Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
March, 2005
Regional Report

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The Field of Dreams in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is just waiting for spring plowing and planting.

Field of Dreams Community Garden

As we approach the gardening season, I wanted to let all of you know about a jewel that we have in our community. It is our Field of Dreams Community Garden. In the spirit of helping the citizens of our community lead better, happier lives, this garden was formed in 1996 in a partnership with the Moose Lodge, who donated the land for the garden.

Garden With a Mission
It's been proven time and time again that hunger and poor diet exacerbate the problems of poverty. The Field of Dreams Hunger Prevention Project is helping to give needy families and their children a healthy diet to start them on the road out of poverty. The vegetables are donated to shelters and food pantries throughout Kenosha County.

Although this garden is coordinated by the cooperative extension service, it gives me an enormous sense of pride to know that the vegetables are grown and tended almost solely by volunteers. These willing helpers spend their time tilling, planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. In past years there have been almost 300 volunteers who harvested many, many tons of fresh, healthy vegetables to be given to local food pantries.

Volunteers come in many forms, including individuals who just want to help make a difference, as well as organizations that bring groups of volunteers to help in the garden. In addition to the people who do the physical work, there are also a myriad of local businesses, churches and schools who have donated supplies and money to assist in running the garden.

Working in a garden is a wonderful way to reinforce the web of life, and working to help others reinforces the web of humanity, something we all need to be part of in these troubled times. Gardening naturally gives hope, eager anticipation for the first harvests, and a grounded connection with the basics of life.

Plant Extra and Give it Away
Another way to participate in helping those who may not have as much as you is to share your own vegetables. The Garden Writers of America sponsors a program that for several years has grown by leaps and bounds all across the country. Plant a Row for the Hungry is a call to help those less fortunate than we are by sharing vegetables from our own gardens with soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food banks.

You can take part by dropping off any extras that you cannot use from your garden. Once you have an abundance of vegetables or fruits to donate, call a church, shelter, or food pantry to ask if they can use it. If they cannot, call someone else until you find an organization that can.

It takes planning to harvest on time and get the extra produce to the proper organizations, but it's an incredible help for those who don't have access to vegetables. Think about what a wonderful, healthful boost your vegetables will be to someone who doesn't get them often.

So, besides planting a little extra in our own gardens to share, let's all see if we can give some time to our local community gardens. I know my family and I will be there!

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