preSERVE Garden - The First Volunteer Day of the Season

It's here. The first preSERVE Garden volunteer day of the season is upon us. We'll be weeding and otherwise prepping the garden for planting this growing season.

Images from the 2016 preSERVE Garden volunteer season.

Images from the 2016 preSERVE Garden volunteer season.

We don't want to jinx anything - but we're hoping for a morning of cooperation from the elements. Just in case, be sure to bring layers as well as closed toe shoes. If you have gardening gloves, a hat, and your own water bottle, those items are recommended as well. We will be sharing a small community picnic style meal after the hard work is done - so be sure to stick around after working up an appetite from digging around in the dirt.

Can't wait to celebrate the kickoff to the season with you!

Questions? Get in touch via 

When: Saturday, April 15th, 2017 // 10am-12pm (but be sure to stick around for the picnic lunch!)

Where: preSERVE Garden (1231 S Central Park Ave Chicago, IL 60623 / Map)

More Info: See also our event page and facebook invite. Dress appropriately (closed toe shoes and layers recommended) and bring gardening gloves, a hat and a water bottle if you have them. Feel free to bring a dish to share as well!

Opening Volunteer Day at the preSERVE Garden Recap

This past Saturday was the first preSERVE garden volunteer day of the season. In addition to prepping the beds, we got some seed potatoes into the ground. After a couple hours of getting some dirt under our nails and feeling the sun on our backs, we enjoyed a community meal. Thank you to everyone that came out, contributed their time (and sweat), and brought food to share. We are so excited for all that's to come this season. And if this weekend was any indication - it's going to be a good season.

Mark your calendars. The next volunteer date is May 21st (10am-12pm). Can't make the weekend work? This season, we're adding Thursday evening volunteer days. Join us on Thursday, June 23rd (5pm-7pm). Have questions? Want to RSVP? Reach out to Stefanie at

Slow Food Chicago Board Alumni Profile : Jennifer Polk

The deadline for Slow Food Chicago Board Member positions has come and gone. But that doesn't mean you missed out on your chance to get involved and join this powerful movement. In an attempt to inspire you to take that first step, we bring to you another board member alumni profile. Today's dose of encouragement comes in the form of some insights and reflections from past SFC board member Jennifer Polk. Jennifer began as a preSERVE garden volunteer and her participation grew from there. As you will see as you read on - the influence of Slow Food on her personal life also blossomed (pun intended). To give you a preview - as her passion for the Slow Food movement grew, so did it's impact in her personal life - as she graduated with time from a few sad containers of plant growth on her back porch balcony to a robust backyard garden. Read on for more food for thought from Jennifer!


Why did you join the Slow Food Chicago board? How did you learn about it and what motivated you to get involved?

I got involved in Slow Food Chicago through the preSERVE garden partnership in North Lawndale. What appealed to me about preSERVE was the hands-on aspect of the work -- building a new food-production garden in a neighborhood with a strong community gardening history. As a gardening novice, I wanted to learn more about planting food crops -- and the opportunity to get my hands dirty in a space larger than the few sad containers on my sunless back balcony was a bonus! Through my volunteer work with preSERVE, I decided I wanted to get more involved with Slow Food Chicago at the board level.

What project or initiative are you most proud of during your time with Slow Food Chicago?

I continue to be most proud of the preSERVE garden, particularly the partnerships and relationships we've nurtured over the garden's five growing seasons. preSERVE is a collaboration between the North Lawndale Greening Committee, the Chicago Honey Co-op, Neighborspace, and Slow Food Chicago. Each organization adds something essential to the success of the overall project.

What are you up to these days?

I still go to as many volunteer workdays at preSERVE as I can - and now I also drag my husband and new baby daughter along! Never too early to learn about Slow Food!

Does Slow Food still impact your work, life, eating habits? 

Absolutely. Once you get involved with Slow Food, it becomes a way of life! From that first sad container garden, I've graduated to a pretty robust backyard garden with five raised beds. I'm also a farmers market junkie and a home canner.

Good, Clean, Fair. What does this mean to you?

To me, it's a vision of the ideal world I want to help create for my daughter -- a place where nourishing, delicious food is available for everyone, and all those involved in its productions are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve.

What advice would you give people who want to get more involved with Slow Food? Where can they start?

Come volunteer at the preSERVE garden! Ok, so I am a bit biased, but I truly think it's the best way to get started. You can help with almost every aspect of the Slow Food meal -- planting the seeds, tending the crops, and helping with the harvest. You'll take home a bag brimming with the freshest produce, and feel the satisfaction that comes with having participated in the creation of your meal from start to finish!

Anything else you want to tell us that we missed?

I'm proud to have been part of the Slow Food Chicago board - it was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone who wants to make a difference in the food world, in Chicago, and beyond.


October preSERVE Garden Day

Fall is upon us, folks. I don't know about you - but for me, fall is all about fresh starts. What better way to live up to that mantra than volunteering with Slow Food Chicago's preSERVE garden? Already a regular volunteer? You know we'll welcome you back with open arms. Never been? I'm going to answer that question with a question. If not now, when? Do it to it. This will be the last opportunity to help with the harvest in 2015. Don't miss out on this final chance. Get your hands dirty. Meet some friends (old and/or new). And break bread with your fellow volunteers after the hard work is done. We'll grill out afterwards so feel free to bring something to nosh and share after the harvest! Hope to see you Saturday...!!

Join us October 10th for a preSERVE garden volunteer day.

Join us October 10th for a preSERVE garden volunteer day.

What : PreSERVE Garden Volunteer Day

When : Saturday, October 10th, 2015 ; 10:00am - 12:00pm

Location : 1231 S Central Park Ave / 12th Place and Central Park Ave, North Lawndale (map)

Contact :  Email with questions and to RSVP.

More :

AUGUST preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day

August is here. Can you believe it? And of course, the beginning of a new month means your opportunity to participate in a preSERVE garden volunteer day is near. Join us in the garden this Saturday - 8/8/15. And don't forget to stick around afterwords - once the "dirty" work is done, hang out with fellow volunteers and share some grub together as a reward for doing the garden some good. See you on Saturday!

Join us in the preSERVE garden this Saturday 8/8.

Join us in the preSERVE garden this Saturday 8/8.

Event: preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day - August
DateSaturday, August 8th, 10am-noon
Location12th Place and Central Park Ave, North Lawndale (map)
DetailsWe need your help! Join us in the preSERVE garden - meet new neighbors, and share some food! Bring work gloves if you have them, and be prepared to stick around and enjoy some grub together afterwards! 
More about this project:

preSERVE Garden Day - Apricots!

Surprise! It's an extry special chance to get your hands dirty in the Slow Food Chicago preSERVE garden this weekend. You were looking for some Saturday morning plans anyways, right? Apricots are ripe for the picking and we also need your help to de-weed the garden. Join us, bring a friend, connect with the earth. Good times all around. Go ahead, get your green thumb on.

                                       Apricots!! Yum.

                                       Apricots!! Yum.

Event: preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day - Apricots!
DateSaturday, July 25, 10am-noon
Location12th Place and Central Park Ave, North Lawndale (map)
Details: We need your help to de-weed and pick apricots! Join us in the preSERVE garden - meet new neighbors, and share some food! Bring work gloves if you have them, and be prepared to stick around and enjoy some grub together afterwards! 
More about this project:

July preSERVE Garden Day

The sunshine, a cool breeze, heck even the rain we’ve been having (not to mention finally resisting the urge to wrap yourself in a snuggie every time you venture outside of the house) - they’re all signs that spring has definitely “sprung” and we are slowly but surely warming up to the summer months Chicago waits all year for. Sounds like the perfect time to reconnect to your “roots” - or at the very least to the roots of the pleasures of nature’s bounty. What better way to reconnect than by spending some time in Slow Food Chicago’s very own community garden? July 11th (next Saturday) is your chance at the preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day (located at 12th Place and Central Park Ave). Hang with some other rad volunteers, get some dirt under your nails, and if you’re still feeling some of the independence day cook-off spirit - BYOG [bring your own grillin’ grub] to cook up and nosh on after all the “dirty” work is done. More details below. Hope you can join us!

PreSERVE Garden Volunteers

PreSERVE Garden Volunteers

Event: preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day
DateSaturday, July 11, 10am-noon
Location12th Place and Central Park Ave, North Lawndale (map)
DetailsJoin us to get your hands dirty, meet new neighbors, and eat some good food! Bring gloves, a hat and something to throw on the grill if you'd like for our cookout afterwards! 
More about this project:

Mid-April Newsletter

Check out our Mid-April Newsletter here for the full lineup of events and programs.

Greetings from our Board...

For Slow Food Chicago and the farmers and producers we work with, spring means planting seeds: in the ground, for new ideas, and of community. 

This weekend, we held our first preSERVE Garden Volunteer Day, and more than 20 people came out to get their hands dirty and work alongside friends and neighbors. Join us at the garden next month on May 9th to lend a hand, enjoy the garden, and cook out on the grill afterwards.

The Slow Food Chicago board also had a mini Crop Mob this weekend at Montalbano Farms to transplant 1,116 kale, basil, chard, pepper and eggplant seedlings that will end up in kitchens all around Chicago later this summer. If you are interested in volunteering for Crop Mobs this summer and experiencing a day in the life on the farm, or if you're a farmer who would like to host a group of volunteers, email us at

Are you planting your own garden this year? #GrowSlow by planting an heirloom tomato seedling from Slow Food! We're hosting our annual Heirloom Tomato Seedling Sale at Bang Bang Pie Shop on May 16-17. We'll have 28 varieites of heirloom tomatoes, generously grown and carefully selected by expert gardeners. (For those of you who grew these tomatoes last year, you know how delicious and prolific these plants are.) Hope you can come by to eat pie and get some lovely plants for your gardens!

Thank you for being part of our growing community, and for your commitment to supporting good, clean, fair food. 



Slow Food Chicago
Board of Directors - President