Summer Gardening Classes

Hello LETS GO followers!

My name is Molly Hulseman, and this is my first year with the Summer Of Solutions team. I am working with the Children’s Garden at the Koinonia house on Ashland. My schedule is different than most summer participants in that I come to SoS just on Mondays.

We are almost 1 month into our program. It began slowly. No children showed up the first day of children’s garden, but the week after we had as many as 15 kids at the garden.

Children’s garden has been going along very smoothly! The goal of the children’s garden is to teach the kids about the importance of plants, organic foods, and growing crops in a city. Each week we decide on a theme, and teach basic lessons on the themes that we have chosen. In our first week we talked to the kids about the water cycle as well as how water allows plants to grow. The next week we talked about the sun’s influence on plant growth.

The kids picked herbs and other foods growing in the Children's Garden to add to their pizzas.

The kids picked herbs and other foods growing in the Children’s Garden to add to their pizzas.

This week (the third week) we taught the kids about the solar system. We taught them ways to remember the solar system. For example MVEMJSUN (My Very Enormous Mammoth Just Sat Under Nana) was how we remember the order of the planets. We also explained to them the reason humans and plants can grow on earth is because of its place in the solar system. In their first activity we had them paint their own planets. Then we cooked pizzas from flour tortillas, pizza sauce, cheese, and whatever they wanted to pick from the garden. Lettuce, chives, onions, and even raspberries were added to some of the pizzas! We ended the day by letting the kids water all the plants in the garden. It was a refreshing way to end the hot day!

The children are learning about the planets in the solar system.  Here they are drawing what they imagine the solar system looks like.

The children are learning about the planets in the solar system. Here the kids are drawing what they imagine the solar system looks like.

My favorite moment in yesterday’s solar system lesson was when the kids had a chance to draw on the solar system map. With the solar system at the center of the table in the garden, all of the kids had a chance to drawn on the solar system. I asked them to draw extra stars, spaceships, and even aliens on Mars. They all jumped in excitement when I asked them to draw aliens on Mars, almost shoving each other out of the way! We had to tell them to do it one at a time! It is always a rewarding experience when you can get kids excited about an activity.

This experience so far has been very rewarding for me. I came into this program knowing very little about gardening or growing plants. I have learned the true value to growing organic fruits and vegetables. I also have learned that so far I have so much more to learn. Teaching is a great passion of mine. I love when I can teach with students who want to learn. These kids just love to learn! This program has opened my mind to many possibilities to making a brighter, greener future for myself. I am so thankful to be a part of this group of people. I truly believe we are helping improve this city, one seed at a time.

Making models of planets

We are making models of planets.

Spring Seedling Sale


LETS GO Chicago members have been lovingly growing thousands (yes thousands!) of fruit and vegetable seedlings in our Rogers Park greenhouse at Westwood Manor Nursing Home and we are so excited to share them with you! Come to our seedling sales this weekend and next weekend!

Join us for the 2014 Chicago Summer of Solutions!

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Hello Everybody! My name is Kendra Keyes and I’ve been working with Summer of Solutions since the summer of 2013.  I was a volunteer and could come and go to the program with flexible hours fit to meet my needs.  It was the perfect summer learning opportunity! I worked on the Yard Sharing team, and got to build these relationships with my team members as well as with a big beautiful garden and all its inhabitants. We got to know the community through our CSA garden and field trips to the farmers market or local bike shop or even the beach. Before I knew it, I felt I was with these people and in this community more than I was with my own. Everything we talked about was interesting and every project we did was enlightening and extremely relevant.

We are looking for people who are interested in things like energy efficiency, community-based energy, green industry, and local food production, to join our team this summer and have a similar experience!

The deadline to apply is April 11th. Apply now at

I have been working with the team throughout the winter while I have been away at college. This summer I plan to be a program leader and work with the yard sharing network. I can not wait to see what 2014 has in store for Let’s Go Chicago!  
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Yard Sharing Network is getting ready! LETS G(r)O(w) some food!

Hey everyone!

As the summer gets closer, stay up to date with the Yard Sharing Network team at their Facebook page — newly launched! There will be many cool pictures and stories, as well as good urban agriculture tips and more!

The Yard Sharing Network is also accepting applications for landowners and growers — you can use this form to apply to grow, or contact for more information!

A scene from one of our Thursday morning harvests during the Summer of Solutions program.

A scene from one of our Thursday morning harvests during the Summer of Solutions program.

Program Leader KENDRA and her garlic!
Program Leader KENDRA and her garlic!


Updates from the fall internship program

Marlon English (blog author, left) and Peter Hoy work together to protect plants from the frost in early November

Marlon (blog author, left) and Peter working to protect plants from the frost in early November

This fall has been coming along well so far for Let’s Go Chicago. During my 1st week back at LETS GO, I helped teach classes in the children’s garden, worked on the cooperative business development project, and got ready to attend Power Shift 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA.

In children’s garden, we assisted the children to pickle radishes and cucumbers.It was exciting to see how enthusiastic the children were to pickle vegetables. I was really surprised to see how many of the children wanted to pickle radishes.

In the following week, we attended Power Shift 2013, an environmental justice conference in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania from Saturday to Monday. At Power Shift solutionaries collaborated to address climate change,fracking,capitalism, and the oppression of people of color and Indigenous people. On the last day of Power Shift, there was a large action held to show resistance to the banks that invest in fracking for natural resources and to hold local politicians accountable for allowing capitalist to pollute the environment. I heard many stories from environmentalist and Indigenous people that live in communities that face the crisis of water and air pollution.

(From left to right) Molly Costello, Kara Hoy, and Nell Seggerson of LETS GO participate in the Power Shift march for a Green Economy

Molly Costello, Kara Hoy, and Nell Seggerson (from left to right) of LETS GO participate in the Power Shift march for a Green Economy

Once we returned to Chicago, two other members of the collective(Peter&Molly) and I did the garden maintenance on Steve’s yard, our backyard CSA garden. Due to the low temperatures approaching, we harvested some tomatoes, kale, chili peppers, and constructed a small greenhouse structure to save the remaining crops from frost. It was sort of a relief to know that we can preserve the plants without the risk of pulling them out premature.

Kale salad made from fall garden harvest

Over the past month, Peter, Ethan, and I collaborated on our objectives and the timeline for our cooperative business development project. This project is important to me because we can provide a service for a community that faces flooding issues in the community that we work,live,and socialize in. We are working on our timeline because we have to arrange our priorities to accomplish our goal of becoming an established coop by the up and coming growing season. If you haven’t seen it already, check out our new video and fundraising campaign for the cooperative project by clicking the image below:

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Stay tuned for more updates as we move into the winter season and continue our planning for what we hope to be an exciting 2014!

-Marlon English



Find below a pumped up introduction to the cooperative fundraiser from future worker-owner, Danton Valenzuela — a former Summer of Solutions participant who is, like all of us at LETS GO Chicago, doing the work to build the Green Economy!:


Hi! If you’re reading this you’ve come across my blog post and are probably a good stable person with lots of friends who are doing great things. I applaud you for being born… Now onto the topic of this particular post, LETS GO Chicago! Is currently on day 4 of our campaign to raise money to feed the children, oh wait I mean to start our Co-Op sister/brother group Grassroots ecology which has just been launched by the good people who brought you the Summer of Solutions.  As you may know, a business is not easy to start, especially a worker-owned green co-operative in the middle of Chicago winter.  So what were basically asking for is the startup loot so that we can buy the tools and pay for the man-hours of planning that we need to get us up and going and make ourselves self-sufficient to the point where you’re coming to us for discounts on rain gardens, snow plowing troops, and other green programs that people pay for and receive a service that they know is good for the environment and goes to people that live in your community who have only your best interest at heart.  What more could you ask for this Christmas? Helping the green economy, promoting sustainability and knowing that you contributed to local people who are working to make your community better! Did I mention that we will be donating some of our profits to the Summer of Solutions program?! Well we are, this means that we will have the resources to train young people to do the work that we do, it’s like a summer camp for green super heroes.  Golly gee all it takes are a couple minutes of your time and a tad bit of money and you can know in your heart that you’re not just sitting back letting big business and global warming win.  Times are difficult and we understand if you truly can’t, but if you can (I’m looking at you string bean) than please help a brother out and donate to LETS GO Chicago’s Grassroots Ecology Co-operative.