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everyone deserves fresh produce

I Can Grow Vegetables! A Coloring and Activity Book

Tending to a vegetable garden is a great way to teach kids how plants grow and where food comes from. And we are convinced that kids will be more adventurous with new foods at the dinner table if they had a part in growing the food. Even though we can't get kids out into the garden just yet (at least not here in Chicago), we can start teaching them to grow food. 

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36 Hours Left in 2013 Fundraising Campaign!

There are only 36 hours left in our GardenWorks 2013 fundraising campaign. That means you only have 36 hours to become one of our founding supporters and get some great GardenWorks perks!

Yes, with your help, we have reached our goal of $2000. We WILL build ten gardens for ten new families this May, and refresh the gardens we built last year. But we are not stopping there! In these last few hours, we are trying to reach $2500 to build two more gardens, and to provide for some education and outreach. 

You still have a chance to be part of a grassroots effort to help families in need grow their own food. Visit our indiegogo fundraising page, watch the video, and choose to make a difference!

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We Did It!

Thanks to the help of our amazing founding supporters, we have met our 2013 fundraising goal! We are thrilled to be able to build ten gardens to ten families, supplying them with a raised bed garden, soil, compost, plants, seeds, and garden tools. We will also refresh our gardens from last year with fresh compost, plants, and seeds. All of our families will receive garden coaching throughout the season to help ensure a bountiful harvest. And we could not do this without your help. Thank you!!!

Our indiegogo campaign is still live for another 11 days, so we are trying to raise another $500 to provide instructional gardening books to our families, do some project outreach, and possibly build another two gardens. If you have not had a chance to donate, there is still time to do so, and get great GardenWorks perks!

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Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign, Now Live!

The GardenWorks fundraising campaign is now LIVE on Indiegogo! Please hop over there and take a look to see how you can make a difference in the life of a needy family by helping them grow their own food. Check out the perks, available for each contribution level!

Click here -----> GardenWorks fundraising page on Indiegogo

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New Look!

Hey, look up! Did you notice our new logo? It was designed by my friend Katie. She's a friend of a friend who has done some design work for me in the past, and I am always impressed by her work and how she can take what I'm thinking and create an image that gets the message across.


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2013 Partners

We are so happy to announce that we have made some exciting partnerships for the 2013 season. For the second year, the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry will help us identify needy families who are interested in growing their own food. We will also be working with People's Resource Centerand Bridge Communities clients! We are so thankful for the staff at these three organizations for taking the time to meet with us and plan for next year.

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Message from Tanya Denckla Cobb

You may remember from my first post that I attribute the idea for starting the GardenWorks project to Tanya Denckla Cobb's book, Reclaiming Our Food. A few months ago, I wrote Ms. Cobb to let her know how inspired I was by the stories of grassroots change in food production and distribution, and she quickly wrote back to thank me. Recently, she wrote about my note on her blog: 

It’s a rare privilege for a writer to learn that a book has changed someone’s life. Over the years, I’ve received everything from profuse thanks to cranky complaints about my books. Most anyone who takes the time to write an author is usually doing it because they were moved in some way.

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GOAL-SETTING, FUNDRAISING, AND BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS, OH MY!

Things have been quiet with the GardenWorks project, but we are ramping up for a big 2013! Goal-setting, fundraising, and building partnerships are happening behind the scenes, and I'm excited to share new information about next year.

Perhaps the most important news is that I have some great volunteers lined up for the 2013 growing season. A new friend with a strong interest in vegetable gardening and passion for the cause has teamed up with me to plan for next year, and volunteers from last year have agreed to help us again. One of the recipients of a garden earlier this year promised to help build next year, which was incredibly rewarding to hear. I've also met some new friends since my little one started kindergarten who are ready to dig in. And, my daughter's Daisy troop will be building a garden as a service project in the spring! It's exciting and humbling to have so many people interested in helping others in our community through this project. 

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GardenWorks by the Numbers: 2012 Recap

Four gardens built. Eighty bags of soil and compost. Thirty vegetable seedlings planted. Seven adults and seventeen children that will benefit from fresh vegetables this year. A bunch of volunteers and donors. One family changed. 

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One Done, Three to Go!

Wait, one done, three to go? Didn't we say we were installing gardens for five needy families? That was our original goal, but we are having no success reaching one of our garden recipients, and it's too late in the season to add another. I hope we hear from our last family in the next few days!

We've been hard at work planning and installing our gardens. We've completed one for a family in Lombard already, and by the end of the week, another Lombard family and two in Glendale Heights will be on their way to growing their own food. I've really enjoyed meeting these families, who have been so excited and thankful to receive the gardens. I'll have another update after I've had some time to reflect on the project and what it has meant to us as a family, and get my thoughts together on future plants. I also hope to share some pictures of the garden builds once they are all complete. 

Special thanks to a wonderful donation of HUGE tomato and pepper starts from
one of my former horticulture classmates, Donna Hisson. Extra plants will be
donated to the food pantry.
Joe and our little guy building a raised bed.
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May Thanks

Things are rolling along with our project to help five needy families grow their own food. I've met with four families so far, and they are such wonderful people. I am really delighted to have met them and help them grow fresh veggies this summer. The next step is to start building the gardens, which we will begin this week. Thanks to those that are volunteering to help!

Special thanks also to Britny King, who generously donated five copies of Square Foot Gardening to our five families. These instructional books, along with help from a volunteer mentor, will ensure that our families are successful in their first year. Thanks also to Donna Hisson, who is growing tomatoes and peppers from seed for our families, Cathy DiMarchi for tomato cages, and to Home Depot of Carol Stream who donated a gift card that will be used for wood and other supplies. Many thanks to you all!

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Big News!

I received word last week that the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry, who we had been working with to identify families in need to receive gardens, had done just that! They met with four families who are very excited to start growing their own food. Terri, GEFP staff, told me how thankful the four are, one of which said that getting the opportunity to garden for her family is "a dream come true." I was so emotional listening to Terri talk about each of the families, and can't wait to meet with them.


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