Peterson Garden Project to Receive $10,000 Grant from Les Dames d’Escoffier Green Tables Initiative

The Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women leaders in the culinary and hospitality industries, is pleased to announce the Peterson Garden Project as the recipient of its 2018 Green Tables Grant. A check for $10,000 was presented on Wed., May 16, at The Broadway Armory, at 5916 N. Broadway, 2ndfloor, at the Community Cooking School.

Peterson Garden Project is Chicago’s award winning and nationally known community food gardening and education program. Founded by LaManda Joy in 2010, PGP got its start by transforming a vacant lot (the site of an original WW2 Victory Garden) on Chicago’s North Side into a community food garden with the goal of recruiting, educating and inspiring everyone to grow their own food.

Today, Peterson Garden Project has seven Pop-up Victory (community) gardens in the city, plus an Edible Treasures Garden at The Field Museum and a Community Cooking School at the Chicago Park District’s Broadway Armory to help people learn how to cook with the bounty from their gardens. It is the only organization of its kind in the U.S. and has grown exponentially every year since its founding. More than 4,000 people in Chicago garden, volunteer and learn each year with Peterson Garden Project.

“This grant, and the support from LD, means a lot to Peterson Garden Project,” said LaManda Joy. “It will help support our free programs for kids, seniors and refugees empowering them to feed themselves and their families in a healthy and sustainable way.”

Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Green Tables Initiative was founded in 2006 to support healthful, equitable and sustainable food systems. The Chicago chapter has supported a diverse array of local programs to-date, including The Greater Chicago Food Depository, McCormick Girls & Boys Club, Chicago Green City Market, Inspiration Café.

“We are so pleased to present this grant to Peterson Garden Proiect,” said Mary Reidy McMahon, Chair of the Les Dames d’Escoffier Green Tables Committee. “PGP has made food gardening and gardening education available to a huge cross-section of our community and we share their passion for making fresh, healthy food more available to more people.


  • Mary Reidy McMahon, past president of Les Dames d’Escoffier and chair of the Green Tables Committee, will present a giant check to LaManda Joy, founder of the PGP.
  • Guests will partake in a spice-blending class at the PGP Community Cooking School

Les Dames d’Escoffier International has more than 2,300 members in 40 chapters in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and United Kingdom, reflecting the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality. The organization is named after Auguste Escoffier, one of the most famous French chefs, who revolutionized and modernized French cooking and the restaurant industry. The Chicago chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier has 125 members and was established in 1982.

For more information, contact Liz Barrett,, (312) 446-6945.

Check out photos from the event on the LDEI Chicago Facebook page!



Leave a Reply