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Photo of a GardenWorks volunteer helping a Head Start family plant their garden District 2 and the GardenWorks Project partner to build vegetable gardens for Head Start families at Tioga.

This spring, Bensenville School District 2, Metropolitan Family Services, and the GardenWorks Project worked together to build 15 food gardens for families of Head Start students attending the Bensenville Early Learning Center at Tioga School.

A local non-profit organization founded in 2012, the GardenWorks Project aims to increase access to fresh, organic vegetables in west suburban Chicagoland by providing families in need with the resources to grow their own food.

The new 4-foot by 8-foot raised garden plots were built in mid May by GardenWorks Project volunteers. GardenWorks volunteers then returned to Tioga on May 21 to help plant the new gardens alongside the Head Start families. The volunteers also taught the Head Start families how to maintain the plants throughout the summer and harvest the vegetables as they ripen, and they even provided the families with a nutrition curriculum that follows their gardens' seasonal harvest schedules.

“Children facing food insecurity are much more likely to face chronic health conditions in the future," said Jeannie Iseman, The GardenWorks Project’s Executive Director. "Our hope is that these gardens serve as a vehicle towards empowerment, education, and health promotion.” 

More than 100 of these food gardens have been installed for food-insecure families by The GardenWorks Project this spring. All families referred to the organization come from the GardenWorks Project's 45 food assistance partners within the western Chicagoland region.