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Whittier School Community Garden Tended by Community

IMGP0854 - vege garden
Image by RaeAllen via Flickr

On Saturday, the Whittier School Community Garden–in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood–stood out like a green thumb against its urban backdrop, during a planting and clean-up sustainability event hosted by green energy provider, Viridian Energy.

More than 70 volunteers, including local Viridian associates, community members, and students and faculty of the Whittier Dual Language School, participated in the event.

The garden, which inhabits two lots formerly used for garbage dumps and car repairs, was developed by the school in 1993. Today, the garden is planted and cultivated by K-8 students learning about agriculture in an urban environment.

“The Whittier School Community Garden is a truly inspiring place. This garden enriches our community and is instilling a passion for sustainability in the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Irene Vitullo, a Viridian associate and Chicago resident. “We are pleased to support an event and a cause that epitomizes our company’s commitment to sustainability.”

In addition to serving the students of the Whittier Dual Language School, the garden is a welcome addition to the surrounding community. Community partners play an integral role in assisting in the ongoing work of this school and community garden.

In the nearly 150 man-hours dedicated, volunteers prepared garden beds for fall planting by students, removing enough weeds to fill more than two dumpsters. Then teachers, local gardeners, and volunteers from Viridian,  prepared 18 new prairie plants to bloom next summer and planted 20 ground cover plants in the 23rd Street Parkway section of the garden.

The event at the Whittier School Community Garden was Viridian’s inaugural sustainability project for the Chicago area.

“In the time we spent at the garden, we heard countless expressions of support and enthusiasm from our dedicated Viridian associates,” said Irene Vitullo. Viridian is a socially-responsible retail energy supplier that provides green electricity to consumers in the Chicago area at an affordable price. The company’s vision is to effect significant collective impact on the environment through simple, individual choice.

A significant component of Viridian’s vision is its “Local Change, Global Impact” initiative, the local aspect of which focuses on local events that bring about positive environmental impact. In all of its markets, Viridian partners with local communities and green organizations to support and sponsor local events that improve the environment and encourage greater sustainability.

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