The last thaw is right around the corner and it’s time to think about windowsill planting, raised beds and checking out that community garden you’ve been meaning to visit for the past two years. This Saturday you can join GreenThumb, a subsidiary of the Parks Department, for a day of gardening-related workshops at Hostos Community College that will teach you the basics of aquaponics, nonprofit incorporation and how to trellis. Workshops are available for the kiddies, and the entertainment for the under-12 set is enviable: they can mold “Fantastic Spring Flowers in Neon Colors” or just play with the other kids in a designated area. A $5 ticket buys you entrance, lunch and a “highly coveted” T-shirt, making it the most cost-effective Saturday I will have spent since I discovered brunch.
This will be the 31st annual GrowTogether, and they’ve got the network to prove it: Over 50 workshops will be held over the course of the day, and the organization oversees over 600 community gardens throughout the city. The event will bring together community gardeners, greening partners, the general public and elected officials to celebrate the start of a new gardening season.
GrowTogether will also feature remarks from keynote speaker LaDonna Redmond. Her work has been influential in the Chicago public school system and she now works to promote food justice and engage community residents in Minneapolis. Named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time, she’ll be sharing some of her experiences as an activist and gardener. GreenThumb director Nancy Kohn looks forward to her keynote. “We thought that this was a really great time to bring her in and talk about urban agriculture and her experience as a food justice activist.” Buy your tickets here for the March 21 conference.