Community Gardeners

Over 74,000 people face food insecurity in DuPage County. By growing food at our homes and in community garden settings, we can increase the supply of local foods and fill our food pantries with fresh, organic produce, making healthy foods accessible to all.

We define a community garden as any place where people garden in a group setting - schools, neighborhoods, businesses. We wish to provide community gardeners with inspiration, education, and support so that you can start your gardens and maximize your harvests.


Education

Community Garden Class
On February 11, 2017 we held a How to Start a Community Garden Class at our Suburban Agriculture Resource Center (103 W. Washington St., West Chicago). About 40 attendees learned the benefits of community gardening, planning, community building, and designing the garden. We've made the class presentation and handouts available for you to download (PDF).

GardenWorks Project Suburban Agricultural Resource Center
We wish to make food gardening in the DuPage County area more accessible, and to relieve some of the barriers to local food production. The Resource Center will be the hub for area gardening education and resources. The Resource Center (103 W. Washington St., West Chicago) will be open to any individual or group in DuPage County, and there, GardenWorks will:bigstock_Digging_By_Shovel_997704.jpg

  • Provide seeds and seedlings to low-income families in our Home Gardening Program
  • Sell plants, seedlings, raised-bed garden kits, and other gardening supplies to the general public
  • Hold indoor workshops on gardening, harvesting, preparing and preserving vegetables
  • Lend gardening tools and books
  • Provide educational materials and best management practices regarding lead contamination in soils
  • Accept pre-approved donations of new or gently used gardening tools and supplies

Resource Center Open Hours
Educational events held at the Resource Center


Support
Community Garden Support Program
We want to help relieve the financial barriers to starting community gardens. In February, 2017, we opened applications for support groups who wish to start or expand their community garden in DuPage County. To be eligible, a portion of what is grown in the garden must be donated to a DuPage area food pantry. Five organizations were selected to receive:

  • 5 handmade, cedar, 4’ x 8’ x 8” raised-bed frames
  • A copy of Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook, by local expert LaManda Joy
  • GardenWorks Food Growers Network membership

We are proud to support the following organizations and their community gardens:

  • World Community Garden, Marian Park/Mercy Housing, Wheaton
  • 1871 Heritage Garden/Elmhurst College Student Organic Garden, Elmhurst
  • Madison Elementary School Learning Garden, Lombar
  • York Community Resource Center Garden, Lombard
  • College of DuPage Community Garden, Glen Ellyn

Food Growers Network Membership
We wish to form a thriving network of gardeners, who grow food not only for themselves, but for our neighbors in need. We support these gardeners through our GardenWorks Food Growers Network. For an annual $10 (home gardeners) or $20 (community gardeners) donation, we offer:

  • 40 vegetable seed packets
  • 50% off seedlings at our West Chicago Blooming Fest plant sale (May 20, 2017)
  • 15% off vegetable seedlings all season from We Grow Dreams Nursery, 1055 W. Washington St., West Chicago
  • Free seedlings when available after our spring garden installs
  • 15% off additional raised-bed garden frames available for sale at our Resource Center
  • Access to our gardening tool and book lending library
  • Access to list of grant opportunities from other sources - coming soon
  • Free attendance to all GardenWorks Project educational offerings
  • Consulting assistance with starting or expanding a community garden, and postings to our team of volunteers to help build or maintain the garden
  • A list of area pantries who will accept homegrown produce and tips on donating (i.e., harvesting, storing and transporting) - coming soon

Join the network today.


Food Growers Network on Facebook
A place for area gardeners to post questions and get answers, share events, and request volunteer help. Join now and start networking with others who love to get their hands dirty too.


Resources
Community Garden Grants
SeedMoney
Ioby
Project Orange Thumb
Home Depot Community Impact Grants
Captain Planet Foudation
Carton 2 Garden Contest
Youth Garden Grant
Farm to School Grant
Annie's Grants for Gardens
Scott's Miracle Grow GRO1000 Grant
The Kitchen Community's Learning Garden
Lowe's Toolbox for Education
Seeds of Change Grant
Whole Kids Extended Learning Garden Grant
Whole Kids School Gardens Grant
Green Thumb Challenge Grant
USDA Farm to School Grant Program
Katie's Krops
Jamba Juice Garden Grant Program

Donations Needed

Do you have used tools and other garden supplies you'd like to donate? View our Wish List and donate any time during our Resource Center open hours (TBA).

We are always in need of monetary donations to support our work. Please consider making a one-time or recurring monthly tax-deductible donation.

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