Pop-Up Victory Gardens

Our Pop-up Victory Gardens are sprouting all over Chicago. Pop Up Victory Gardens have a primary purpose, not of permanent green space, but to teach people in urban settings that they can grow their own food, from tomatoes on the porch, to backyard raised beds, to community gardens like those in our network. 

Pop Up Victory Gardens last from two to five years, and then we literally pick up the raised beds and move them, and any gardeners who want to follow, to a new site. We add new gardens every year. 

For our current sites see our Garden With Us page.  Our legacy gardens include:

To read more about Pop Up Gardens see our blog post on the subject.

Operation VEGucation


Our education effort features classes about organizing community food gardens, both general and specialized classes in every aspect of food growing in Chicago, and classes in cooking and preserving. Classes are open to all- our gardeners, the local community, and social service and educational partners like GreenCorps, Mather School, and others. You can sign up for current classes here. New offerings are posted regularly and include: 

Other Operation VEGucation activities include:

How do you teach an entire city how to grow their own food? 

That was the question we asked when Peterson Garden Project started in 2010, inspired by nothing more, or less, than a photo on a butcher shop wall. 

Peterson Garden Project’s mission is to recruit, educate and inspire a new generation of gardeners who want to gain control of their food supply, grow their own produce organically, and make urban gardening the norm-not the exception. 

What we've discovered is that learning together in the garden does much more than put fresh, nutritious food on the table. It helps build stronger communities, improve public health, and create a more sustainable, resilient city.

  1. Pop-Up Victory Gardens
  2. Operation VEGucation
  3. Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland
  4. Food Security
  5. Gardens & Culture

Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland

A first of its kind, Fearless Food Gardening in Chicagoland: A Month-By-Month Growing Guide for Beginners, is a how-to on urban gardening, written for beginning food growers, in backyards, on balconies, and in community gardens. It offers basic instructions and information, organized month-by-month, and tailored specifically to the Chicago growing region. To purchase your copy, please click here.



Food Security

People today are concerned about the origin, availability and safety of their food—confusion about GMO labeling, “food miles” and other consumption issues are at the forefront. PGP is changing that accepted consumption model to a production/creation model by increasing knowledge of and participation in the local food system at its smallest unit— a family growing their own food.

Grow2Give™ is our volunteer-run program providing fresh produce donations from at least five percent of garden harvests from each Peterson Garden Project site. The donations go to local food pantries or nutrition programs chosen by the community. The program addresses food security issues by introducing vulnerable populations to fresh produce. Volunteers grew nearly two tons of food for local pantries and nutrition programs in its first four years. 

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show presented by Mariano’s will team up with Peterson Garden Project to present its 2014 Grow2Give™ program.


Scholarships and In-garden Program Partnerships. Peterson Garden Project sets aside at least 10% of garden plots on scholarship both for individual families and for food growing programs. Partners have included Lawrence Hall Youth Services, Jewish Child and Family Services, Greencorps, area preschools and other local agencies. 

Volunteer for Grow2Give by signing up on our Volunteers page.

Your gift of $100 will provide a scholarship plot to a low-income family. Please make a tax deductible gift at http://j.mp/PGPdonate.

Gardens & Culture


Our Rich Cultural Heritage.  Programs are in development for engaging all the traditions that contribute to our diverse American society. Experts in food and gardening from many cultures will create cooking classes, garden plots featuring traditional seeds, and special classes and events. 

The Edible Treasures Garden is a workplace garden at The Field Museum. A partnership between The Field Museum of Chicago, Seed Saver's Exchange, Jewell Events & Catering and Peterson Garden Project, the garden’s mission is to demonstrate urban heirloom vegetable gardening at one of Chicago’s great landmarks, The Field Museum. To visit the Edible Treasures Garden, ask museum personnel how to find the West Terrace next time you visit. 

In partnership with Seed Savers Exchange and Slow Food Chicago, Global Gardens features a Seed Saving Garden, featuring rare and heirloom vegetables. The Seed Saving Garden includes selections from the Ark of Taste, a collection of seeds in danger of going extinct. We host classes and demonstrations on seed saving with experts from Peterson Garden Project, Seed Savers Exchange and local seed saving organizations.