The GardenWorks Project, People Made Visible, and Healthy West Chicago have partnered to increase the accessibility of locally-grown produce to families facing food insecurity in the DuPage County area. People Made Visible, who operates a cultural center at 103 W. Washington St. in West Chicago, has made space available for The GardenWorks Project to open their Suburban Agriculture Resource Center.
The Resource Center, which will officially open in March, 2017, will be a hub for area food gardening education and supplies. People Made Visible is also sharing community garden space at 401 W. Washington which The GardenWorks Project will use for demonstration gardens and hands-on vegetable gardening instruction. These new additions will enhance the People Made Visible community garden that they have run since 2010 in collaboration with St. Michael’s United Church of Christ.
The partnership will allow all three organizations to further their missions for the benefit of the communities they serve and the 74,000 food insecure in DuPage County. Since 2012, The GardenWorks Project has built 132 home vegetable gardens for families in need of food pantry assistance in the west suburbs. Because of this partnership, GardenWorks can initiate new programs that support all gardeners in their efforts to grow food for themselves and their neighbors in need. Supporting these programs furthers People Made Visible’s mission to facilitate community while fulfilling the artistic, social, educational and cultural needs of the community; and Healthy West Chicago’s mission to increase physical activity and healthy eating in the City of West Chicago.
At The GardenWorks Project Suburban Agriculture Resource Center, DuPage area gardeners can access vegetable seeds, seedlings, raised-bed gardening kits, and a tool and garden book lending library. Educational classes on topics including vegetable gardening basics, community gardening, and composting will also be available at the Resource Center and Demonstration Garden.
“We are grateful to both People Made Visible and Healthy West Chicago for making our new programs possible that will increase the supply of local foods in our communities. Until now, we did not have a physical location to call our own,” said Tina Koral, Executive Director of The GardenWorks Project. “We look forward to increasing the number of home and community gardens in West Chicago and all of DuPage County as a result of this partnership.”
Healthy West Chicago Director, Andi Cooper, shared, “we are enthused to bring this partnership to West Chicago. To date Gardenworks has built 24 raised-bed gardens within our community, which we hope will surpass 100 in the near future. The edible garden-related learning opportunities and support will be one-of-a-kind.”
“GardenWorks is a great addition to the collaborative work we have been doing to bring dynamic programming and resources to West Chicago,” said Sara Phalen, co-founder and Board President of People Made Visible. “When we founded our organization, sustainability was one of our key values and the marriage of art, culture and access to healthy food sources is a great way to combine things that improve our community’s quality of life in all aspects.”
At this time, The GardenWorks Project is looking to the community for donations of new or gently used gardening tools and supplies to lend to low-income families who wish to grow food at home, and community gardeners. To donate, please email [email protected].
The GardenWorks Project empowers, educates, and promotes organic suburban agriculture to improve the wellbeing of our community, the environment, and families facing food insecurity. Since our founding in 2012, we have built 132 home vegetable gardens for families in need of food assistance in the DuPage County area. For more information, visit: gardenworksproject.org
Healthy West Chicago is a collaborative of community partners working to make the healthy choice the easy choice for West Chicago residents. HWC is administered through People Made Visible, a 501(c)(3). People Made Visible also manages Gallery 200, a local artist co-op, and an international artist-in-residency program. For more information, visit: peoplemadevisible.com and healthywestchicago.org