Chicago kids grow, sell organic produce

April 9, 2010 3:32:29 PM PDT
Organic plants grown by Northwest Side children will soon be for sale at a Chicago Park District facility.

The Garden Buddies are getting their hands dirty at Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse and Garden, 3501 N. Kilbourn Avenue.

"I kind of like nature and stuff. It's cool," said Elizabeth Jonas, 9 years old.

As part of the program, they learn how to grow food and eat healthy.

"Before I came here, I didn't really know that much about plants and I didn't really know how to plant them that well," said Elena Kovacevic, 12.

"We can probably cut them up and eat them and probably make a salad," said Angelise Diaz, 10.

The children are preparing for an annual community plant sale by potting spinach and beets in an organic soil compound. Other kids add their own artwork to packaging for seeds. Organizers say there are numerous health advantages for children enrolled in this program including a willingness to try new foods -- like a lime picked from their own tree.

"By kids being involved in the garden, they're eating things I don't think they would normally eat at home," said Kirsten Akre, Chicago Park District. "This is something that if they didn't have that simple act of engagement, they may not eat a salad or they might not want to eat a raw piece of asparagus, but they're excited about it."

The program also encourages children to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. Even on a rainy day, the youngsters are eager to tend to their crops and experience it all.

If you'd like to purchase organic seedlings from the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse, mark your calendar for May 15th and 16th. Most plants are priced at two to four dollars. Proceeds help pay for supplies at the greenhouse.

Kilbourn Park & Organic Greenhouse
3501 N. Kilbourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641
Phone: 773.685.3351

Annual Organic Plant Sale
Date: 05/15/10- 5/16/10
Start Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Schedule Notes: Note: Cash only
Cost: free admission
Location : Kilbourn Park & Organic Greenhouse
Kilbourn Organic Greenhouse's annual event focuses on open-pollinated tomatoes suitable for Chicago, in addition to seasonal organic vegetables, herbs and flowers.