Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties

Main Office (Stephenson County)
Highland Community College, Bldg R
2998 W Pearl City Rd
Freeport, IL 61032
Phone: 815-235-4125
FAX: 815-232-9006
Email:uie-jsw@illinois.edu
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm

Branch Office (Jo Daviess County)
204 Vine, PO Box 600
Elizabeth, IL 61028
Phone: 815-858-2273
FAX: 815-858-2274

Branch Office (Winnebago County)
1040 North Second Street
Rockford, IL 61107
Phone: 815-986-4357
FAX: 815-986-4329
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

News Release

University of Illinois Extension Provides Support to Community Garden Participants

The University of Illinois Extension-Winnebago County has committed to provide education training and support to those neighborhood groups starting community gardens this spring. Through a collaborative effort, the U of I Extension Office in Winnebago County has been working closely with the City of Rockford Human Service Department and Neighborhood Network to ensure the registered neighborhood groups who have received grant funds through the Human Services Department have the education and resources they need to successfully meet their goals.

"Many of these gardens are being planned and implemented by folks who have never gardened before. There are methods and techniques that can be implemented in the summer garden that will make the process easier and more enjoyable. We want people to be excited about being in the garden and we want them to feel a sense of accomplishment and success so that this initiative continues to grow," says Winnebago County Extension Director Margaret Larson.

U of I Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be working with each community garden. Master Gardeners are also providing beginning vegetable garden presentations as well as a series of classes including: planning and planting the garden, care and maintenance, and how to best preserve what you have grown. These classes are open to the general public.

Plant-A-Row for the Hungry (PAR), a University of Illinois Extension initiative in the Rockford community, works to provide multiple convenient drop-off locations for those who have grown more produce than they can consume. Produce collected at the six drop-off locations is transported to local food pantries where it is available to our community's hungry. The program also encourages vegetable gardeners to grow an extra row with the intent of donating that produce to PAR. In 2009 the Plant-A-Row program was responsible for accepting and donating over 18 tons of homegrown produce to Rockford soup kitchens and food pantries. As part of the community grant program, each of the groups receiving grant money has committed to donating a portion of what is grown to the PAR program.

Please access the University of Illinois Extension website to learn more about the many programs and services provided by Extension www.extension.illinois.edu/winnebago.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Local Contact: Meghan Bowe, Program Coordinator (Winnebago County), mbowe@illinois.edu