It takes a community to grow a garden
Beets, tomatoes, and various other crops were grown as tThe Glencoe Communtiy Garden reaped its first harvest in Shelton Park.. | Photos by Julie Fabiszak~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 12:27PM
GLENCOE — With a mission to provide people in need with fresh food, volunteers have worked tirelessly to make the Glencoe Community Garden a huge success.
It all started with Temple Am Shalom celebrating its 40th anniversary and wanting to do something to give back to the community on a long-term basis. The temple donated the start-up funds to get the ball rolling.
“Every bit of labor has been done by the volunteers,” said Nina Schroeder, one of the residents who initiated the Community Garden.
Jim Goodman and Vivian Nitzberg are also volunteers who are instrumental in creating the organic garden, which has proven to be a community-wide service project.
At the garden, fresh vegetables are grown, including beans, broccoli, peppers, carrots, beets, squash, tomatoes, eggplant and kale. Herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and basil are also grown at the garden.
The vegetables and other items are donated to local food pantries, such as the New Trier Township pantry and soup kitchens.
“Often people in need don’t get fresh food,” said Schroeder.
Food is also donated to Just Harvest and Inspiration Café, which cook and serve meals to less fortunate people.
“We are working to reach out to the community and bring in as many volunteers as we can,” said Schroeder.
She said there are volunteers at the garden to water and harvest a few times a week.
This winter, volunteers built the cedar fence that surrounds the garden, and volunteers installed the fence in the spring. They also worked together to build a shed that is in the shape of a barn.
“Everything was done by hand,” said Schroeder, “by volunteers.”
“It’s one of the nicest things I’ve ever done,” said Goodman. “We live in an area where we are very fortunate.”
Goodman said he didn’t know too much about gardening, but he is enjoying learning and helping less fortunate people has been a great experience for him.
Goodman said Glencoe gave them the land to create the garden and the Park District has been very accommodating to the project as well.
Schroeder said that many local families, school children, and community members have visited the garden and volunteered their time to help make it blossom.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Schroeder said about the community garden located just west of Shelton Park along the Green Bay Trail.
The Glencoe Library has held story times at the garden and local churches, temples, and schools are invited to be involved.
Schroeder said that although they are not all active volunteers, 300 names are on their mailing list.
The garden has accessible planting areas so that individuals with disabilities can also participate in the community-wide service project.
“It truly is planting the seeds of goodness,” said Vivian Nitzberg,.
She said the goal was to do something that could have a long-term positive impact on the community and also create an environment where children can learn about gardening.
“We want community members beyond just Glencoe to be involved with the garden,” said Nitzberg.
If people are interested in becoming involved with the garden, they could send an email to email@example.com. The group’s website, www.glencoecommunitygarden.com, will be active in the near future. It also has a Facebook page that tells the story about the unique garden.