Chicago program has given away more than one million seeds since 2008
From Seed to table with One Seed Chicago – 2011 seeds are Radish, Eggplant and Swiss Chard
Childhood obesity is a serious problem facing our country, and it is compounded by the fact that many of our youths in urban areas live in so-called “food deserts.” Experts in the field of childhood nutrition are working on remedying this decades-long problem, but there is a short-term solution with potential to change live for the better. Give people seeds to farm their backyards, windowsills, patios and community gardens. Then follow the seeds with gardening information and a network of community gardeners ready to embrace the new crop of gardeners. That’s exactly what’s happening in Chicago, IL.
Through the One Seed Chicago project NeighborSpace, Chicago’s land trust for community gardens, has given away more than one million seeds since 2008. Every year three seeds are put up for a vote and residents vote for their favorite and the winning seeds is distributed absolutely free to everyone who voted. The goal is to unite the city in a celebration of gardening by giving seeds away for free to local residents.
“By planting a common seed, backyards, windowsills, community gardens and balconies across the City will be linked together in a season-long celebration of urban gardening and local eating,” says Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace executive director.
The second phase of the project involves teaching residents how to turn their harvest into healthy meals. That’s where Chicago’s celebrity chefs are stepping up by providing recipes for each of the three seeds up for a vote for One Seed Chicago 2011.
“Growing your own food in the city is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Sharing the ‘fruits of your labor’ with friends, family or even a stranger and seeing their happiness is one of the greatest rewards of gardening,î says Chef Art Jackson. “There’s no limit to how much we can grow and how much we can share, literally and figuratively. It all starts with one tiny seed.”
This year’s seed candidates are radish, eggplant and Swiss chard. Recipes ideas will be posted on the One Seed Chicago blog beginning the second week in January. Chefs, restaurateurs, participants, foodie bloggers and garden bloggers who want to help create positive eating habits are encouraged to share their own original recipes. Chicagoans can visit http:/www.oneseedchicago.com between now and 4/01/11 and vote for their favorite candidate and they’ll receive the seeds for free in the mail in the spring.