Greencorps Chicago is the city of Chicago’s community gardening and green industry job training program. They offer three programs to community groups: Plant Distribution Days, Garden Assistance, and the Green Industry Job Training program.
Their mission is to promote environmental stewardship and improve the quality of life by establishing natural spaces that are safe, healthy and sustainable through hands-on involvement with trainees and community partners. They do this by creating awareness, building commitment, developing expertise and providing the resources necessary to create community gardens and green spaces.
Greencorps Chicago, established in 1994, is a program of the City of Chicago Department of Environment in partnership with WRD Environmental.
About Greencorps Chicago’s Programs
- Plant Distribution Days and Technical Assistance:
Five times a year, Greencorps Chicago distributes seeds, vegetables, annuals, perennials and bulbs free of charge to community organizations. We also provide technical assistance, garden materials and hands-on labor. Groups must apply and certify their community gardens to participate in our plant distribution days or receive assistance. We do not distribute plants to residential gardeners on our Plant Distribution Days.
- The Great Perennial Divide:
Residential gardeners and non-certified garden groups are welcome to donate, swap, and/or receive perennial plants, trees and shrubs at this annual event, sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, Greencorps Chicago and Openlands.
- Garden Assistance:
Assistance is available for community garden groups in the form of horticultural expertise from staff, installation and maintenance help from our job trainees and garden materials including plants, soil and tools.
- Green Jobs Training:
Each spring, Greencorps Chicago accepts and hires approximately 70 people into its nine-month green industry job training program.
- Mayor’s Landscape Awards:
Schools, community organizations and businesses who make an outstanding contribution to the city’s environment may apply for and receive recognition through this annual awards program.
- Greencorps Chicago – Calumet Program:
The Greencorps Chicago – Calumet (GCC) program will specialize in ecological restoration training and use of those skills to restore Chicago’s Calumet area open spaces. GCC will hire and train crew members on restoration techniques, chainsaw operation and safety, herbicide application, seed collection, plant identification, regional ecology, and prescription burn training.