Restful: The Forest Park Community Garden is getting some help to maintain public areas.Forest Park Community Garden

Three national organizations have reached out to Forest Park Community Garden to help generate funds to help the organization, said President and Co-founder Jessica Rinks.

The Whole Kids Foundation has joined an organic clothing company called PACT and crowd funding website Indigogo.com to create the Urban Gardens across America program.

Forest Park’s garden was chosen as an urban-environment location encouraging residents to grow their own healthy foods.

“It’s an awesome situation that sort of fell into our laps,” Rinks said.

Forest Park resident Yvonne Williams applied to the PACT Foundation to become a “PACTivist” for the Community Garden.

Through the Indigogo crowd funding site, the garden hopes to raise $2,500 by Feb. 28, Williams said. So far, the site has raised $170.

Rinks said the garden hasn’t earmarked what the money will be used for, but she’s got an idea that it can be used to maintain the public space at the garden.

“A major goal this year is possibly hiring out the upkeep of the common garden areas,” Rinks said. “We want to landscape the garden’s perimeter by weeding it and making sure it looks nice,” she said.

Volunteers concentrate on their own plots, Rinks said, so the maintenance of the common areas was inconsistent. “We’ve tried many schemes for volunteering, asking people to give three hours a year. But no matter who did, or didn’t, we couldn’t keep up with [the common areas]. It causes a lot of heartache,” Rinks said.

“We want people who live nearby or walk nearby or see it and say, ‘That’s nice.'”

The garden was started with help from a grant from the Cook County Dept. of Health.

The Urban Gardens across America program chose Forest Park and a community garden in Chicago called Garden of Hope for the program.

The campaign hopes to “educate local communities on the benefits of living a nutritious lifestyle, show people how they can be activists in their own communities and empower others to bring ideas to life and raise funds through crowd funding,” according to a press release.

You can find the online campaign link here: www.indiegogo.com/ForestParkCommunityGarden

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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