"'You can change from looking at unemployment and looking at what people don't have to looking at what people have. When you show people growing their own food, everyone eats,' Rhodes said. 'When you go in and you see green-you see flowers, you see gardens-it changes a whole community.'
Chicago has about 15,000 city-owned parcels, most of which are vacant, said Molly Sullivan, director of communications for the Department of Community Development. With much of the land zoned residential, gardens might be a possible use, she said.
'We would think the concept of an urban garden on these residential lots would be fine. What is most important is you have to make sure people can care for the land if it's given to them,' Sullivan said.
The city would like to see any gardens tailored to the needs of individual communities, she said. 'Some want a landscaped English garden or a community vegetable garden,' she said.