location: Chicago, IL

date: 2010

type: design/build, pedagogical

role: facilitator

Design Build Grow Eat was a jobs training program for Chicago Public School (CPS) teenagers. Participants designed and built a garden and outdoor classroom at James Monroe Elementary School in the Logan Square neighborhood. Voice of the City, a Logan Square community arts organization, implemented the program in partnership with Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), CPS and After School Matters (ASM). The program served as a pilot for the Growing School Gardens (GSG) initiative of CPS. The goal of the GSG initiative is that every CPS school has a garden that functions as an outdoor classroom and enhances instruction through activity based learning.

This project was co-taught with Ken Camden, with support from Dawn Marie Galtieri, and took place over five weeks in May/June and five weeks in June/July. The participating teens met with a task force made up of Monroe staff, faculty, parents, and students to determine what was needed in the outdoor classroom space.

After refining their designs and getting a sign-off from the task force, the teens then planned the construction using 100's of feet of reclaimed lumber from the Rebuilding Exchange and lots of gravel, dirt, and mulch.

Many more pictures of the process can be found here.