Mobile Garden sprouts on CTA train during Art on Track

So far Joe Baldwin has not been able to enough funding to put his Mobile Garden on a flatbed open CTA rail car. But for five hours Saturday, he literally planted his brainchild inside a car as part of the Art on Track installation circling the Loop.

This video by Mr. Brown Thumb shows 400 square feet of sod on seats along with annuals and perennials. It took six volunteers a couple of hours to really turn the CTA green that night. But it all had to be pulled up after the five hour trip.

See photos on Flickr.

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  • I know that the Garfield Park conservatory still has broken glass, and the urban landscape is sometimes bleak, but it is so bleak that someone has to demonstrate growing tomatillos in an L car?

    Just think what this effort would have created if it were done in an actual vacant urban lot.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, the scale of this was a lot smaller than a vacant lot, so cost comes into play. We're talking about covering just 20x20 of a lot with sod.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Plus the time to load it all into the car, and unload it, and undoubtedly to sweep out the car, unless tomorrow's passengers want to sit in dirt. Apparently not even the dirt that AJ uses to heal Peavy's shoulder.

    I don't know how big the vacant lot would have to be to get publicity, but apparently bigger than an L car. Of course, it is only the publicity that counts.

    BTW, what's he doing with all the tomatillo plants and sod when this project is over? After all, unlike Gilligan's Island, "it all had to be pulled up after the five hour trip."

  • In reply to jack:

    LOL. Peavy? I'm pretty sure that was Thornton.

  • Just stupid!
    I'm also guessing that a huge number of the "passengers" weren't actual commuters as they had SLRs with them to photograph this idiocy.
    They knew this was coming & waited for it.
    Curious we never get to see what the car number is to find out how cleaned up it was.
    Was it sent to the Linden Ave. beauty shop & if so, who paid for that?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, as I wrote, this was part of the Art on Track project, where people paid $10 to view art on eight CTA cars circling the Loop. Artists had to clean up the cars themselves.

    I just updated the post with a link to my previous Art on Track post.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I was one of the volunteers that helped decorate the garden. the whole thing was covered in plastic tarp. The cleanup was a breeze and done by the volunteers and artists who did the garden and the cart was left clean.

    The majority of the people who were on the garden were Art on Track attendees but lots of commuters experienced the garden from the inside and from the outside.

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    Kevin, thanks for the write up - always good to read your constructive comments & unsided stories about the project we're working on. Your ability to do that and engage your readers into conversation/comments is probably what has kept you writing for the past seven years, and many more to come I'm sure :)

  • In reply to Joe Baldwin:

    Joe, I was one of the people who paid to see the exhibition (and hey, guess what, I'm also a regular CTA commuter) and I loved it.

  • I love Art on Track. It is one of my most favorite events. This year, this car was the best of the bunch. Loved it. Thanks to whoever did all the work.

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    Thanks Cheryl :) I'm a winter commuter as I bike through most of the year, and maybe I'm biased, but I loved it too --

    elllveee - the event it put on by the folks at - it's their fourth year putting this great event on.

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