Why are they doing this? Because they discovered some disturbing facts about an eight-county area that includes Bureau County. "According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, in three of the eight counties, more than 65 percent of the population is overweight or obese. The other five don’t fall far behind." Another sad fact is that,
According to statistics provided by the American Corn Growers Association, six of the eight counties targeted by the program were recently placed on the poverty watch or warning lists. Building self-sustainable communities that can fulfill their own basic needs means not relying on external help in times of trouble.And the benefits of the program are
Increasing local food supply for local consumption reduces human impact on the environment and supports the local economy in a time when the average food mile is 1,500 miles and $48 billion leaves the state for food procurement each year.There are also educational benefits. Rare and unusual fruits and vegetables will be included, so teachers can take students to the garden and talk about the food that was eaten by Native Americans, Thomas Jefferson, or George Washington.
“We’re increasing access to fresh, natural food, and the money stays in the community. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Horwitz said.
It is truly turning into a community garden as local businesses, clubs and students pitch in. The garden will be 1/4 acre this year, but it will increase to an acre and a half by the third year. It would be great if more school districts decided to follow suit!