The third and final part of our year in review focuses on Greentown Grows’ Madeleine Fuqua Garden. The prior posts can be found here and here.
Our year-in-review newsletter concludes by sharing exciting news concerning our large garden on Waukegan Park District property. The Madeleine Fuqua Garden has served the community, first in downtown Waukegan from 2007 to 2014, then from 2015 to now at Callahan Park (aka Waukegan BMX track). The garden was immensely productive from 2015 to 2019. During that time, it produced over 2,000 lbs annually for area food pantries and was a critical source of healthy leafy greens for many. Inactive in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, our community garden returned to life in 2022 and again provided fresh, healthy produce for food-insecure families. This program would not be possible without the generous support of the Waukegan Park District. Not only do they allow us to garden for free, but they also provide water and landscape service to keep the space nicely trimmed. They supplied us with a large pile of wood chips and hauled compost from DK Organics for free.
Revitalizing the garden was a challenging task. Our dedicated volunteers, Nick and Andreas, and their friends worked many hours cleaning out the aggressive weeds, planting, watering, and supervising harvesting. They also planted several fruit trees, a first for Greentown Grows.
Cool Learning Experience youth were back in the garden this summer, performing service learning by moving wood chips onto the pathways, planting seedlings, and harvesting for their families. Our garden educators, Linda and Nick, engaged the youth in exploring insect life, which is hands down the most exciting activity for children.
In August, volunteers from Joy! Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and Cool Learning Experience families gathered to harvest and clean up the garden beds. Thank you to everyone who participated that day to help bring our season total to 500 lbs.
Mother Nature is forceful, especially when she unleashes the power of aggressive plants (like thistle). With wooden garden frames crumbling and weeds growing faster than the ability to keep up, the decision was made to level the garden and start over. More fruit trees, metal garden frames, and heavy-duty weed barriers are part of the design for next year. The garden will be more productive, easier to maintain, and tidier in appearance with a complete redo. Durable metal frames, while ideal, are more expensive and make up a sizeable portion of the garden’s budget.
Now more than ever, we need your financial support. Until December 15th, Greentown Grows is participating in a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the garden. Please help us rebuild the garden by donating HERE. Your support ensures future years of bountiful harvests, a community served, and youth immersed in learning about plants, insects, and soil.
Please accept our thanks and gratitude for your continuing support of our mission. Building stronger communities take the sustained effort of dedicated volunteers and financial donations. We are stronger when we work together.
We wish you and your family a holiday season filled with good health, love, and peace.
The staff of Greentown Grows