ROCKFORD — Applications for 2021 Community Action Gardens project are now available for those interested in working with others to grow fresh, affordable food for the Winnebago and Boone County communities.
Applications are available through the City of Rockford Human Services Department, a Community Action Agency.
An array of groups are invited to apply including neighborhoods, schools, faith-based organizations or other groups interested in learning gardening skills and are willing to donate a portion of produce to those in need.
Outreach organizations that promote education and nutrition among children seniors and veterans are also encouraged to apply as are neighborhoods and other types of groups that will use their gardens as part of an effort to increase neighborhood and community vitality or unity.
The program aims to assist people in growing fresh produce that may otherwise be unavailable, especially to low-income families and individuals. Officials say it allows people to know where and how food is grown, promotes healthy lifestyles and increases community ownership and spirit.
Other benefits of community gardening include:
- Unique opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and ages to work side-by-side for common goals;
- Reduce stress and increase in a sense of wellness and belonging;
- Connecting, educating, and encourage entrepreneurial projects;
- Allowing families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce food; and
- Serving as a healthy, inexpensive activity for youth that can bring them closer to nature, teach them important job and life skills, and allow them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.
Gardens may be started in vacant neighborhood lots, church grounds and other areas throughout the city.
Applications must be submitted by noon Friday, Feb. 26.