The CKP is hard at work planning and creating a new edible plant garden at 5710 S. Woodlawn, the University’s Multicultural Center. In partnership with the students at 5710, CKP has dedicated the garden to Timuel Black, one of Hyde Park’s major leaders in the struggle for racial equality.
Along these lines, CKP Director Bart Schultz plans to base the garden along the lines of Timuel Black’s book Bridges of Memory, three volumes of oral histories from Chicago’s South Side. Dr. Black came to visit the garden last week, and emphasized that it should carry a positive theme of hope and optimism. He told us that the bridges of memory should also carry a message of ascent, and that the garden as a whole should tell a story, preferably one that encourages talking to the elders. He encourages everyone to speak to their older relatives and friends in order to gain a true history of their lives. Dr. Black pointed out that while these stories might not be factual, they are undoubtedly true.
The garden has multiple purposes: to promote edible landscaping as beautiful, to honor Timuel Black’s work and legacy, and to give modern students and visitors a sense of Bronzeville in its heyday, when it was three or four times as densely populated as the rest of Chicago. This dense population gave it unique culture and community feeling, which CKP intends to reflect in the garden’s design. Since the garden has these multiple layers, it will take a while to complete. Most of the ground planting and design is now in place, but many sculptural elements lie ahead, which will help the garden to tell a story in accordance with Dr. Black’s wishes.
The students at 5710 look forward to a fall harvest, which they plan to donate to a local soup kitchen. Along those lines, the garden now contains late-ripening varieties of blueberries and tomatoes along with fall crops like kale and sweet potatoes. Planting edible plants gives city residents the opportunity to eat fresh food and, for the children, a chance to see where their food comes from, something not all of them know.
We hope you will stop by 5710 S. Woodlawn to see the garden in progress. Check back for an announcement of the grand opening!