Sunday April 29, 2018 10:00AM. Families and friends will be breaking ground on a new Obama Legacy Garden. The All volunteer team will till and fertilizer a plot of land connected with the Naperville Park District. The crops raised this season will be donated to the Warren Sharp Community Center food pantry, located in Joliet IL.
Looking for a family project or just want to meet new friends, come out to the garden plot at 811 S West St, Naperville, IL 60540. Put your feet and hands in the soil and help us help those who can't help themselves. I promise you will go away feeling better than if you sit home and watch the news.
What began as a small pantry in 1983 at St. Raphael’s Church serving 8 families, has grown over the last 35 years into a polished grocery store serving the needs of over 18,798 individuals who are experiencing food insecurity. Over 3 million pounds of food were distributed in 2017, 60% of which was rescued from local grocery stores, 20% purchased and 20% came from community food drives.
On a recent visit early on a Friday morning, we saw a few of their 1,482 volunteers sorting and packaging assorted vegetables, stocking shelves with canned goods, showcasing fresh and frozen meats behind glass freezer doors and arranging fresh bread products on attractive open shelving.
On average, clients save approximately $365 per visit, money which can then be used to pay other bills, keeping family finances afloat!
Jane MacDonald, Director of Community Health, was very appreciative of the Obama Legacy Initiative’s Garden Project…hoping that even more groups will adopt the concept of Grow a Row, in which gardeners dedicate at least one row of their garden’s produce to local food pantries. Although Loaves and Fishes does not currently have garden space available for clients, they were impressed with our Michelle Obama Legacy Garden Initiative where all the garden produce will be donated! loaves-fishes.org
Detroit Grana, Cherokee Wax, Yellow Summer Gooseneck, Olympia Hybrid, Beefsteak, Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch and Ferry’s Best Nantes...all of them delicious! We’re talking beets, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, wax beans, spinach and more growing in the official Obama Legacy Initiative’s Naperville community garden plot! All of this bountiful produce will be grown and harvested by leaders and volunteers associated with the OLI and donated to local food pantries. Michelle Obama’s legacy--her emphasis on healthy eating and exercise, especially for America’s children—will be carried forth with this garden initiative.
To get an early start on growing, leaders of the OLI have planted their seeds in special growing medium and sprouts are now up and enjoying their sunlit windows. Soon they will be transplanted into the OLI garden. This garden’s produce will supplement the fresh produce many local pantries make available to their clients and will, hopefully, provide even greater nutritional value to their diets. The Garden Initiative seeks to link local food pantries from across the nation to one another...where they can share best practices and learn from one another. The many pantries who also host garden plots for their clients are of special interest to the OLI, inasmuch as they help to preserve this important legacy of our former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
In Douglas County, Kansas, nearly 19,000 families are at risk for hunger…hunger in this United States of America, the land of plenty! While we could expound on the reasons why such a sad anomaly occurs, we will, instead, focus on the efforts of Just Food to come to the rescue!
Founded in 2009, when $250,000 in funding from the Obama administration American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became available, Just Food now serves 100 to 200 families each day, providing nutritious, fresh, delicious food to help supplement a family’s food needs. With about $456,000 in contributions, including grants from the US Department of Agriculture, and food donations upwards of $1,380,000 over the course of a year (these figures are from 2016), Just Foodstrives to repurpose food that might otherwise be wasted. In its warehouse, large coolers contain boxes of apples, bags of lettuce, carrots, pre-packaged salads, and potatoes. In its freezer, meat and other frozen products await distribution. In a special freezer, delicious donated cakes, pies, and pastries lay waiting for a client’s special birthday treat!
During the Obama Legacy Initiative visit by President Fred Greenwood, we saw for ourselves the dedication of their volunteers, the hardworking and efficient staff, and the clean and attractive facility that houses the food pantry and gardens. Although it was too early to view the gardens planted and flourishing, we saw the many raised beds awaiting seeds, warm weather and willing hands! Stephen Elliott, Office Coordinator, indicated that clients of Just Food are invited to plant, tend and harvest for themselves the produce they grow; they are also encouraged to donate to the pantry any leftover produce they may have.
Educational activities for their clients also take place at the food bank, including those centered on preparing healthy meals for their families.
Just Food envisions a day when everyone has access to nutritious food through an efficient and sustainable acquisition and distribution network. Its special emphasis on growing one’s own food and learning how to better prepare it continues the legacy of our former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Galena, ILOn 3/4 acres of rolling hills just next to a beautiful creek, surrounded by Oak, Hickory and Walnut trees, you'll find Fred and Diane's Obama Legacy Garden.
"When we're sitting in the hot tub, we can look down upon the garden."
The garden, like most gardens, is a labor of love over the past 8 years. Diane is the green thumb, and she's grown the garden all around the house, starting in the back yard and extending along the side to the front.
"We're proud to be one of the first gardens to post the OLI GARDEN sign, back in April." says Fred.
Joliet, ILThe Warren-Sharpe Community Center is an amazing place located in South Joliet, Illinois. The force behind the success of the center is CEO and Accidental Farmer, Kay Bolden.
Through education, volunteers, and community involvement, the center accomplishes so much. The neighborhood children help to grow vegetables in their extensive garden. The children are taught about Victory Gardens, the Three-Sister technique, raised beds, and vegetables of all types.
The food helps feed children attending the after school care programs and the summer camps. The children have learned about the nutrition of the food they grow. this naturally led to learning how to enjoy eating salads and cooking. All of this hard work can be fun, especially when it's followed by cooking and eating! The gardens also provide food for a food pantry supporting 600+ people. It s an extremely busy and productive place.
If this sounds like a project Michelle Obama would love, it's true. A group of fifteen children and adults were invited to visit Michelle's vegetable gardens at the White House. What an opportunity for them! Once again, businesses from the Joliet area pitched in thanks to Kay's contacts and persistence. Off they went on a road trip which included visiting historical sites, a fun time at a water park, and a visit to the White House gardens. A book entitled Veggie Casserole: Kids Cook the Darndest Things! By Kay Bolden and the Kid in the Kitchen includes information about the trip, thank you notes to Mrs. Obama, and recipes. See their website at Warren-SharpeCommunityCenter.org.
The Obama Legacy Initiative's mission is to