Join us for the 2014 Chicago Summer of Solutions!

Fullscreen capture 3192014 40556 PM.jpg

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!  
Fullscreen capture 3192014 41056 PM.jpg

OMG Corn is so big!


So seriously, the garden has been the most exciting working group ever ALWAYS.  But this week especially, things have gone NUTS. Before my eyes an epic opera of life and death, of vegetable and gardener, of difficulty and triumph has slowly unfolded.

We’ve been pulling in beans on beans, squash is shooting out of the ground left and right, and the first dark purple blobs hinting at future eggplants have appeared.  Despite this, not everything in the garden bodes so well.

Through the lens of a Yard Sharer… food, fire, magic, and community. Our work on reclaiming Place.

By Molly Costello

With the arrival of November and all its triumphant color, calm, and hints of frost, so comes the end of our second season as Yard Sharers. We celebrated the closing of another beautiful growing season with a bonfire, soup, and hot chocolate at our friend and land lender Bob’s house. This year we were able to expand our Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network from 1 to 6 back yards and expand our gardener population from one learning program (us) to around 25 new growers.

But as things wind down in our gardens, our work on the network picks up inside! To date, we have spent most of our yard share work time outside building and maintaining the network’s material infrastructure. In line with our vision of making this network flourish and grow, however, we understand our need to develop more of the organizational elements of the network. Therefore, Nell and I have been busy working on financial goals and re-writing land-use-agreements in hope to have a sound model to share with new Summer of Solutions programs come January. Continue reading

Summer wrap-up

     Hey everyone, Im Jason from the Rogers Park area.  I am a member of LETS  GO Chicago and i’m here to explain to everyone about what we did this wonderful summer.  At first, I thought it Summer of Solutions going to be extremely boring ,since all we did was discuss problems about the world around us. I thought myself, “This was not what I signed up for”, but after our training week was completed, we were ready to get some work done. As a team we all started constructing raised beds on the first day. At first, i felt nervous since i didn’t talk to no one, let alone build with them. But since these were all good-hearted people, everyone got along in an instant. Even with the humid air and harsh sun, nothing could’ve stopped us, because we were committed!

     From there on we’ve contacted our neighbors from around the area to see if they were willing to lend us a part of their yard for us to construct more raised beds. Then came along Bob, a friendly neighbor who lives on Ashland. he was kind enough to lend us 2 plots for gardening and a great spot for a fire pit for gatherings. We’ve called local neighbors who are associated with the church to offer them for a gardening space at different gardens around the area. gardeners have grown eggplants, tomatoes, radishes, and arugula. As you can see below we have posted a sign that says “Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network”. We have posted these signs in all 5 yards that we have worked in to let the people know we mean business! (Here are the before and after pics)


We also had a program for kids that was called “Childrens Garden” in which kids from around the neighborhood would come to learn about gardening and have fun projects to do that involved face painting, tea making, transplanting, etc. Kids were also able to have their own raised beds to grow their own crops. We taught them about the soil and how to properly space their seeds so they can grow comfortably. As you see here we have 2 brothers from Childrens Garden planting their seed sand watering them, as well as Greg (who is a member of Summer of Solutions) helping them out.

Hopefully by next year ALL of our lovely gardens will look like this, maybe even better!

Dinner and Silent Auction – May 12

Ever had a lentil meatloaf? Pesto made from home grown arugula? The famous carrot cake of Rogers Park’s own Sweet Atilla’s?

Please join us on Saturday, May 12, for three vegetarian courses featuring produce from our garden prepared by personal chef Amanda Schmies and served by LETS GO Chicago staff. And after you fall in love with the Sweet Atilla carrot cake, we’ll give you a gift certificate to use when you go by there yourself.

A variety of donated goods and services from Rogers Park businesses will be up for bid in a silent auction. Goodies from The Coffee Shop, The Mustard Seed, Flatts and Sharpe, Clark Devon Hardware, and many other local supporters will be available, and other surprises are guaranteed.

We’ll be opening the auction at 7 and serving the first course at 7:30. Seating is limited and tickets are $30 per person ($100 for four); RSVP to



LETS GO Chicago – Round 2!

Cross-posted from

After a successful first year, the Chicago Summer of Solutions team is back and ready for more. In fact, we have been plotting it ever since we put our gardens to bed last October!

What we learned in 2011 will help us build up 2012 into an experience you won’t want to miss. Continue reading

Our veggies are coming up!

All of our hard work at our yard share garden is starting to pay off with lots of delicious looking vegetables!  So this morning we did a little harvesting.


Our enormous squash plants are producing some beautiful fruit!

Our squash vines are practically taking over the garden, so it’s good to see they are starting to produce. The weekend storms really helped bulk them up. This guy was half this size on Friday!


Look at that kohlrobi!

Learn more about kohlrabi here! Now we’ve got to figure out how to eat it. Let us know if you’ve got any good recipes!


Erin with our first carrot!

Hopefully, the first of many carrots to come this season! Plus you can see our bush beans filling out in the background.

Bell peppers

Small but beautiful!

The green bell peppers are starting to mature into beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds!

Happy 4th of July!

Hey everybody! Here at Let’s Go, last week was an exciting one.  After a long training week, I for one was happy to finally break into our working groups and start getting our hands dirty.

Molly and I searched through all the seeds and decided on some options for a few empty plot spaces in our yard share.

Then we had a nice productive workday with a healthy dose of weeding.  We managed to plant chamomile, lavender, cilantro, rosemary, carrots, beans, and a few more!

Plus the children’s garden lessons kicked off!  So many exciting projects starting up.  So many exciting things to come this summer (of solutions)!