- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa charity said it has raised enough money to build a community teaching garden, which is expected to be a source of fresh produce for the more than 500 families it serves.

The North Liberty Community Pantry raised nearly $39,000 to receive a matching grant from the Wellmark Foundation, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1GokkiS ) reported.

Executive director Tina DuBois said the organization will provide garden-to-table education programs for the community at the site. The 9,600-square-foot-garden’s first crops could be ready for harvest by June and will likely include lettuce, kale and spinach.

The garden also will include a patio and rainwater collection and irrigation system that are expected to be installed by spring.

DuBois praised supporters and volunteers who helped raise the funds.



“It was amazing to see how many people are passionate about this project. We’ve been talking about a teaching garden for years internally, and finally included it in the master plan,” DuBois said. “There are so many people in the community who have contributed to this project and made it a reality, and that shows how focused the community is on this.”

She said the pantry plans to host a public garden party in the spring and that it’s already advertising to hire a coordinator to oversee garden maintenance and educational programs.

The Wellmark Foundation is expected to award its matching grant later this month.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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