CHICAGO — Just a few blocks away from Washington Park, a vacant lot is providing the grounding force for planting seeds of hope.
Near 54th and South Prairie next to Green Line, a field of sunflowers will soon greet so many.
“I wanted to come out and be part of it to help beautify the community,” Tamara Robbins said.
Robbins was one of the many volunteers who came to help on Saturday.
Just a few weeks ago and a few blocks away, WGN News showed you a takeover of tulips at 53rd Street.
It was inspired by Ghian Foreman’s trip to Amsterdam a few years ago.
“I saw a field of tulips and just thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” Foreman said.
His Emerad South Economic Development Collaborative picked the site to plant the first sunflowers, a sign of happiness, health and hope.
“They help to remediate stormwater, they pull lead out of the soil,” Foreman said. “If you come in the morning and the sun is facing east, the sunflowers face the east and throughout the day, they shift and follow so there’s something kind of magical about it.”
The photographic flowers, the magic of nature and giving another example to those at the event to follow the light even if darkness is near.
“Violence is one of the things in the communities that we suffer from a lot,” Foreman said. “SO the thought is that if you saw this beauty in your own community, maybe you’d think twice about doing violent acts. Maybe we would do more to take care of our community, to see such beauty in our own community.
And the beauty is spreading from a lot several years ago to more than 30 others from Bronzeville to South Chicago.
“It made me smile, it made me real happy,” Nelson Johnson said.
The 67 acres of vacant land where the seeds are being sown are attracting wildlife like butterflies, bees, and other pollinators that perpetuate a healthy environment.
“Hopefully this will be something that brings people out and participate in things that are happening on our own blocks,” Robbins said.