2022 annual impact
growing food together
The mission of The GardenWorks Project is to promote organic suburban agriculture to improve the well-being of our community, the environment, and those facing food insecurity. We empower, educate, and support all food growers in their efforts to nourish their families and neighbors in need.
With the goal of increasing the local food systems in the region to improve food security, The GardenWorks Project collaborates with food pantries, social service agencies, and community organizations to grow fresh produce for households facing hunger.
The GardenWorks Project encourages the use of organic growing methods through education, resources, and training. Educational events are taught throughout the year, and the Suburban Agricultural Resource Center, located in West Chicago, houses many of these trainings and Food Growers Network meetings.
We believe that local growers can make a significant impact on the quality of food provided at emergency food assistance locations with a collaborative effort. We work to encourage the donation of excess harvests to local food pantries, and the use of community gardens to nourish neighbors in need. Our volunteer-based model encourages the use of all revenues for our programs and services, and we rely on the contributions of our 200+ volunteers that donate, support, and build gardens with us every year.
News & Announcements by Topic
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Little to Large Ecosystems at Educare West DuPage
Outside Educare in West DuPage, engraved at your feet, the entrance of the school reads: “When You Change a Child’s Life, You Change an Entire Community. Together We Are Changing a Country.” As you walk through their halls, the welcoming atmosphere at Educare envelopes you. The beautiful space is centered around the children's health and [...]
Celebrating Earth Day with Duly Health And Care
The GardenWorks Project, kicked off its 12th season during Earth Week, preparing vegetable garden beds for families facing food insecurity with corporate sponsor, Duly Health and Care. With sponsor support, GardenWorks is increasing access to fresh produce in west suburban Chicagoland by providing families with the resources to grow food in home and community gardens, [...]
Kicking off our 12th season
Last year, with the support of sponsors, donors, and volunteers, we grew over 15,000 pounds of produce for residents in DuPage and surrounding counties facing food insecurity. We served 2638 gardeners to provide the resources and knowledge to grow their own, nourishing food. The momentum continues as 134 garden beds are to be planted in [...]
End of Year Reflection 2022
Dear Beloved Community, 2022 was a year of change for The GardenWorks Project. As we entered another year of serving the greater DuPage county area and were still feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19; staff, board members, and volunteers wanted to see how we could further meet the needs of the community. We wanted to [...]
Tending the Garden, Nourishing the Soul
LuAnn remembers her family's garden in Melrose Park thirty five years ago, as she was often given the task of gathering ingredients for whatever her grandmother might be making. LuAnn's love for fresh produce was evident even then, as she admitted to coming back from her duties empty-handed but with a full stomach, as the [...]
A Beginner’s Guide to Composting
I’ve been known to pilfer bags of chopped leaves from the curb around the neighborhood. What - you don’t do the same? If you lament the falling leaves every fall, don’t be dismayed. Compost. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Fall is the perfect time to start a compost pile. Why? Leaves are good fodder [...]
Experiencing the World in Wheaton
It’s called the “World Community Garden”. And, the name might surprise you for being located in Wheaton. But, it fits. This community garden at the Marian Park Mercy Housing site is home to 14 gardeners from 7 countries, speaking 7 native languages and growing varieties not often found in your typical grocery store.
The GardenWorks Project began a partnership with the Marian Park community in 2017 with the installation of a 5 bed system intended to serve low income and elderly residents desiring to grow their own produce and, according to Resident Service Coordinator, Bethany Atchison, “empower and nourish bodies and souls.” “Our community has a large population of refugee families that have moved often during their first years here in the United States. It is a permanent residence with the opportunity to garden, which is often the first time since they have been at home. Gardening gives them something familiar in a very foreign country.” The program has since grown, expanding the site to 14 beds at two locations on the Mercy Housing-owned campus.
Harvest Against Hunger 2022
Every year, The GardenWorks Project holds its signature fall fundraiser, Harvest against Hunger. For the past two years, we have held the event virtually, and still had great success, selling out of tickets both years. We are delighted to celebrate this year with an in-person event at the College of DuPage! Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harvest-against-hunger-2022-tickets-387507865457 This year’s Harvest against Hunger [...]
Gardens grow life skills and healthy habits
Lori connected with The GardenWorks Project in the fall of 2020. She had heard about the organization and its gardening program through the Birth to Three Program in West Chicago, and decided to submit an application. At first, Lori’s family was approved for a GardenWorks Project balcony box, but they were excited to learn that, [...]
Grants Build on Assets to Chicago’s Food System
(Chicago, IL – July 18, 2022) The Chicago Region Food System Fund today awarded $1.52 million to 48 grantees as part of its continuing efforts to bolster Chicago’s local food system against systemic shocks like COVID-19 and ongoing economic upheaval. This round of grants prioritizes projects that further cultivate existing community assets to aid in long-term food [...]
Growing Generously in Lisle
During the 2021 growing season, Lisle Township Community Garden harvested and donated 1,100 pounds of fresh produce to The Lisle Township Food Pantry. Founded in 2012 by caring community members, the garden was planted to supplement the fresh produce offered at Lisle Township Food Pantry right next door. Community members accessing the pantry for grocery [...]
Giving DuPage Days 2022
Food security and access are at the forefront of conversations and media attention as a global food crisis threatens the health of people around the world and right here at home. At The GardenWorks Project, we are committed to our mission to empower, educate and support food growers of all levels to feed themselves and [...]
GardenWorks Project Joins Fresh Food Connect
The GardenWorks Project is launching Fresh Food Connect, a mobile app this spring to make it easier for home and community gardeners to donate a portion of their fresh grown produce to local food access organizations. Wheaton, Ill. (March 1, 2022) -- The GardenWorks Project is launching Fresh Food Connect, a mobile app this spring to [...]
Seed sharing and caring for one another
All right, I have a bit of a confession to make. Even though I have been involved with the GardenWorks Project for the past three years, as I feel strongly about fighting hunger, food security and food access, I am actually not a gardener. Blasphemous, I know, but they still seem to like me here. [...]
Favorite “CAREcrow” Chosen by Cantigny Visitors
Four participating nonprofits receive grants from Robert R. McCormick Foundation, including The GardenWorks Project. Wheaton, Ill., November 11, 2021 — Cantigny Park today announced that the “CAREcrow” display by The Gardenworks Project received the most votes in public balloting. By winning the popular vote, the organization earns an additional $1,000 grant from the Robert R. McCormick [...]