As autumn begins to show its colors, the Kiwanis Kommunity Garden has had an abundant harvest.
Started in 2011 to supplement the Lake Villa Township Food Pantry, the Kiwanis garden has become a vital and growing part of the food bank’s role in providing nutritional support to more than 100 families every month.
“The Kommunity Garden gives us an opportunity to provide fresh produce for our residents. Without the garden, most of our donations are dry goods and staples. It has been a very helpful and appreciated resource,” Lake Villa Township Supervisor Dan Venturi said.
Tending the garden is a year long process.
Starting in February or March, the garden’s caretakers, Kiwanis members Jean Knoblock and Dennis Dean, begin the planting process indoors. By early spring, they transplant their vegetables in the garden and continue to plant throughout the summer.
Some of the many vegetables grown are lettuce, peas, beans, cucumbers, peppers, onions, garlic, leeks, zucchini, potatoes, squash and pumpkins, as well as lots and lots of tomatoes.
Each day from April through November, freshly picked items are taken to the pantry to be distributed to the community. No chemicals or pesticides are ever used.
The garden is a community project. In addition to its caretakers, the garden is supported by many others. The Lake Village Township staff often help in watering, weeding and harvesting. They have also supplied raised beds and potting soil as the garden continues to expand.
Allendale Association, a local nonprofit that provides support for youths, provides plants from their on-site greenhouse. In addition, youths housed at their campus often help in maintaining the garden. Periodically, other members from the Lindenhurst/The Lakes club will stop by to lend a hand.
2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Kiwanis garden. Over that time period, hundreds of families and children will have benefited from the thousands of pounds of fresh, wholesome and nutritious produce from the garden. Most will not even know where the food came from, and that is OK with the garden’s caretakers.