Local Stories

Pilsen’s community garden – a place for families and hope

Pilsen’s community garden – a place for families and hope

By Eleanore Catolico


As the city transitions to the winter, one of Pilsen’s community gardens prepares for a fresh start. On Nov. 3, Pilsen community members gathered in an office at St. Pius Church to discuss the redevelopment project for the Roots and Rays Community Garden located at the intersection of Cullerton and Laflin.

Patricia Bon, Roots and Rays organizational leader, said that the Pilsen garden’s soil will go under a remediation process beginning in January due to detected levels of lead and chromium that increase safety risk for the local gardeners and their children.

The remediation of the soil is made possible through the approval from Alderman Danny Solis (26th Ward) and a partnership with Neighbor Space, a nonprofit and community land trust dedicated to the protection and development of community gardens across the city.

During the meeting, Roots and Rays gardeners brainstormed ideas for the new vision of the garden and explored the issues of effective design, gardening classes, composting and waste management, city beautification, local sustainable food systems and membership expansion.

In an effort to create neighborhood solidarity, Roots and Rays conducts all meetings with a bilingual translator.

“It’s really important to us that the Latino community that has roots in the neighborhood to take ownership of the garden and control the space,” said Bon.

Founded in 2007, Roots and Rays transformed…

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