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Glancer Magazine

TO GIVE TO INSPIRE | The GardenWorks Project


WHEATON–One of the best parts of summer is picking my own fresh vegetables from my garden and using them in my family meals. They are packed with nutrients, they taste better, and they are pretty easy to grow providing you can keep those pesky rabbits from nibbling. It was these great benefits of gardening that inspired The GardenWorks Project, a 501c3 out of Wheaton, to create an organization that would help build gardens to empower food insecure families in the western suburbs to grow food for themselves.

Since 2012, The GardenWorks Project has provided home gardens to over 700 households that frequently rely on food pantry services. When a household is enrolled in the program, a team of volunteers will install a 4’x8’ cedar raised garden bed with organic soil, compost, seedlings, and seeds to grow a garden that has the potential to produce over 100 pounds of fresh vegetables during the growing season. Their work also extends into the community by working with garden clubs and civic organizations to provide community-based projects to increase food availability for food pantries. “We believe everyone deserves fresh produce, and we believe everyone can play a role in improving the local food system,” says Jeannie Iseman, Executive Director for The GardenWorks Project.

Last spring, GardenWorks launched its partnership with Fresh Food Connect, a mobile app, to make it easier for home and community gardeners to donate a portion of their fresh-grown produce to local food access organizations. Gardeners from Kane and DuPage County who download the app will be able to describe their donation and select a drop-off location and time to donate their excess produce. “It’s a neighbors-helping-neighbors based approach,” says Iseman. “We can collaborate more easily with local growers to decrease food waste and redirect excess to those who need it most.”

GardenWorks began and continues to exist on a volunteer-run model. They offer many volunteer opportunities throughout the year to help with building gardens, as well as providing education and hands-on training to community members. Financial contributions are always welcome, and they directly impact families in your community. If you own a garden, sign-up for Fresh Food Connect to easily donate your excess produce to local food pantries. GardenWorks also runs two seedling sales every year selling high-quality vegetable and herb seedlings. Their next sale is on August 6th in Wheaton.

For more information about The GardenWorks Project and getting involved in their program, visit:


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