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c/o Project Nia & Interrupting Criminalization

Explore snapshots of community-based safety strategies that expand our ideas about what keeps us safe.

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[Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network Facebook]


Location: Chicago, IL

Organization: LETS GO Chicago

Contact: team@letsgochicago.org

The Rogers Park Yard Sharing Network started in 2011 as a project of a small non-profit called LETS GO Chicago that focused on local solutions to environmental, social and economic issues in our world today. Over the course of three years the Network was able to build around 1500 square feet of growing space in 8 yards, keeping one big garden for the use of the organization as a teaching space.
Rogers Park Yard Sharing describes “Yard Sharing” as, “a term used to define a relationship in which a landowner opens up part or all of their yard for the use by a neighbor who does not have access to land.”

You can explore their Yard Sharing Toolkit here.

According to Rogers Park Yard Sharing: “This model for growing food is designed for dense urban environments where access to soil and sunlight is often limited. It is also rooted in cultures of co-creation and collaborative land stewardship that stretch back for generations and throughout many cultures. Yard Sharing's benefits include:

  • Increasing Food Growing Spaces and Fostering Cultures of Abundance
  • Creating “Place” and Building Relationships Across Neighborhoods
  • Coming Back to a Relationship with the Land and Healthier Food Production
  • Local Cultures as Climate Chaos Mitigation
  • Reimagining Community Safety
  • Skill Sharing
  • Questioning Concepts of Private Land” 

The Rogers Park Network’s mission when they started the yard sharing network was multifaceted:

“We wanted to increase the amount of food growing space in our neighborhood, but we were also invested in accessibility and community building in the process.

There are an increasing amount of community gardens in Chicago and around the country, but it is critical that we look at who is able to utilize and access those spaces. We witnessed many financial and physical hurdle to becoming members of community gardens in our neighborhood so we focused of direct outreach and sliding scale participation fees when connecting with our network growers.

We also had monthly potlucks and educational workshops for our network during the peek of our operations. Being with each other, learning from each other, challenging notions of private space, talking about new models of community safety were all braided into the mission of our network.”

The Network has been in “operation for nine seasons, grown with dozens and dozens of neighbors, harvested thousands of pounds of foods and have created a space full of a lot of joy. We hope you will be inspired by our story and consider starting a network of your own.”

Source: Roger Park Yard Sharing Network website

Related: See the Rogers Park Seed Library