Saturday, May 14, 2011


It’s the 2011 BIG DIG GIG
a Plant Swap and More
at the Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Avenue
 Chicago, IL 60615

Celebrate and be a part of the GRAND PLANTING of the Hyde Park Art Center’s garden and the GRAND OPENING of General Economy, Exquisite Exchange (GEEE): a post-retail shop, rooftop tomato garden and seed library.

Potluck Barbeque: Friday, May 20, 3 -7pm
(If you don't have anything to bring, please just come and share our abundance)

Garden Party: Saturday, May 21, 10am – 2pm

See what plants can do! Visit our post-retail shop where neighborly trade is the operative currency. A wide variety of heirloom tomatoes, herbs, succulents and perennials will be available for sale at neighborly low prices or exchange.

Become part of Hyde Park Art Center’s living future! After you dig up your yard for spring maintenance, donate the surplus plants to establish a vital HPAC garden. Or, exchange plants, home-made gifts, re-giftables, gardening books and cookbooks, recipes, or any other thing you’d be willing to share with a neighbor.

Check out our Rooftop Tomato Garden.
Borrow free seeds from the GEEE Seed Library.
See how local abundance supports an open economy.

Special thanks to the Rebuilding Exchange and Seeds of Change.

If you have questions or plants to swap or donate please contact
want more info? check out the GEEE blog at:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Plants Currently at G.E.E.E.

This is a rare scented geranium that also flowers.



Shrimp Plant

Fig Tree

Fuchsia Blossoms right before they bloom

Fuchsia Bloom


A jungle of Heirloom Tomatoes

The G.E.E.E. Honor System

If no staff is available at G.E.E.E., trades can be made through an honor system. Traded items can be left on the Exchange Table or cash can be deposited into our Piggy Bank.

Seed Library

As part of the Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project, G.E.E.E. is the recipient of what is estimated to be 2500 seeds. With these G.E.E.E. is opting to begin Chicago's first Seed Library for the purpose of developing higher quality plants with higher yields that are regionally adapted. Participants check out seeds, grow the plants, and return seeds from the healthiest plants.


There are 61 varieties of seeds to be checked out from herbs and medicinals to vegetables and flowers. If you leave a note or contact us at, we'll be happy to send you seeds through the mail.

Recent Trades

Seville Orange Marmalade and Green Tomato Chutney

Jacob's Ladder

Various Plants from a Neighbor's Yard

Handmade Drinking Glasses

Plants Arrive and G.E.E.E. is Ready to Trade

Green Roof System Exchange

Part of our trade with the Rebuilding Exchange was facilitating the donation of a green roof system from HPAC to the RX. The system was installed for the opening of the art center's new building 5 years ago. Either maintenance was required that they were not prepared for or the plants were mis-selected for the partially-shaded roof.

The Rebuilding Exchange is the ideal organization to find the system a home. They are entrenched in Chicago's green building community. With planning, the system could be installed on a green building, potentially attaining points for the USGBC's popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The 3 guys loaded about 650 square feet of the grid system onto dollies by hand, and then loaded them into the elevator and out the door to the truck. The process took about 4 hours.

Fun For All Day at HPAC

About 50 kids and parents stopped by G.E.E.E. during HPAC's Fun For All day.

We demonstrated how seeding pots could be made from rolled newspaper, then planted pansy and marigold seeds.

We explained how our neighborly trade system worked. By sprouting and growing the flowers, they would be adding value to the seeds they's just planted. We encouraged them to bring back the flower plants and trade for other plants in the shop.

How It Works - First Attempt

Neighborly trade is very simple. Exposing this economy requires establishing a framework of common values, explicit steps and some guidelines that confirm that the trade is fair and satisfying.

The First Configuration

Trip to the Rebuilding Exchange

Meagan of the Rebuilding Exchange enthusiastically helped us select salvaged building materials to be temporarily re-purposed for our displays.

Bob, both Cream Co.'s CFO and Chief Handyman, had made a stealth reconnaissance mission to the RX the weekend before and found some window shutters that we could consider for plant shelving. In chatting up the RX staff, he revealed that he was also delivery a load of art books to Goodwill. The staff selected some of the books for their break room which has elevated the lunch conversation exponentially.

This solid wood door with crafted obscured glass caught our attention.

The hall space at HPAC has a nook that could fit a large table. The previous year, we had used a glass French door for the seed table. These arched windows showed great potential.

We were debating about creating our own G.E.E.E. currency (possibly living seedlings) requiring a "Currency Change" paired with an honor system so trades could occur while we were not there. The cabinet above with 3 glass doors promised options on how we might access plants as both a shopkeeper and participant.