The Peterson Garden Project

In 1942 Chicago led the nation in the Victory Garden Movement, which was a surprise to many because the city was the country’s second-largest urban area at the time and 90 percent of its citizens had never gardened before. In 2010 a WWII-era photograph of a Victory Garden flourishing in what was now a weedy, trash-strewn vacant lot inspired the Peterson Garden Project to build the city’s largest edible organic garden on the site.

In 2012 the Peterson Garden Project started reaching out to vacant-property owners on Chicago’s North Side to spread the idea. The Pop-Up Victory Garden is the today’s version of the WWII original, using vacant urban land, for a short period of time, to teach people the basics of growing healthy, organic produce.  This year, more than 2,000 people will learn how to grow their own food and –– more important, say the organizers –– build community.


The Peterson Garden Project is a volunteer organization based in Chicago that is committed to teaching people to grow their own food. Their mantra: we build community vegetable gardens and stronger communities, too.


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