The Glencoe Community Garden’s 3rd Annual Pumpkin Smash on Sunday, November 1st was a smashing success! In just 2 hours, almost 400 pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns were crushed, smushed, smashed and ultimately saved from landfill. And, the GCG’s environmentally friendly community-wide event did not end there. Over the course of the next week, the Garden’s efforts to green Halloween continued thanks to its partnership with the Village of Glencoe and Lake Shore Recycling who provided additional dumpsters in order to divert even more pumpkins from landfill to compost. It was an incredible ending for the challenging yet highly successful 2020.
The GCG’s ninth season was remarkable even with the challenges of COVID-19. Once the necessity of opening the Garden became clear, in keeping with pandemic guidelines, tried and true volunteers along with numerous new faces went to work. It was crucial for the GCG to continue to be a healthy food resource for those in need especially in the food deserts where it donates its fresh organic produce. The Garden became one among very few if any places to find community, the opportunity to be, work and have fun with friends and like-minded neighbors.
The GCG harvested and donated roughly 2,000 pounds of produce, had its first and very prolific garlic crop, grew the best tomato crop to date, and provided a continuous bounty of fresh lettuces which kept producing through the end of October. College and High School interns maintained a regular 3x/week harvest and work schedule alongside other volunteers of all ages, as well as, keeping up the hydroponic systems, succession planting, composting, soil amendments and excavating a comprehensive drainage system throughout the Garden.
The Glencoe Community Garden also received a much-needed facelift in 2020 compliments of several awesome Eagle Scout projects. Both the north and south ends of the GCG were completely resurfaced to precision, by three Eagle Scouts, for their highest badge. In addition, one industrious teen took it upon himself to research and construct a hoop house to extend the growing season for the Garden’s Kale and Swiss Chard crops. Soon, the Garden will be installing owl houses crafted and designed by another creative and thoughtful young volunteer in hopes to attract a natural predator for small critters that snack on the Garden’s root crops.
With energy staying so steady and strong, the GCG was inspired to end the season with more planting, even trying its hands with cover crops. The Garden’s hope is to replenish the soil in its planting beds with rich organic matter and a boost of nitrogen by cultivating winter rye and field peas over the winter and early spring.
Huge thanks go to the many community members who washed, saved and delivered their plastic produce containers to the Garden; every harvest was packaged for direct delivery to clients. With COVID in mind, being able to package each crop in family size containers mitigated the need for our partner agencies to further separate each harvest for their members.
The Garden continued to serve a broad range of Social Service agencies including Midwest Workers Association in Englewood, Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park, the Ark in Northbrook, Moraine Township Food Pantry and Northfield Food Pantry. In a true farm to table effort, volunteer drivers picked up every harvest directly from the Garden. The GCG is confident that many throughout the city and suburbs enjoyed fresh, organically grown food throughout the summer due to the endless efforts of many wonderful volunteers.
On the horizon for next season, the Glencoe Community Garden will be celebrating its 10th anniversary! For one of the best feel good, do good, community-wide volunteering, Come Farm with Us! For more information, please visit our website: glencoecommunitygardencom email us at email@example.com, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and/or stop by the GCG at 380 Old Green Bay Road in Glencoe.