Union County community garden to celebrate 5 years with open house Saturday

A retired couple in Union County started a small community garden 5 years ago.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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ANNA, Ill. (KFVS) - A retired couple in Union County started a small community garden five years ago.

Fast forward to this weekend, when they will celebrate five years of serving fresh produce to those who need it.

Shari Sweeny-Sadowski and her husband Tom have more than 100 years of combined gardening experience.

“We wanted to start a food pantry garden, community food pantry garden and it was because we just really felt like everybody deserves fresh produce,” said Shari Sweeney-Sadowski, Union County Garden coordinator.

What started off as two raised beds in May 2017, is now the 3,000-square-foot Union County Garden.

“We really want this to be a learning experience for people too because we really believe in gardening, we think people should garden, and we think people should have fresh food,” Sweeney-Sadowski said.

On Tuesdays, they harvest, then on Wednesdays, All of the fresh produce is passed out to the Shawnee Development Food Pantry.

In the garden includes items like salad mix to sugar snap peas, spinach, carrots and potatoes.

“When we bring it there, sometimes the recipients of the food pantry they’ll see the produce and they’ll be trying to pull it right out of the basket,” said Tom Sadowski, volunteer coordinator at the Union County Garden.

He said it’s literally farm to table for those receiving it.

On Saturday, the Sadowski’s will host an open house to show off their produce. Tom said he’s really impressed with what Shari and their volunteers have accomplished.

“It’s really amazing, you know, what they’ve done with this place,” he said.

They hope everyone comes out to see what the garden has to offer. The open house is from 10am to 2pm.

“It’s all about community and so this is part of the Union County community and we want to be able to open it up to people,” Sadowski said.

The Union County Garden is located on the grounds of the Choate Mental Health Center, near the Shawnee Development Food Pantry.

The Garden’s Facebook page can be found here.

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