SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help the Illinois Department of Agriculture mark the inaugural year of the Illinois State Fairgrounds Community Garden, Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed this week, April 13th-17th, Community Garden Week in Illinois.
“Community gardens produce nutritionally rich and culturally specific foods that may otherwise be unavailable to some residents, providing access to healthy food and reducing family food budgets. Community gardens also provide a catalyst for neighborhood and community development,” Governor Pat Quinn stated in the proclamation.
“This garden will be a place for area residents to share their passion and learn from each other,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “We hope this garden will create educational and mentoring opportunities, and be an example for other communities that want to start their own gardens.”
The garden, which is located on the infield of the Illinois State Fair Grandstand track, will offer more than just a place for local residents to display their green thumbs. It also will serve as a way for the community to give back to those less fortunate.
“The Department of Agriculture is growing food in our plots for the Plant a Row for the Hungry Program. This program will take fresh produce grown in the garden and distribute it to the Central Illinois Foodbank, giving those in need a chance to take home fresh, locally-grown produce. We encourage everyone who takes part in this garden to participate by planting a few extra plants to donate to this worthy cause,” Jennings concluded.
If you are interested in participating in the State Fairgrounds Community Garden, plots can be leased for $10 each, with a limit of two. If you would like more information please contact Kristi Kenney at 782-0777, or visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture website at www.agr.state.il.us