One of the priorities of The GardenWorks Project is to mobilize households and communities to grow vegetable gardens for the simple purpose of having greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
With every household that enrolls, it invites them to participate in its membership-based program, The Food Growers Network. This network is an annual membership‐based program that offers 10 educational events and additional opportunities to connect with other food growers and gardeners within the DuPage County area. The Project hosts these at the West Chicago Resource Center.
This is a program that is revenue‐generating; however, it works to include all individuals interested in food growing. Therefore, anyone who receives a home garden within the program will be eligible for a free membership. This year’s programs include workshops such as Seed Saving, Composting 101, Community Gardening, and Beekeeping.
In addition, a partnership between a local church, St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, and People Made Visible, and Healthy West Chicago, has resulted in a West Chicago Community Garden. This garden has 20 beds available for the purposes of growing vegetables and donating all proceeds to the local food pantry. This project is not only sustainable by local grassroots organizations, but also a clear use of open land for the purposes of generating local food.