Persistence

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“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
― Calvin Coolidge

It took a lot more than unicorn magic to make this public hearing a reality! David Brown, Level Architects, Nicole Montgomery, lots of attorneys, experts, and civil servants from Evanston… so many smart and passionate people have brought City Grange to this point. April 18 is going to be an exciting day!

LaManda JoyPersistence
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Next stop… Woodlawn

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When I wrote Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook it was meant to be a guide for other organizations wanting to make change through the revolutionary act of growing food together. I have the same dream for City Grange… that what we will do can be a template that supports and fast-tracks jobs, education and change using the garden industry to facilitate it. My mother always says “be careful what you wish for”… last Friday I finally got to meet my “sister in arms” – or maybe I should say my “shovel sister” –  naomi davis with Blacks in Green. She has a similar dream for her project in Woodlawn… the ball is rolling! 

LaManda JoyNext stop… Woodlawn
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The pieces fall together…

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More on-site meetings last week talking about easements, grading and the big, fabulous organic demo garden we’re going to have thanks to a beautification lease with Union Pacific (fingers crossed)!

As my developer friend, David Brown, says… “this is the perfect example of public/private/nonprofit partnership.” I agree!

Working with Union Pacific on this beautification lease means City Grange will have a (really) big demo garden to demonstrate organic gardening techniques, be a place for community to gather and a safe spot for pollinators and wildlife.

LaManda JoyThe pieces fall together…
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Incredible Week

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This has been a great week… from discussions with partners on inclusion/business culture, meetings with funders and getting closer to the final/final space plan with the design/architecture/development team (and superstar David Brown.) I’m blown away by the amazing people in this world and very thankful we’re a team to make this vision a reality. 

LaManda JoyIncredible Week
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Oh, the smart, smart people!

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One of the greatest things I’ve learned over the past decade working in the garden world, with Peterson Garden Project and making my City Grange vision a reality is how amazing people are. I’ve asked for a LOT of advice along the way and find most people are kind, enthusiastic and willing to share what they know. Here you see my friend Maribeth working some “retail flow magic” on the newest proposed floor plan for our building. I couldn’t get this project off the ground without her and many, many other amazing friends, consultants and true believers… And I’m so excited about the friends and collaborators I haven’t met yet! #socialenterprise

LaManda JoyOh, the smart, smart people!
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Community Process

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Full house last night at the community meeting for the development where my new business, City Grange, will be 1st floor anchor tenant! From all accounts, it was “the best community dialogue on a proposed development EVER” – so that’s a good sign! Always happy to be in front of a crowd with the amazing David Brown from Harrington Brown LLC! Also thankful for all my supporters who showed up including garden industry expert and Peterson Garden Project board member Tony Abruscato from Chicago Flower & Garden Show who you can see taking photos in the corner. Obviously this was before I got up to do my tap dance… Learning so much about this real estate process! It is fascinating. And, as I’ve learned through my years with PGP, the power of community is awe inspiring. Plenty more community meetings to come if you want to join the fun! 

LaManda JoyCommunity Process
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Social Impact Investing

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Found a lot of inspiration yesterday at the Slow Money Institute #SOIL17 event. As a woman entrepreneur looking for capital in the urban ag space, it provided a lot of great ideas and a sense of community. The panel on MONEY was also well balanced with women and men. I hope to make some connections to move my (awesome) project forward with funders who get the entire picture and understand shared risk.

LaManda JoySocial Impact Investing
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