We support the transformation of vacant lots into gardens, habitat, and pocket parks for neighborhood health, vitality, and enjoyment.
Vacant lots affect neighborhood stability and pride. They cost communities to maintain, become unsafe dumping grounds, demoralize the neighborhood, and ultimately discourage investment. Studies have shown that cleaning up and reusing vacant lots can positively impact the neighborhood’s vibrancy and vitality of the greater community.
How We Help
HeartLands Conservancy provides support for gardens and vacant lot transformations with environmental benefits in the following ways:
- We partner with people in the community and work with the city, village, or public agency to lease or acquire the land long-term for use by the community.
- We can develop plans for the property in partnership with surrounding neighbors and organization(s).
- We provide liability insurance and manage paperwork associated with these properties.
- We have a tool library for LoL participants to borrow and share with other LoL participants.
- We sometimes fiscally sponsor an organized group that needs to use our nonprofit status to accept donations and grants for capital improvements.
- We can connect LoL groups with technical experts in vegetable gardening, horticulture, biodiversity, conservation, and other topics.
- We also provide scholarships for LoL lead stewards to participate in the University of Illinois Master Gardener program.
- On rare occasions, HeartLands Conservancy will undertake lot transformation and maintenance by our staff.
HeartLands Conservancy can also accept donated land for enrollment in the Lots of Love program. Before we agree to acquire, accept, or lease land, we make sure that:
- It provides a public benefit;
- It meets the terms of our insurance and risk policies;
- It will be maintained long-term by the site steward or organized group; and
- The surrounding neighbors have been consulted on the use of and plans for the property.
Coming Soon: Lots of Love application