August 31, 2018
By teaming up with Gale Community Academy and A Just Harvest, TruGreen’s TruNeighbor program is helping to cultivate community through grant dollars and corporate support.
On August 28, 2018, the official opening ceremony for “Anthony’s Garden at Gale” took place. This event celebrated a community learning garden on the campus of Chicago Public Schools’ Gale Community Academy and was managed by non-profit community partner A Just Harvest (AJH).
The ceremony celebrated the $120,000 attained through the 2017 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting cycle, an estimated $75,000 from a Learning Garden grant through Big Green (formerly The Kitchen Community), and the $10,000 awarded from TruGreen.
We take pride in opportunities like this one to be a ‘TruNeighbor’ to the communities where we live, work and play and were honored to be a part of this project,” said Nika Martin, TruGreen government and community affairs manager. “It’s our hope that by partnering to create the Learning Garden at Gale Community Academy we are helping the students enjoy the many benefits of living more life outside.
The dollars will go toward adding a stage, picnic tables, a walking labyrinth, a "You Are Beautiful" affirmations fence, planters, decorative pathways and other features to enhance the garden. While the garden is located at Gale, it is available for all community members to enjoy.
Interim Principal Augustine Emuwa said the garden’s place at the school has become a metaphor for everything Gale stands for and hopes to accomplish in the neighborhood.
The Gale-AJH partnership is unique and priceless – it’s not only steeped in action, but outcomes. We’re growing kids and changing lives forever,” said Gale Principal, Augie Emuwa. “The 49th ward PB process was a golden opportunity for the neighborhood to make a collective impact.
It's all about looking at things from a growth mindset," Emuwa added. "We grow kids, because we want kids to do the exact same thing our plants are doing in the school community: grow our kids so they can grow our community.
The garden will feature melons, pumpkins, strawberries, cucumbers, beans, herbs, lettuce and fruit trees that will be maintained, harvested and consumed by Gale students and other neighbors. The school's gardening club, which consists of a group of about 10 students, will meet throughout the week to plant, nourish, grow, harvest, cook and learn about different types of food and its health benefits.
Between a handful of garden beds, an enclosed hoop house and a greenhouse on the middle school's third floor, students and community volunteers who visit Gale's garden have plenty to do.
Understanding the Many Benefits of this Program
The group looks to Tonia Andreina, director of the Genesis Project at A Just Harvest, to lead them in programming and personal conduct.
Not only do students learn about horticulture and agriculture, they learn how to solve problems at the individual and community levels.
Before each meeting, members gather in a classroom in the greenhouse to sign their names on a laminated sign pledging to follow the club's rules and do work with purpose, integrity and commitment with the community in mind. The students also said part of their purpose is to help community members find a hobby and bring members of the community together through gardening.
TruGreen TruNeighbor Program
Since the TruGreen TruNeighbor program launched in 2014, the TruGreen Corporate Affairs department has worked with non-profit organizations and elected officials across the country on numerous community revitalization projects. Efforts have included the creation of pocket parks, community orchards, and walking trails as well as playground equipment donations to schools in need – all so more of our neighbors can live life outside.
To learn more about the TruNeighbor program at TruGreen, click here.