In 1997, Capuchin Friar Brother Rick Samyn felt a calling to start a garden at his workplace, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Inspired by his relationship with neighborhood youth (whom he witnessed getting their groceries from the gas station), he decided the youth of the neighborhood needed to understand what good food was, and where it came from. The garden was created to connect people to each other, the land, and their food.
Over time this simple humble garden greatly expanded. A large plot was added behind our partner, Gleaner’s Community Food Bank; an apiary that swelled at one point to be as large as 40 hives; a greenhouse for transplant production; a hoop house for year round production; a community orchard; and lots of community plots. It’s not just the gardens that have grown, but our work as well. We now host at least 12 interns each growing season, countless volunteers, provide tons of produce to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, host a weekly market stand, tours for visitors around the world, grow transplants for thousands of community gardens throughout the city, and provide garden programming at our partner the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. Over the course of our history we have tried all kinds of other programs, a mobile market, CSA, markets at churches and clinics, weekly discussion groups and much, much more. We are constantly evolving and changing.