Here's a video I came across today that I wanted to share immediately after I saw it. It follows the North Lawndale Greening Committee during one of their annual community garden tours and features Velma Johnson, a pioneer in greening efforts in the North Lawndale neighborhood.
What an inspiration. One of my favorite parts is Regina Cook-Glanton at the 4:14 mark talking about her childhood home that is now a garden.
It is amazing to see what this group of neighbors manage to accomplish gardening in empty lots, especially when you consider the obstacles they have to overcome. I also came across this paper [PDF] from 1999 by an anthropology intern with the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change at the Field Museum of Natural History on vacant lot gardens in this neighborhood. It is a good read and gives you a small history lesson on the neighborhood.