2023 annual impact


Garden Beds Planted




Community Partners


Individuals Served

everyone deserves fresh produce

growing food together

The mission of The GardenWorks Project is to promote organic suburban agriculture to improve the well-being of our community, the environment, and those facing food insecurity. We empower, educate, and support all food growers in their efforts to nourish their families and neighbors in need.


With the goal of increasing the local food systems in the region to improve food security, The GardenWorks Project collaborates with food pantries, social service agencies, and community organizations to grow fresh produce for households facing hunger.


The GardenWorks Project encourages the use of organic growing methods through education, resources, and training. Educational events are taught throughout the year, and The GardenWorks Project Resource Center located at 2100 Manchester Road in Wheaton houses many of these trainings and Food Growers Network meetings.


We believe that local growers can make a significant impact on the quality of food provided at emergency food assistance locations with a collaborative effort. We work to encourage the donation of excess harvests to local food pantries, and the use of community gardens to nourish neighbors in need. Our volunteer-based model encourages the use of all revenues for our programs and services, and we rely on the contributions of our 200+ volunteers that donate, support, and build gardens with us every year.

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Volunteers at the heart of our mission

This April, we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month, a time to recognize the dedication of our extraordinary volunteers who bring our mission to life each season. We give thanks for their remarkable efforts that nurture our neighbors and cultivate our land. We cherish this time of year when we reconnect with our community, embarking on the [...]

Giving DuPage Days 2024

On May 1 - 3, 2024 DuPage County comes together in a day of giving, uniting our community around important social causes and helping local nonprofit organizations working to better our communities.  The GardenWorks Project is joining in this community-wide movement in order to further our mission of fighting hunger by nourishing families and neighbors [...]

Spring Seedling Sale

Our Spring Seedling Pre-Sale is live! Purchase locally, organically-grown vegetable and herb seedlings that support our mission. For every seedling you purchase, you plant THREE for gardeners facing food insecurity in our garden programs. The in-person seedling sale will be on May 17 - 18 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton. Pre-orders will be organized [...]

Kicking off the 2024 Season

The GardenWorks Project is kicking off its thirteenth season this spring, expanding access to fresh produce for individuals and families facing food insecurity. Thanks to collaborations with volunteers, donors, local businesses and social service organizations, last year we grew over 14,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious produce in 140 garden beds throughout the western suburbs and [...]

Reflections of the Season
Our twelfth season building food security from the ground up

The winter months offer space to reflect on the past garden season, as we diligently plan for the season to come. We take great pride in the many successes from 2023, our twelfth season serving individuals and communities facing food insecurity. In collaboration with community members, volunteers, donors, and sponsors who rallied behind our vision [...]

Big Collaborations Make Big Impact
Grow a healthier tomorrow

Food insecurity is a complex issue that no organization can address alone. To expand our reach, GardenWorks collaborates with gardeners, staff, and volunteers at community garden sites and partner organization locations throughout the western suburbs. Partnering with 50+ organizations such as Metropolitan Family Services, Mercy Housing, and Bridge Communities, we can make an impact not [...]

“Growing for Good” IPA with Skeleton Key Brewery
Limited release IPA benefits local nonprofits

Skeleton Key Brewery joins The GardenWorks Project and West Suburban Community Pantry in the important work of fighting food insecurity. Their new India Pale Ale,“Growing For Good”, celebrates a year-long collaboration between the three organizations working to improve access to fresh produce for their local communities.  A community-minded family-owned and operated microbrewery, Skeleton Key Brewery [...]

Free Workshop: Container & Indoor Food Growing
A Journey of Renewal

Learn about growing an edible garden indoors through the winter and enjoy the nutritious benefits of microgreens and sprouts. Join us at Barn Owl Garden Center in Carol Stream for tips and resources on growing indoors. From 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., The GardenWorks Project's Programs Manager, Amanda Bryant, Anna Haak of Redeeming Greens, and the [...]

Harvest Against Hunger 2023
Fall Fundraiser

Join us for our 6th annual signature fundraiser, Harvest Against Hunger, where we will gather to celebrate and support our work towards a more sustainable, equitable, and healthier future. This creative collaboration with College of DuPage’s Culinary, Hospitality and Horticulture Departments will be held on Saturday, October 14 from 5-8pm. The event will debut a [...]

New Project with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana
New Partnership Announcement

The GardenWorks Project, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization improving food security and food access throughout western Chicagoland, announces a new partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) and the Tony Reyes Family Foundation.  On May 19, 2023, the three organizations began a three-year long project to expand fresh food access [...]

Growing for good with Skeleton Key Brewery
A Journey of Renewal

Vegetable gardens may not be top of mind when you think of a local brewery, but for us, it's a perfect pairing.  We’re privileged to be the recipients of Skeleton Key Brewery's charitable efforts as their 2023 nonprofit partner, alongside West Suburban Community Pantry, one of our food pantry partners. Skeleton Key joins us in [...]

Farewell to Jeannie Iseman, former Executive Director

With fondness in our hearts, we wish former executive director, Jeannie Iseman, the best on the next chapter of her professional and personal journey.  She has made a tremendous impact on our organization, which has grown and thrived under her leadership over the past six years.  Jeannie was hired as The GardenWorks Project (GWP)’s Executive [...]

Beginning our Second Community Garden Season with Sponsor GTCR
A Journey of Renewal

We begin our second season growing produce for local food pantries at our very own community gardens at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton.  Sponsor GTCR helped us kickoff the 2023 season! This spring, they refreshed and planted crops in galvanized tanks, which the DuPage County Fairgrounds & Events Center generously converted from beer tubs [...]

The GardenWorks Project announces new Executive Director
A Journey of Renewal

The GardenWorks Project is excited to announce the selection of Teri Wood as the organization’s new executive director. Teri follows previous Executive Director, Jeannie Iseman, who served as the organization’s leader for the last six years. Teri Wood brings over 20 years of experience in community engagement, fundraising, event planning, and volunteer management. She has [...]

Little to Large Ecosystems at Educare West DuPage
A Journey of Renewal

Outside Educare in West DuPage, engraved at your feet, the entrance of the school reads: “When You Change a Child’s Life, You Change an Entire Community. Together We Are Changing a Country.” As you walk through their halls, the welcoming atmosphere at Educare envelopes you. The beautiful space is centered around the children's health and [...]

Celebrating Earth Day with Duly Health And Care
A Message From Our Board President

The GardenWorks Project, kicked off its 12th season during Earth Week, preparing vegetable garden beds for families facing food insecurity with corporate sponsor, Duly Health and Care.  With sponsor support, GardenWorks is increasing access to fresh produce in west suburban Chicagoland by providing families with the resources to grow food in home and community gardens, [...]

Kicking off our 12th season
A Message From Our Board President

Last year, with the support of sponsors, donors, and volunteers, we grew over 15,000 pounds of produce for residents in DuPage and surrounding counties facing food insecurity.  We served 2638 gardeners to provide the resources and knowledge to grow their own, nourishing food. The momentum continues as 134 garden beds are to be planted in [...]

End of Year Reflection 2022
A Message From Our Board President

Dear Beloved Community, 2022 was a year of change for The GardenWorks Project. As we entered another year of serving the greater DuPage county area and were still feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19; staff, board members, and volunteers wanted to see how we could further meet the needs of the community. We wanted to [...]

Tending the Garden, Nourishing the Soul
A Journey of Renewal

LuAnn remembers her family's garden in Melrose Park thirty five years ago, as she was often given the task of gathering ingredients for whatever her grandmother might be making. LuAnn's love for fresh produce was evident even then, as she admitted to coming back from her duties empty-handed but with a full stomach, as the [...]

A Beginner’s Guide to Composting
A Beginner's Guide to Composting

I’ve been known to pilfer bags of chopped leaves from the curb around the neighborhood. What - you don’t do the same?  If you lament the falling leaves every fall, don’t be dismayed. Compost. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Fall is the perfect time to start a compost pile. Why? Leaves are good fodder [...]

Experiencing the World in Wheaton
Garden Reflection

It’s called the “World Community Garden”.   And, the name might surprise you for being located in Wheaton.  But, it fits.  This community garden at the Marian Park Mercy Housing site is home to 14 gardeners from 7 countries, speaking 7 native languages and growing varieties not often found in your typical grocery store.
The GardenWorks Project began a partnership with the Marian Park community in 2017 with the installation of a 5 bed system intended to serve low income and elderly residents desiring to grow their own produce and, according to Resident Service Coordinator, Bethany Atchison, “empower and nourish bodies and souls.”   “Our community has a large population of refugee families that have moved often during their first years here in the United States.   It is a permanent residence with the opportunity to garden, which is often the first time since they have been at home.  Gardening gives them something familiar in a very foreign country.” The program has since grown, expanding the site to 14 beds at two locations on the Mercy Housing-owned campus.

Harvest Against Hunger 2022
Fall Fundraiser

Every year, The GardenWorks Project holds its signature fall fundraiser, Harvest against Hunger. For the past two years, we have held the event virtually, and still had great success, selling out of tickets both years. We are delighted to celebrate this year with an in-person event at the College of DuPage! Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/harvest-against-hunger-2022-tickets-387507865457 This year’s Harvest against Hunger [...]

Gardens grow life skills and healthy habits
Garden Reflection

Lori connected with The GardenWorks Project in the fall of 2020. She had heard about the organization and its gardening program through the Birth to Three Program in West Chicago, and decided to submit an application. At first, Lori’s family was approved for a GardenWorks Project balcony box, but they were excited to learn that, [...]

Grants Build on Assets to Chicago’s Food System
Over $1.5 Million Awarded to 48 Grantees

(Chicago, IL – July 18, 2022) The Chicago Region Food System Fund today awarded $1.52 million to 48 grantees as part of its continuing efforts to bolster Chicago’s local food system against systemic shocks like COVID-19 and ongoing economic upheaval. This round of grants prioritizes projects that further cultivate existing community assets to aid in long-term food [...]

Growing Generously in Lisle
Garden-Pantry partnership increases access to produce

During the 2021 growing season, Lisle Township Community Garden harvested and donated 1,100 pounds of fresh produce to The Lisle Township Food Pantry. Founded in 2012 by caring community members, the garden was planted to supplement the fresh produce offered at Lisle Township Food Pantry right next door. Community members accessing the pantry for grocery [...]

Giving DuPage Days 2022
Generosity Changes Everything

Food security and access are at the forefront of conversations and media attention as a global food crisis threatens the health of people around the world and right here at home. At The GardenWorks Project, we are committed to our mission to empower, educate and support food growers of all levels to feed themselves and [...]

GardenWorks Project Joins Fresh Food Connect
new partnerships

The GardenWorks Project is launching Fresh Food Connect, a mobile app this spring to make it easier for home and community gardeners to donate a portion of their fresh grown produce to local food access organizations. Wheaton, Ill. (March 1, 2022) -- The GardenWorks Project is launching Fresh Food Connect, a mobile app this spring to [...]

Seed sharing and caring for one another
cultivating connections, eggplants, and chilies

All right, I have a bit of a confession to make. Even though I have been involved with the GardenWorks Project for the past three years, as I feel strongly about fighting hunger, food security and food access, I am actually not a gardener. Blasphemous, I know, but they still seem to like me here. [...]

Favorite “CAREcrow” Chosen by Cantigny Visitors
GardenWorks Project wins popular vote

Four participating nonprofits receive grants from Robert R. McCormick Foundation, including The GardenWorks Project. Wheaton, Ill., November 11, 2021 — Cantigny Park today announced that the “CAREcrow” display by The Gardenworks Project received the most votes in public balloting. By winning the popular vote, the organization earns an additional $1,000 grant from the Robert R. McCormick [...]

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