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.
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:
- 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
See list of upcoming events held at the Resource Center
Community Gardening 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 were 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
In 2018, after a successful pilot year, we will be continuing our Community Gardening Support Program, and will be choosing another 5 new organizations to establish or expand a community garden in their chosen area. For more information, (applications will be available starting February 1, 2018), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Garden Grants
The community gardening movement continues to grow, and The GardenWorks Project would like all groups in our region to be well-equipped with all they need to succeed. Below is a list of other grants that support the community gardening effort nation-wide:
- 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
Do you have used tools and other garden supplies you'd like to donate? View our Wish List and donate any time during our inquire about Resource Center open hours by emailing email@example.com.
We are always in need of monetary donations to support our work. Please consider making a one-time gift or recurring monthly tax-deductible donation.