Lawrence M. Walsh
JOLIET – Another garden in the We WILL Grow School and Community Garden Program was dedicated on Saturday, July 27, at All Nations Church of God in Christ, 503 S. Water St. The garden is one of 24 community gardens in the Will County program.
“We are proud to partner with community organizations to start these gardens which provide fresh fruits and vegetables for our residents,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “This children’s garden fulfills the vision of Deacon Bates to bring the incredible project to life.”
Deacon Carleton Bates and his wife, Tempie, wanted to build a children’s learning and sensory garden on the church site. The church has been a participant in the We WILL Grow program for three years and has provided fresh produce for local residents. The children’s garden is named Eden’s Garden and was built to honor Bishop Robert S. Sanders who passed away on July 1.
The professionally designed garden will serve as an outdoor classroom space for the congregation and the neighborhood. Residents are also able to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables grown at the church through the food pantry.
Tempie Bates explained how excited the children are to help with the garden and eat what is raised. At this year’s Bible camp, 72 children ate chard that was grown on the church grounds.
Will County has helped to fund community gardens in 11 locations to grow fresh food for residents and three learning gardens for school children and memory care patients. The county has also funded 10 backyard gardens in the Senior WILL Grow program.
The We WILL Grow program has been successful bringing healthy, fresh produce to neighborhoods across Will County that do not have convenient access to traditional grocery stores.
To learn more about these programs, contact Kathy Pecora at (815) 774-7906 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.