Last Year’s Contest

The inaugural year of 2017 was a challenge and a revelation. Our judges saw gardens that ranged from parkway pocket gardens to community gardens that covered whole city blocks. We saw children planting their first radishes and university professors experimenting with new techniques in horticulture.

Nearly 50 gardens representing 26 Chicago wards were recognized in a September award ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center, where Suzanne Malec-McKenna, former commissioner for the late, great Chicago Department of the Environment, presented the keynote address. Willene Buffett, Cook County Extension Director for the University of Illinois gave a warm welcome to the eager crowd. The awards were presented by Julie Samuels from Chicago Community Gardeners Association, Christine Nye of the Shedd Aquarium, Ron Wolford from Illinois Extension and Mike Nowak, of The Mike Nowak Show, while Peggy Malecki of Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine furiously took photos of the many participants.

And here are last year’s winners:


Anthony’s Garden at Gale Community Academy

Cortland Preschool Maxine Koss Memorial Parkway

Loyola University Chicago: Urban Agriculture Program

UIC Nutrition Teaching Garden




Monique Costello –Happy Eats Healthy

Mamon and Susan C. Gibson, Jr.

Candace Jordan

Breanne Heath and Dave Vondle


Ellen Bunch

Donna Forsberg

Maureen Geoghegan & Annice Tatken

Casey Jedrzejczak, of the Garden Guides

Debi Johnson


Barry Family Garden

Kathy and Eric Craig

Marlene Fisher—Greasy Gardens

Jane Friedman

Kevin Hammann and Julie Gangloff


Community Gardens

Beacon and Malden Street Triangles

Brookdale Terrace Garden

Bush Community Gardeners Organization

Chase Park Community Garden

Cornell Oasis Garden

Corner Farm Chicago

Edna White Community Garden

European American Association Tree of Life Garden

Hermitage Community Gardens

Howard Area Community Garden

Montrose Metra Community Gardens

North Park Village Garden Club

Oriole Park School Teaching Farm

Peterson Garden Project

Sembrando Bajo el Sol, supported by Enlace Chicago

Semillas de Justicia Community Garden

Trebes Park Community Garden



A Just Harvest Hoop House

George Washington Carver Gardens of Trinity United Church of Christ

Global Garden Refugee Training Farm

Grant Park Farm Urban Agriculture Portager of Growing Power Chicago

Lincoln Central Association/Fire Station Park

The Physic Garden at The Pie Patch

Second Unitarian Church of Chicago

Urban Demonstration Garden – Garfield Park Conservatory

The Wheeler Mansion