Gardening with Purpose

Giving Garden 3I confess that my gardening experience is more limited than I would like, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m a huge fan of those talents. Gardening is a great hobby with an unmistakable benefit for those who take it on: food with flavor. Produce straight from the garden has a magic for kids, too. They might even want to try that pepper!

That’s why I’m so impressed with the green-thumbers who plan and manage the Giving Garden behind the Mondelez plant on Ogden Ave. The Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension have been watching over the garden since 2010, and the results have been amazing. From radishes, tomatoes, and basil to the peppers, green beans and lettuce, we’ve seen a beautiful harvest. Did I mention that all the produce from this garden is donated directly to Loaves & Fishes and passed along to our community families in need? Last year, that donation included over 600 pounds of fresh organic produce of all kinds. Bring it on!

Giving Garden 2015I love how Sue Schlesinger shares her expertise and the latest gardening tips with those who are interested. It has been an education for me and for many of the visitors at Loaves & Fishes. Who knew that sweet potato greens are the latest “thing” in the veggie world? I’m just getting used to kale myself. And not only that, the Master Gardeners are growing these sweet potatoes in containers, so those of us with limited acreage have very few excuses. Take a look at this information on the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sweet potatoes from Sue. If you weren’t interested before, you should be now!

What does this fantastic food mean to someone who might be coming to Loaves & Fishes? It means that “I can give my family healthy food choices, even foods that I normally wouldn’t have been able to buy when I was working.” It means that “I don’t have to worry about dealing with my health issues every day.” It means “I can teach my kids about healthy foods.”

Giving Garden Sweet PotatoSometimes it means everything. Hope you have a great time growing your own summer fun.

Jane Macdonald
Associate Director of Community Health

Read more about Sue and the Giving Garden by clicking here!