Help a Chicago Park Become Greener, Healthier and Sweeter

August 14, 2011

Want to help a Chicago community get fresh fruit? Vote!

Several Chicago neighborhoods are vying to win Edy’s Fruit Bars’ “Communities Take Root” orchard competition, an annual program that provides a source of fresh fruit by planting fruit tree orchards in deserving communities throughout the United States.

One of those Chicago organizations up for the prize is the Spina Bifida Association of Illinois (SBAIL) and The Greening of Anixter, an “enabled” garden and Farmer’s MarketĀ  project located at Anixter Village, 2059 West Washburne Avenue, Chicago.

Anixter Village is a pioneering building designed to make the dream of independent living a reality for people with physical disabilities. SBAIL manages its day-to-day operations.

fruit treeIf chosen, the neighborhood will receive a new orchard of fruit trees that will be planted in partnership with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting fruit trees to support healthy nutrition all over the world.

“Receiving an orchard will have a positive impact on the lives of Anixter’s residents and beautify the surrounding neighborhood,” said Amy Maggio, SBAIL’s Executive Director.

Master gardeners, educators and students of the Garden Clubs of Illinois, The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, The Urban Horticultural and Environment Program of the University of Illinois Extension, the Cook County 4-H and the Rehabilitation Institute will work with residents to plan and install the garden.

Everyone will get their hands dirty planting vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees and shrubs. They will learn how to grow the produce that can benefit their health and well being while experiencing the therapeutic, life-enhancing benefits of gardening.

“Being involved in The Greening of Anixter will build confidence and create human bonds between gardeners that will transcend social barriers, particularly those faced by the disabled,” said Maggio. “Gardens invite socialization, and bringing plants and people together promotes cooperation.”

The other Chicago entities in the competition are all owned by the Chicago Park District. The fruit trees would be accessible to all park patrons.

The contestants:

*Douglas Park, on Chicago’s near Southwest Side, where the landscape was designed by Jens Jensen.

*Garfield Park, on Chicago West Side, where a Conservatory was conceived by Jens Jensen.

*Humboldt Park, on Chicago’s Northwest Side, a park designed by Jens Jensen.

*Jackson Park, which was once the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

*Washington Park, on Chicago’s South Side, is the location of the DuSable Museum of African-American History.

You can vote each day for the location of your choice, but only until August 31, so visit today.

Voting will score you a $1-off coupon on Edy’s delicious Fruit Bars, and possibly a piece of fresh fruit during a future visit to a Chicago park.

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