The Denzel Thornton Memorial Garden

When Whole Foods announced it would close the Englewood store in the Chicago area, Kenneth Griffin, a police officer and founder of No Matter What, decided to do something about it.
He took over a vacant lot at 6505 S. Bishop St, and with no experience in gardening, he gathered area teens and police officers to build a thriving community garden. Through the help of the Chicago fund for safe and peaceful communities, this past summer, a group of students and officers built the garden, planting plenty of vegetables and herbs.

The Denzel Thornton Memorial Garden, named after Griffin’s friend and fellow Culinary Futures alum who was fatally shot in 2016, is no replacement for Whole Foods, but Griffin thought it was a good way to teach youth to advocate for their future. Through his efforts in establishing the garden, he wants to ensure the kids know how to grow their own produce and to help build connections within the community.

In addition to the garden, Griffin is hopeful that he will gain ownership of the building next to the garden to create a pot-to-plate program where the youth of the community can cook and gather for meals.

Building garden
Maintaining garden