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Education

Collaboration between the U of I Extension and IVCC benefits school programs and food pantry clients

Shown are the plants outside the Hall Food Pantry which are ready for distribution to clients thanks to a collaborative project between IVCC and the U of I Extension.
Shown are the plants outside the Hall Food Pantry which are ready for distribution to clients thanks to a collaborative project between IVCC and the U of I Extension.

OGLESBY — This spring, IVCC Agriculture Program Coordinator and Instructor Willard Mott requested assistance from the U of I Extension’s Master Gardeners for an initiative started by his Ag Club members.

The initiative was to provide more fresh produce and live plants to food pantry clients within LaSalle and other surrounding counties.

In March, the Extension's Master Gardener program donated 48 seed packets of more than 15 types of vegetables to the IVCC Ag Club, including peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, and more. Ag Club members, with assistance from the master gardeners, planted, then tended the seeds in IVCC's on-campus greenhouse for six weeks.

The effort resulted in more than 1,000 plants which were ready for donation to the Extension’s Master Gardener community service projects and local food pantries located in LaSalle and Bureau counties.

Plants were donated to the DePue Little Giants 4-H Afterschool Program Garden, the Marseilles School 4-H Seeds to Harvest Garden, and the Master Gardener Community Garden Plant-A-Row project in Ottawa.

The plants delivered to the DePue and Marseilles schools supported a curriculum for third to fifth-grade students on the basics of plants and creating a successful garden. Plants donated to the Plant-A-Row project will result in fresh produce to be delivered throughout the summer season to LaSalle County food pantries.

Remaining plants were disseminated to food pantry clients of the Ottawa Food Basket, the Mendota Area Christian Food Pantry, the Illinois Valley Food Pantry, the Hall Township Food Pantry, and the Sheffield Food Pantry.

Plants were distributed to participating food pantries by University of Illinois Extension staff on May 21-22 and approximately 800 plants were given.

The collaboration was a great success and will be organized again for the spring of 2020. The U of I Extension gave thanks to the IVCC Agriculture Department for this great partnership opportunity to serve our area residents.

The Mission of the U of I Extension is to provide practical, trustworthy education to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. The Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. Visit their website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/blmp/, or, for more information call Meg Overocker, Program Coordinator at the LaSalle County Extension Office at 815-433-0707.

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