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Will County hopes to grow school gardening project - Oct. 10, 2014

County Exec Letterhead - Tammy Reiher

Oct. 10, 2014

Will County hopes to grow school gardening project

WILL COUNTY – Will County plans to grow its school gardening project, signing up additional schools in October, National Farm to School month.

Gompers Junior High in Joliet became the County’s first school to host raised-bed gardens as part of the project in 2014.

“Not only are we looking forward to continuing the garden with Gompers for the 2015-2016 school year, we will be working on expanding participation with more teachers and classes by adding five schools,” said Kathy Pecora, Grant Assistant in the Will County Resource Recovery and Energy Division of the Land Use Division.

RRE Manager Dean Olson said, “Gompers is a model for others.”

A site inspection will be required for interested schools that includes the proximity to trees and water,  and the amount of daylight plants would get, as well as soil testing.

“We want to benefit the students and we need to have people there to take care of the garden,” Pecora said. “We will set up the gardens.” RRE will also supply the organizing.

At Gompers, the summer Life Skills class tended the garden. Students shared their bounty with classmates and Morning Star Mission.

Deborah Kane, National Director of the USDA Farm to School Program, said, “When students have positive experiences like tending a school garden, they’re more likely to make healthy choices in the cafeteria.

“We applaud the efforts of Will County school and community partners to educate students about growing foods, making healthy food choices, and sharing their harvest with those less fortunate.”

It is an effort that Pecora intends to keep tending to with devotion. She wants to plant the seeds of a Will County Community Gardening Association. “That’s my goal,” she said. “We can all help each other out.”

Interested schools should have a representative call Pecora or Olson at the Land Use Department, (815) 727- 8834.

Additional information about Land Use and its activities can be found at www.willcountygreen.com. The department is led by Director Curt Paddock and is under the County Executive’s office.

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