Planting season is now in full swing in the Chicago area, but CHIditarod Grant Awardees have been hard at work all year long, bringing children outdoors and helping them learn about nature, planting and where food comes from. Gardeneers received $5,000 in our 2015 Grant Cycle and has been able to provide garden programs for more than 1,000 students. Gardeneers is unique, as they are the only organization in Chicago that provides full-service school garden support. This means when a school does not have the time or resources to maintain a gardening program, they will go in and make sure the garden is sustainable and will be successful.
Thanks to all the donations to the CHIditarod Foundation, Gardeneers has been able to continue their work. Adam Zmick, Executive Director and Co-founder of the program, is excited to be able to continue and expand, as the next generation of gardeners discover a love for agriculture.
“We teach students about nutrition, community, and the environment through hands-on lessons in the garden. Our garden educators go to schools across Chicago, focused mainly in food desert neighborhoods, to lead garden programs. The program costs about $200 per student for the year, so 25 students got to participate in growing their own food all year because of your generous support”
Children have learned how to building trellises, learning group work with this team building activity! Soon these teepees will be covered with peas and beans, in communities that lack easy access to fresh produce. Younger students participate in activities like “Insect Bingo” learning about the different creatures that make a garden grow, and play an important role in the soil. They also work with pre-school gardeners teaching about the life cycle of tomatoes from seed to plate! These tiny tots get to taste test with locally grown, hydroponic tomatoes, and love the taste from produce brings.
Gardeneers has been a wonderful partner to support and has made a positive impact on the future of Chicago, and local community gardens.