The Liberty Prairie Foundation recognizes the importance of local food and sustainable food systems, yet acknowledges that it can be a challenge for many people to afford fresh vegetables when faced with other expenses. The Seedling Donation Project helps close the loop between food waste and hunger in our community by providing a means for Prairie Crossing Farmers to donate unused seedlings to food pantry gardens and other community gardening efforts. Through this project we have partnered with numerous organizations growing food for vulnerable populations to strengthen the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of our community.
Thanks to the generosity of Prairie Wind Family Farm, the Farm Business Development Center Farmers, and the Prairie Farm Corps, thousands of seeds and seedlings are donated to area gardening efforts each season to strengthen the local food system for all in our community.
Through the years, local organizations have received tens of thousands of seeds from Prairie Crossing farmers. With these seeds, groups have been able to create flourishing, successful gardens and provide food to the vulnerable populations they serve. Local organizations that have received seed and seedling donations this year are listed in the “Partners” section.
This program is multifaceted in its impact. The organizations that receive seeds and seedlings are able to introduce people in their neighborhood to the production of food, make healthy food accessible, and instill a sense of empowerment in all who are involved. The Prairie Crossing Farmers that contribute to the program also have the opportunity to contribute to the larger sustainable food movement. The number of gardens benefiting from these seeds and seedlings continues to grow and as it does the impact of the Seedling Donation Project magnifies. Click here to read about how Green Town Waukegan utilizes the plants obtained through our seedling donation program to feed people in their community.
In 2014 the Seedling Donation Project ran from the end of April until the end of June. In that time over 9,000 seedlings were donated by the Prairie Crossing Farmers. The vast majority of these seedlings found homes in food pantry gardens and at other programs dedicated to providing healthy food to those with limited access to fresh vegetables.
The Chapel Mundelein CARE Garden for instance received over a hundred different seedlings from the Seedling Donation Project and has been able to harvest over 1,000 pounds of produce so far this season. All of this produce is distributed to those in need at The Chapel’s Community Care Program in Grayslake, IL. This project has provided the the garden in Mundelein with seedlings, alleviating financial barriers, given fresh, healthy food to those without access, and has sparked an interest in sustainable agriculture amongst people of all ages and backgrounds.
Another partner in the Seedling Donation Project, GreenTOWN Waukegan, recently shared, “The success of GreenTOWN Waukegan is in part due to the generosity of the Liberty Prairie Foundation and the program they have with the many local farmers. Because of this program, I do not need to spend time calling nurseries asking for free plants.” As a result of the seedling donation project GreenTown Waukegan has been able to focus its energy elsewhere, including building an aquaponic hoop house.
The Holy Family Food Pantry garden has turned gardening into a project for the entire community. The garden, which includes a number of seedlings from the Seedling Donation Project, hosts work days when the food pantry is open and produces fresh produce for those involved.
In 2014 the Liberty Prairie Foundation facilitated seedling donations to the following organizations:
Please Contact Us if your organization would like to be added to the seedling donation email list. If you would like to lend your gardening expertise and volunteer time to these community gardening projects, please contact these organizations directly.