like to be involved in the garden please contact We have a children’s garden for them to explore and have space for any special projects that groups would like to take on.

Planting Tomato Seedlings at the garden

Come Garden in Your Community!

Looking for an opportunity to get to know your neighbors, get outside, learn something new, and even get a tasty snack? Join one of our local community gardens! Watch for posts about local gardens and contact the one that works best for you.

Today we’re featuring Maxwell Street Community Garden located just north of the new fire station on 13th Street between Racine and Blue Island. There’s plenty of land to be claimed at this garden that started in 2012.

Maxwell Street Community Garden

Maxwell Street Community Garden

Garden member basics:

Membership gets you one raised mound that is 4 by 8 feet large. You will have full responsibility for this mound for one year.  Water is provided thanks to the fire station as well as a fresh supply of mulch, soil, and compost at the beginning of each season. You will also have access to the children’s garden, compost materials, and special events. Returning members get first priority for beds and donate less in subsequent years.

Open enrollment season is from March – May. Each member must reapply annually. A financial contribution is required to help get things started and to maintain and grow the garden.

The recommended donation for all new applicants is $80.00.  If you are interested in becoming a member but are unable to meet the $80.00 amount, community growing beds are available and specific arrangements can be made to ensure all those interested have an opportunity to participate as a member.  Additionally, CHA residents in the community are eligible for a reduced recommended donation for their own personal bed and/or use of community beds.

Please e-mail  if you are interested in becoming a garden member.

Maxwell Street Community Garden work day

Maxwell Street Community Garden work day

Take it up a notch:

This is a new community garden and committees are being formed to keep it going in the future. Members are encouraged to join one of the following groups (these will be modified as the garden evolves):

  • Children’s Garden
  • Compost Bin
  • New Construction
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Gates
  • Signage
  • Outreach

If you are interested in any of the above please mention that in your e-mail.

Get dirty – NOW!

The garden has weekly workdays on Sunday afternoons. The next workday will be Sunday, April 14 at 9:00 a.m. They are starting early because there’s always lots to do in the spring. Come by and check out the garden so you can see if it’s the right fit for you. Maybe stay and lend a hand with spreading mulch, picking up garbage, preparing new beds, painting signs, and more.

Find more information on the link above or e-mail

Next up: Taylor Street Farms

Do you know of a local garden that we can feature? If so comment below and we’ll follow up!

Your C4C blogger, Wendy Neuert

Wendy Paris RiverWendy Neuert has lived in the community for 9 years, three spent living above the new Coffee Alley on Taylor Street and the last six as an original owner in University Commons. Wendy and her husband Sean love riding their bikes, exploring the city, discovering new restaurants, and spending time outside. Raised in Minnesota, Wendy made her way to Chicago after spending six years in Milwaukee for school and work. Chicago is now her home and she hopes to keep it that way. Wendy is the director of ongoing programs at Chicago Cares where she has spent 8 years building volunteer experiences and learning about how to best meet the needs of the city.

Wendy writes about environmentally-focused events, issues, and opportunities in the community. If you have an idea you’d like researched or featured please post a comment with the information on any of Wendy’s blog posts.