Providing a Harvest for Local Food Pantries
What started as a “growing season” project six years ago has turned into a year-round project that annually harvests over 14 tons (28,717 lbs.) of fresh produce for local food pantries. If you would like to help with the fall clean up, please contact Lou Schairer at (815) 354-6311.
This year, volunteers led by Lou Schairer, Jim Finn, Bob Oliver, Pete Wesley and Bill West have tilled, irrigated and planted two acres of the Barrington United Methodist Church’s (BUMC) property at the south east corner of the intersection of RT 59 and Algonquin Road. And while weather always plays a key role in crop volume, BUMC’s many volunteers have prepared and planted a larger area and continue to expand their knowledge and resources in an effort to bring food to the tables of families in the local area.
Crops are started in a greenhouse in March, planted in the garden in May and June and produce is harvested from July through October.
Tilling, installing the irrigation pipes, planting, weeding and harvesting are all activities that are work intensive and the church’s volunteers are in the garden most mornings from spring until well after the harvest is completed because there are many chores, like picking up and storing tomato cages, disassembling the irrigation system and fertilizing the garden, to complete before winter to maximize the chances for an improved harvest in the coming year. But even over the winter there are jobs like starting seedlings and planning the crops and their placements in the garden that must be properly managed if the effort is to produce maximum results.