Customers often want to know how the proceeds of the Garden Fair sale are used. The Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee is pleased to sponsor a wide variety of activities in the Hyde Park-Kenwood area.
Foremost among the supported items is the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. The Conference is one of the oldest community organizations in the country dedicated to maintaining and enhancing an attractive, secure, diverse, and caring community. It promotes participation of its residents, businesses, institutions, and organizations in programs and activities that advance the interests and concerns of the community. These includes working committees on transit, parks, streetscapes, condo/coop associations, schools, the Chicago Area Gaming League (a high-school math project), zoning, historical preservation, and forums devoted to a discussion of Hyde Park-Kenwood's future.
However, the Garden Fair's support goes far wider. In recent years, the Garden Fair Committee authorized financial support for the following projects:
- Nichols Park (both formal gardens and the wildflower meadow)
- Spruce Park
- Elm Park
- Streetscaping on 53rd
- Hanging baskets on 53rd and 55th Streets in Hyde Park
- Growing Home (job training through agriculture)
- DARE (Disabled Adult Residents Enterprise) landscaping
- Washington Park Conservancy "Go Native" Garden at Dyett School
- The Op-Shop's Public Children's Learning Garden in Nichols Park
Moreover, plants that are left over at the end of the Garden Fair sale are donated to community organizations on the mid-South Side, including schools, churches, mosques, and synagogues, and community nonprofit organizations. In 2015, recipients of free plants included
- Murray Language Academy
- Murray School
- Shoesmith elementary School
- St. Thomas the Apostle School
- Quaker House/57th Street
- St. Ambrose Catholic Church
- St. Benedict Catholic Church
- St. Paul Redeemer
- United Church of Hyde Park
- Community Gardens
- Ada S. McKinley Community Services
- Cornell Oasis
- Elm Park Advisory Council
- Genesis (41st and Berkeley Garden)
- God's Little Acre
- Hyde Park Neighborhood Club
- Ronald McDonald House
- Spruce Park Advisory Council
- 62nd Street Garden
- Parkway Gardens
- East Park Condo Association
Contact the Garden Fair Committee for information on how to be added to the list of qualifying organizations that receive free plants.
Feedback from Our Give-Aways
Dear Lesley, Mike, and Yolanda,
On behalf of the SPR Food Garden at St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church, let me express my genuine gratitude for the continuing support of the Hyde Park Garden Fair. As a volunteer effort dedicated to feeding our hungry and homeless neighbors, the SPR Food Garden has benefited greatly from the Garden Fair's Not-For-Profit Donation Program. The plants you have so gracously contributed have helped our parish grow more than 3600 pounds of fresh organic produce for local soup kitchens and shelters since 2012.
Last year, about half of our tomatoes and herbs came from the Garden Fair, and this year we are growing cabbage, cauliflower, and herbs from the Garden Fair. For the past two years we have delivered the harvest to the St. Martin de Porres House of Hope shelter for women and children in Woodlawn. This year we will share the harvest between the House of Hope and our own SPR Food Pantry, which the church recently expanded to serve 30-40 households per week.
I welcome you and any other interested members of the Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee to visit the SPR Food Garden at your convenience. If you would like to meet our volunteers, the best time would be our regular garden sessions on Saturday mornings from April through October, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. If that time is not convenient, I would be happy to give you a tour whenever works best for you. We also have some good photos to share for the Garden Fair's website.
For more information about the SPR Food Garden, please see:
In 2013, the church and garden were recognized in the Hyde Park Herald for connecting with neighborhood youth:
and two weeks ago, we were recognized by the Chicagoist website as one of Chicago's best urban gardens:
Thanks again for your partnership!
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago