Beverly/Morgan Park shined at the 2019 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards.
Six local gardens were honored, all deserving for not only beautifying the neighborhood but for helping those in need.
Gardens at Kellogg Elementary School, Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery, Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church’s “Share the Harvest” and the Beverly Farmacy, led by a local resident who grows and donates produce from her home garden, were named winners.
The Beverly Arts Center (BAC) courtyard garden and the Edna White Community Garden, both in Morgan Park, received honorable-mention accolades.
According to organizers, the awards honor the “hard work and creativity that make our city a healthier, more beautiful and more sustainable place.” Gardens from 43 wards and 75 neighborhoods were honored this year.
Making local honorees’ awards more special is that many of them are connected. Kellogg’s garden club, in which students grow vegetables and plant flowers on their campus in North Beverly, has been supported by local resident Barb Gyarmathy, who works on both the Bethlehem and the BAC garden.
Kellogg donates produce to the Beverly Farmacy, and students have participated in learning sessions about raising bees at Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery. They now have two beehives on campus.
Kellogg seventh-grader Zachary Robinson said he is changing the world “one plant at a time.” The school is the only repeat winner.
Rashelle Strate, who runs the Beverly Farmacy out of her East Beverly home, said she hopes her award inspires others to start their own gardens.
She “de-lawned” her property recently, and she hopes to replace every blade of glass with garden space to help others.
Wild Blossom’s garden attracts bees—the importance of which to the environment cannot be understated—and the owners, Greg and Audrey Fischer, raise beehives on site and use the honey to make their mead. Bethlehem donates produce to an area food pantry.
The Edna White Garden provides produce to the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry, and the BAC garden has been a successful volunteer effort from local residents for several years.
Hopefully, the awards inspire others to grow their own produce and donate to the less fortunate.
As Robinson said, if everyone just donated one fruit or vegetable, Beverly/Morgan Park could change the world for the better.