CCGA Annual Conference

5th CCGA Annual Conference
March 25th 2017 – Breakthrough FamilyPlex

Theme: Gardeners Grow Communities

Location: Breakthough FamilyPlex, 3219 W Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60624

2017 CCGA Conference - Lunchtime

2017 CCGA Conference – Lunchtime


To view photos of the 2017 Conference click here.

Conference Program

Download this year’s conference program here.

 

Workshops

Session 1, 10:00am-11:00am

WK1 – DIY Season Extension for the Community Garden
Zach Grant, a local foods and small farms educator with University of Illinois Extension will explore the concepts and techniques of using season extension cultural methods and structures to prolong your growing season.

WK2 – Get Your Green On! Tips for Growing Natural, Vibrant Gardens
Ryan Anderson and Ruth Kerzee, of Midwest Pesticide Action Center will equip gardeners with action-oriented resources for maintaining resilient and vibrant vegetation without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. In an hour, they will immerse participants in three informal, interactive games that cover critical aspects of a systemic and effective garden.

WK3 – Community Gardens as Multi-Issue Community Organizing Hubs
Viviana Moreno and Fermin Meza, of Semillas de Justicia Community Garden will encourage community garden coordinators, master gardeners, and volunteers to expand the use of their gardens so that community members can organize around several issues at the local neighborhood level.

WK4 – Basic Vegetable Gardening
Nancy Kreith, a Cook County Extension Horticulture Educator will focus on learning the basics for soil preparation, direct seeding, transplanting and harvesting vegetables at the proper time, along with after planting care

WK5 – The Growing Classroom
Kimberly George, of Chicago Youth Centers will join with her youth garden members to share with us the benefits and multiple purposes of youth gardens from a kid’s point of view.

WK6 – Compost Magic
Breanne Heath, of Peterson Garden Project will show you how to transform your compost pile (or worm bin) from a sad pile of dead plants to one of the most valuable amendments for your garden.

 

Session 2 11:15am-12:15pm

WK7 – DIY Season Extension for the Community Garden
Zach Grant, a local foods and small farms educator with University of Illinois Extension will explore the concepts and techniques of using season extension cultural methods and structures to prolong your growing season.

WK8 – Get Your Green On! Tips for Growing Natural, Vibrant Gardens
Ryan Anderson and Ruth Kerzee, of Midwest Pesticide Action Center will equip gardeners with action-oriented resources for maintaining resilient and vibrant vegetation without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. In an hour, they will immerse participants in three informal, interactive games that cover critical aspects of a systemic and effective garden.

WK9 – Community Gardens as Multi-Issue Community Organizing Hubs
Viviana Moreno and Fermin Meza, of Semillas de Justicia Community Garden will encourage community garden coordinators, master gardeners, and volunteers to expand the use of their gardens so that community members can organize around several issues at the local neighborhood level.

WK10 – The Growing Classroom
Kimberly George, of Chicago Youth Centers will join with her youth garden members to share with us the benefits and multiple purposes of youth gardens from a kid’s point of view.

WK11 – How to Plan Your Raised Vegetable Bed
Mattie Wilson, with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance will focus on plant spacing in a limited area using early season space, utilizing vertical space to avoid overcrowding, and succession planting of quick maturing plants.

WK12 – Compost Magic
Breanne Heath, of Peterson Garden Project will show you how to transform your compost pile (or worm bin) from a sad pile of dead plants to one of the most valuable amendments for your garden.

 

Workshop presenter profiles

Breanne Heath is an ASHS certified horticulturist and has been teaching people to grow their own food for ten years. She designed and installed one of Chicago’s first edible semi-intensive green roof gardens, and is the owner-operator of a certified organic pick-your-own farm in the city, The Pie Patch. When not at The PiePatch, Breanne works at Peterson Garden Project where she manages adult garden education classes, seed saving and demonstration gardens, the Grow2Give pantry donation program, Edible Treasures garden at The Field Museum, and contributes timely growing information for the blog, We Can Grow It.

Kimberly George is Out of School Time (OST) Manager with Chicago Youth Centers (CYC). During her 25+ year career with CYC and YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Kimberly has focused her energy working with youth in North Lawndale. Her approach is mission driven and based on the needs of the community she serves.

Ryan Anderson, Program and Communications Manager, Midwest Pesticide Action Center Randerson@pesticideaction.org, 773-878-8245, @ryancanders
Ryan Anderson manages MPAC’s Midwest Grows Green initiative that educates homeowners, park/school districts, and businesses about best landscaping practices to reduce synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use. A past National Academies of Sciences Fellow and Masters of Sustainable Solutions graduate from ASU, Ryan has a passion for communicating complex scientific issues to the public.

Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director, Midwest Pesticide Action Center rkerzee@pesticideaction.org , 773-878-7378, @rkerzee
Ruth Kerzee has been on MPAC’s staff since 2005. Ms. Kerzee has been responsible for Midwest Pesticide Action Center’s promotion of Integrated Pest Management in schools, childcare facilities, and housing. Ms. Kerzee, also, manages all executive duties such as generating evaluative programs and strategizing on the growth and development of the organization. She has a Master’s of Science degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois Chicago, more than 15 years experience working on occupational and environmental health issues, and is a licensed pest control technician.

Zachary Grant, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator, University of Illinois Extension.  Zack holds a B.S. in Agribusiness/Horticulture from Illinois State University and a M.S in Horticulture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. From 2008-2015 he was the manager and director of the Sustainable Student Farm at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a working small farm laboratory located on the fruit research farm at UIUC. Its mission is to grow year-round, high-quality produce for the dining halls and university community. In addition, the SSF conducts research in intensive small scale farming techniques, season extension techniques, and outreach to the larger growing community. In 2015 he became the Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator for Cook County, focusing on urban food production systems programming for a diverse group of stakeholders.

Mattie Wilson, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance is the Sustainability and Adult Programs Manager at the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. Mattie has taken the organizations mission to heart about connecting people to nature through education. Her experience includes teaching adult classes on building worm bins and composting, creating and leading volunteer trainings, in addition to presenting for groups and at events. Presentations include composting for the Chicago Conservation Corps and large-scale events including the Good Food Festival, American Community Garden Association Conference, and the Midwest Museum Association Annual Conference.

 

Panel

1:15pm-2:00pm

Panel Moderator

Juan Pablo Herrera is Assistant City Director at DOOR Network, in East Garfield Park where he guides, leads, and directs young volunteers and provides service opportunities for them in Chicago and in our very own CCGA community gardens throughout the spring and summer. He is a former Media Coordinator at La Casa Del Carpintero / The Carpenter’s House, and he has worked at Humboldt Park Social Services. He loves music, especially live music concerts.

 

Panelists

Kimberly George, a Teen Worker/College Readiness Specialist with CYC ABC Polk Brothers Youth Center has over 25 years of experience, ranging from program development and implementation, to administrative management and financial development. She is project coordinator of CYCs’ Sunshine Garden Club at CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center in North Lawndale.

Nancy Keith, aims to serve youth and adults of Cook County by bringing expertise and encouragement to those interested in using plants to benefit their lives.  She expands her horticulture knowledge by educating and providing leadership for volunteers in the Master Gardener (MG) certification program and oversees their volunteer projects in the county’s south and southwest suburbs. Together with the help of MG volunteers thousands of county residents benefit from Extension programming. Nancy is a long-time resident of Chicago. As a student at the south side’s Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences her appreciation of plants blossomed when she served as an intern with U of I Extension. Nancy went on to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to receive her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and her Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. During her graduate program, Nancy completed her individual research project on elements of sustainable schools gardens and their potential as teaching tools.

Viviana Moreno is the Community Resiliency Organizer at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). She was born and raised in Venezuela and has been living in Chicago for the last six years organizing with several youth and community based organizations. Viviana serves as the Brownfield Redevelopment Campaign Organizer for LVEJO as well as the coordinator for the Semillas de Justicia Community Garden. Ever since she started working at the Semillas de Justicia Community Garden, Viviana has become increasingly passionate about different food growth processes, food systems, herbalism, and botany. She’s an alumni of the Black and Latino Farmer’s Immersion Program at Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY and holds a Season Extension Certificate from Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program.

Fermin Meza has been with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) since early 2008. Fermin started as a volunteer in the Campaign helping to build and organize around home and community gardens and a graduate of the PUDDJ Leadership Program. He is a Master Gardener. As one of the founding members of “Comite Primavera” Fermin helped create a community board to plan, carry out and fundraise for the Urban Agriculture Campaign. Voted in as President in 2009, Fermin oversaw the negotiation with Amor de Dios Church to use their property for a community garden, and worked with campaign leaders and volunteers to plan out, build, and maintain the Amor de Dios Garden. His experience with farming and livestock in rural Mexico has helped him in both outreaching to former farmers in the community and in maintaining the gardens.

 

 

Past Conferences

4th CCGA Annual Conference
March 5th 2016 – South Shore Cultural Center

Eliza Fournier delivers the keynote address at CCGA 2016 Conference

Eliza Fournier delivers the keynote address at CCGA 2016 Conference

To view photos of the 2016 Conference click here.

View 2016 Conference Attendee Program

Featured Speaker

Eliza Fournier
Chicago Botanic Garden – Urban Youth Programs Director

Workshops

Session One (10:00am-11:00am)

1. Chicago’s New Composting Ordinance: An Overview
The speakers will walk us through Chicago’s brand new Composting Ordinance, explain how it integrates into Chicago’s pre-existing composting ordinance, and share information about the new registration and inspection process that will roll out this spring.

Jen Walling, Illinois Environmental Council
Billy Burdett, Advocates for Urban Agriculture

2. Building a Compost Bin System That Complies With the New Ordinance: A Hands-on Workshop!
Two Chicago community gardeners who are members of the CCGA Resource Committee will demonstrate how to build a compost bin that uses readily available materials, needs little construction know-how, complies with the new ordinance, and makes great compost.

Robert Hart, GET Gardening; Paradise, Sherwood Peace and Veterans’ Garden
Erik Hernandez, CCGA Resources Committee and Communications Committee

3. Organic Tips to Kickstart Your Community Garden This Spring
Getting fidgety? Want to start working in your garden but don’t know where to start? Our speaker will answer these and many other questions related to gearing up this spring: when to put in cool weather seeds; what should be cut back now; what you can do this spring to make your garden easier to maintain for the rest of the growing season, and what you should think about doing to improve your soil and protect your plant material from the unpredictability of Chicago’s summers.

Windy City Harvest

4. Building Healthy Soil & Compost

Breanne Heath, Peterson Garden Project Garden Manager

Session Two (11:15am – 12:15pm)

5. Chicago’s New Composting Ordinance: Challenges & Opportunities for Community Gardens
Chicago’s new composting ordinance adds another possibility to the pre-existing compost ordinance. For the first time, it is now legal for gardeners to compost food scraps brought in from offsite. This means if gardeners wanted to, they could accept their neighbor’s food scraps in the garden compost bin. Already been doing this? We will discuss both the new and pre-existing ordinance and what this means for community managed composting sites.

Robin Cline, Assistant Director NeighborSpace
Carolyn Johnson, Brickyard Community Gardens
Jacob Blecher, Social Ecologies

6. Building a Compost Bin System That Complies With the New Ordinance: A Hands-on Workshop!
Two Chicago community gardeners who are members of the CCGA Resource Committee will demonstrate how to build a compost bin that uses readily available materials, needs little construction know-how, complies with the new ordinance, and makes great compost.

Robert Hart, GET Gardening; Paradise, Sherwood Peace and Veterans’ Garden
Erik Hernandez, CCGA Resources Committee and Communications Committee

7. Vegetable Gardening: Let’s Get Going!
Our speaker is one of the “wise elders” of the Chicago community gardening scene, and he will walk you through the basics of planning and planting your vegetable garden. Get ready to ask lots of questions; he knows the answers!

Ron Wolford, University of Illinois Extension

8. What Now? Ten Great Ideas for Refreshing Your Community Garden
After several years, a community gardener can get “stuck” doing the same chores in the garden, and not thinking creatively. Our speaker will encourage you to look at your community garden with fresh eyes and ideas and try some new strategies. She wants you to take your garden to a new level!

Beth Botts, Chicago Garden Writer and Lecturer

3rd CCGA Conference
March 7th 2015 – West Town Career Academy

Theme:  This is CCGA

View 2015 Conference Attendee Program

Workshops

Creative Community Building in Community Gardens
Kashanna Eiland

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Annamaria Leon

Gardening and Technology
Patrick Porter

Digging In – Transforming Garden Conflict into Constructive Growth
Kristen Bodiford

Community Gardens as Message Sites for Soil and Water Security
Dr. Shemuel Israel

Spring Preparation and Planting Tips
Breanne Heath

Container Gardening
Ellen Newcomer & Austin Green Team Greenhouse Committee

Building Garden Structures
Robert Hart

2nd CCGA Conference
March 22nd 2014 – Navy Pier (held in conjunction with Chicago Flower and Garden Show)

View 2014 Conference Attendee Program

Featured Speaker

Daniel Tucker – Author of ‘Farm Together Now: A Portrait of People, Places and Ideas for a New Food Movement’

Read his keynote address here.

Workshops

From Lake to Lunch: Urban Gardening’s Place in the Regional Water Cycle
Dr. Zaber & Qae-Dah Muhammad

White Rock Gleaning Program: How Community Gardens Can Make the Most of Their Harvest
Robert Nevel, Sarah Finkel, Patricia Bon, Caitlin Donato

Compost Chicago!
Carolyn Johnson

Edible Perennials
Karen Roothaan

Gardening Through the Polar Vortex: Season Extension Techniques for Community Gardening
Ben Jaffe from Windy City Harvest

1st CCGA Conference
February 23rd, 2013 – Center for Green Technology

View 2013 Conference Attendee Program

Panel Discussion

Panelists: Mike Nowak (moderator), Edde Jones, Robert Nevel, Jane Schenck, Angela Taylor, Elvia R. Ochoa, Ron Wolford

Workshops

Drops, Drips and Soil Bits: Water Conservation Tricks and Tips for Community Gardeners

At This workshop you will learn successful water conservation techniques from three local community gardens. Increase your understanding of planting, watering and soil building techniques that contribute to conservation and fertility and take home hands-on advice that can be used in your garden this year.

Negotiating Space: The First Step in Growing a Garden

Negotiating space is the first step in creating and growing a community garden. This session looks to share individual experiences in negotiating the land we use for new gardens in the Chicagoland area. We will share personal case studies for negotiating with government entities and personal landowners: what was required, what mistakes were made, and what successes were realized.

We Don’t Just Grow Flowers and Vegetables, We Grow Money

At this workshop you will obtain fundraising ideas for your community garden, identify stakeholders in your community and discover existing resources available for your garden.

Let’s Get Organized

You can’t have a community garden without a community. How do you grow a community around your garden? In this session we help you come up with a plan for making it happen together!

Comments are closed.