The Karma Garden is a 250-bed garden at the largest detention center in the USA, located in Chicago. We will present information on how to create a collaborative community garden together with a school, university and detention center, and how to run it using restorative practices, as we have been doing for four years.
Our use of restorative practices includes listening to others, working with community and sharing personal insights. The incarcerated youth, youth development staff, Chicago Public School teachers and Master Gardeners all participate in an opening and closing circle during each work session. In the opening circle, we set our intention. In our closing circle, we give thanks or insight into our lives as it connects to the garden. In addition, we have a celebration harvest where the youth share their experiences. The youth donate their harvest to local food shelters, which brings them a sense of greater community.
We will also discuss the skills the youth learned and how we gained community buy-in.