Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chicago-area Edible Garden Tour

The Sugar Beet Food Store Cooperative (“Sugar Beet Co-op”), a community based, member-owned, full service grocery store is hosting its 3rd Annual Edible Garden Tour Saturday, July 26 from 10am - 3pm.

At the peak growing season, participants can get a peek inside the beautiful edible gardens of neighbors in Oak Park, Forest Park, River Forest and Austin. Visitors will learn about urban agriculture, organic gardening, raised beds, successive planting and more. Cycling from garden to garden is encouraged.

Highlights of this year’s Edible Garden Tour include:

Back by popular demand: The Ioder Goat Farm housed in a backyard garage in the Austin neighborhood, Chicago

Examples of successful community gardens including Wonderworks Childrens Museum, The Longfellow Family Garden Club Garden, the Forest Park Community Garden and the Dominican Priory Garden

A private home in North Oak Park that completely converted their front and back yard into an orchard and vegetable garden

A private home in South Oak Park with a children's garden including a cucumber teepee

“This year, we’re really seeing more people trying their hand at growing their own food,” said Jill Niewoehner, chairwoman of the Edible Garden Tour. “The number of families raising chickens has increased too. This event is ideal for those curious about gardening with edibles and for people looking for inspiration to try something new and different in their gardens.”

Tickets are limited and may sell out. Order tickets online in advance at Co-op Members are $10, General Public $12 and Kids are FREE, but everyone must register. Become a new member of The Sugar Beet Co-op the day of the Edible Garden Tour and your tickets to the tour are free! Walk up ticket sales, check in, and map pickup the day of the tour is from 9:30-2pm at future site of The Sugar Beet Co-op 812 Madison, Oak Park.

Also, raffle tickets will be sold at The Sugar Beet Co-op for a chance to win a $250 garden consult and or a signed copy of the book, “From the Ground Up,” by Jeanne Nolan the Organic Gardener responsible for the edible gardens at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The Sugar Beet Co-op will be open to the public in early 2015. Member-owners of the Sugar Beet Co-op will receive store discounts, voting rights, and patronage dividends. Membership is open to everyone and can be purchased through the Sugar Beet Co-op’s website.


  1. Looks like a great Co-op. I'd like to find something like that in our area.

    1. Hi Deanne, we have a small co-op nearby. The one in the post, when it opens, will be about an hour away. I have friends who live in the area though, and a few are very involved in the local food scene, including their village's community garden.

      We are pretty fortunate in the Chicago area, having so many great farmers' markets, CSAs, and other wonderful resources for local, organic, and sustainably-grown food. It's amazing how fast local food resources are gaining in popularity around here. Between our garden, and the local farmers I patronize, I rarely have to set foot in a grocery store. When I do it's a couple small, family-owned stores, health food stores, or occasionally, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for (organic) staples, and produce in winter.

  2. Having always had the "traditional" kind of veggie garden, I'm always amazed at some of the different ways others grow edibles, whether in containers or in the midst of their flower borders. Just picked the first green beans and summer squash from our garden this past week--it doesn't get much fresher than right from your back yard to the table!

    1. Hi Rose, I know what you mean! Our veggie beds are utilitarian, not designed to be beautiful like so many I've seen recently. I do have a 'pot' garden this year though - took the chainsaw to some Japanese honeysuckles the Lawn Man (finally :~) ) agreed to 'let' me get rid of, covered the neighbor's marauding ivy with cardboard and mulch to kill it, and while I'm waiting to be able to plant the new area with veggies in the ground, I have green beans, chard, beets, broccoli, carrots, turnips, peppers, and herbs there in pots. Thankfully we've had so much rain I've rarely had to water them.

      We've been picking green beans for a couple weeks now - not only fresher, but oh my goodness they taste so, so much better than the ones from the store. This year I think I'll try pickling some again. I did some last year and they turned out so yummy!

  3. I really liked your post about Chicago-area Edible Garden Tour

  4. Did you get a chance to go on the tour? I'm on the board of the Forest Park Community Garden and ours was part of the tour. I worked at the garden that day but didn't see you so I guess you didn't come. But it's a cool tour you should check out next year if they do it again.

    1. I didn't go MBT - wanted to but have been laying low the past year or so, so busy and stressful taking care of George and then recovering after his passing. Hope to get back in the swing of things soon.

  5. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Gosh Linda, what a fun tour that would have been. I love how community gardening of all sorts is growing throughout the U.S., and Chicago has such a large presence with their established community gardens.~~Dee

  6. It's sort of reassuring to find you've not been blogging for a while. If I had visited I would have known and that would have helped me feel less bad about not coming to read your posts!

    I hope life without George has settled into a new rhythm and that all is well and happy.

    I've dropped over to let you know I've opened a follow-up blog to Esther in the Garden - and thought you might like to know. I don't have time for drawing nowadays, which is a shame because I enjoyed doing the pictures. And it may take a while to get back into the swing of it too. But here's the link in case you are interested. (Which I hope you are!)

    Esther and the Time Machine

    Best wishes

    Esther Montgomery

    1. Good to hear from you Esther! Yes, it's definitely been a while since I've blogged. When I was so busy taking care of George (along with everything else!)blogging took a back seat. And since he's been gone I've gotten even busier - so hard to find the time (and the motivation) now. My gardening business has grown a great deal, and during the cold months it's nice to have a break, so . . .

      We have a new rescue pup who has helped heal our hearts. I'm sure George would approve.

      Thank you for the link to your new blog! Hope you are well.


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