Our Story


Why We Are

Who We Are

It started with a Yarden. A yard with a house attached to it….or, it started with an innocent New Year’s resolution to “teach 10 people to grow their own food.”….or, it started with a teenager growing up in a hippie Oregon culture who wanted to be a little more proactive in doing her part to save the world….or, it started with a young garden girl running up and down the paths of her father's garden, stunned by the colors of the beet greens, the beauty of a spider web.

But really, it started with a happy little girl comfy on the kitchen floor “helping” her mother bake chocolate chip cookies, and a mother who modeled how to “get a feel for it”, guiding her child’s passion for gardening and cooking with great, great love.

When Founder and CEO LaManda Joy moved to Chicago and realized most people hadn’t learned the transformative joy of organic gardening, she took her Greatest Generation parents advice: “If you don’t like something, change it.” And founded the highly-acclaimed nonprofit Peterson Garden Project, turning a vacant lot on Chicago's North Side into a wonderfully successful urban food garden that is now a network of gardens getting ready to celebrate it’s 10th season in the summer of 2019.

But her inspiration didn’t stop there. LaManda wanted to help even more people experience the simple, revolutionary joy of gardening. Out of that intention, the spirit  of City Grange began to reveal itself, quickly attracting an amazing team of wise, hard-working and dedicated growers of good in this world who together, brought this vision to life.