Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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A volunteer tends one of LSTC's new raised garden beds outside student/faculty housing.


Features: Raising Our Gardens at LSTC

by Jim Schaal

Thanks to a generous grant and hardworking crews from Greencorps Chicago, there are now sixteen new raised garden beds in two LSTC housing courtyards and the Conference Center yard. They are built of durable red cedar and filled with high-quality soil mix. 

Together with eight existing surface garden beds, the sixteen new beds greatly increase the seminary’s capacity for urban gardening and sustainable local food production—not to mention the delight of fresh tomatoes on the table!

Jim Schaal, who coordinated the project on behalf of LSTC, commented: “The word ‘seminary’ springs from the same Latin root as ‘seed.’  We are grateful to Greencorps Chicago for helping us to plant seeds for community gardening and environmental education, and we look forward to a fruitful partnership in seasons to come.” 

Schaal also thanked community members who helped with planning, hospitality, and installation: Bob Berridge, Paul Knutson, and the LSTC Green Zone and LSTC Housing teams; Gerry Hubbarth and the LSTC Refectory team;  and Laura Briney, Kaila Hochhalter, Bekki Lorhmann, Travis Meier, and Mike Slowiak.   

To help plant the vegetable gardens, LSTC Green Zone students gave away seedlings started at an interfaith garden event sponsored by LSTC’s Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice.  LSTC community members who use the new raised garden beds have been asked to refrain from using herbicides or pesticides. 

Last year, Greencorps helped LSTC create a new ornamental garden, inspired by the design of the stained glass in Augustana Chapel and planted with native perennials; that garden, recently enriched with compost produced in LSTC’s housing courtyards, is thriving.

Greencorps Chicago is a community gardening and green industry job training program operated by the City of Chicago’s Department of the Environment in partnership with WRD Environmental.  Its mission is to promote environmental stewardship and improve the quality of life by establishing natural spaces that are safe, healthy and sustainable through hands-on involvement with trainees and community partners. They do this by creating awareness, building commitment, developing expertise and providing the resources necessary to create community gardens and green spaces. 

To learn more about Greencorps Chicago, please visit:

Page last modified Mar 24, 2016