A member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank Program, Oswego’s Pantry Garden has already served over 10,000 families in the Kendall County area who are food compromised or deprived—having to choose between food and other needs.
In addition to providing an enriching area of volunteerism and teaching “Garden to Pantry to Table” philosophies within the Oswego community, the Pantry Garden seeks to serve the greater county area through their ventures.
Dave Margolis, Natural Areas Manager for the Oswegoland Park District and founder of the Pantry Garden, began the program in 2007 with the goal of sharing his own passion for sustainable land use and teaching it to community residents. He had previously formed a food pantry program with the Schaumburg Park District and subsequently desired to bring those same services to the Oswegoland area and beyond.
“Here in Kendall County, an agricultural county, food should not be an issue, but it is,” Margolis said.
Indeed, within the county alone nearly 3,500 + children are food compromised daily, shedding light on the need for formulating steady, sustainable practices that offer local fresh produce to families in need.
Originally started with a handful of student volunteers and summer crew members, the pantry program gradually opened up to volunteers of all ages and abilities, furthering its mission to teach organic gardening practices that served a larger, regional mission.
In the same vein, the Oswego Pantry Garden practices recycling techniques, including reusing growing pots and flats to begin growing their vegetables, herbs, and flowers, using a drip irrigation system to save water, and building potting tables with lumber culled from forest clearing projects.
In a village as large as Oswego, it is heartening to know that there are programs that strive to increase a state of giving back and a strengthening of community.
If you’d like to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-554-4439. Volunteer work days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Saturday mornings.