For some College of DuPage students, books are being replaced with farming equipment. COD Community Education Farm program is educating students and the community on the importance of organic produce while contributing to a DuPage County service organization.
Every Monday throughout the summer season, Lia Rousset sets up a farm stand at COD’s student resource center. As the manager of the farm, Rousset and her students grow the organic vegetables they sell.
But those sales only make up about 10% of their harvest. The rest goes towards a community food pantry.
“The main thing for the community education farm is to grow food that is then donated to the People’s Resource Center,” said Rousset.
College of DuPage professor Deborah Adelman started the farm in 2003 as a means to help others.
“Our mission is to provide food, good food, that is produced locally to people that are in need,” said Adelman.
“Produce is expensive, so for them to be able to get fresh organic produce is a huge benefit for their nutritional diet,” said Melissa Travis, Senior Director of Programs at People’s Resource Center.
Last year COD officials started a partner shares program, where residents pay money to own a portion of the plot. Instead of taking the harvest home, it’s donated to the People’s Resource Center.
“Many of my volunteers have bought those partner shares because they see the good that the fresh produce that we get from the farm does for the families that we serve here,” said Travis. “Low income families deserve to have good nutritional food.”
The volunteers gear the crops they grow to the needs of the community, while giving students a lesson in giving back.
The People’s Resource Center helps as many as 3,000 families each month.
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