DeKalb County Community Gardens teaches community members to grow their own food

By Felix Sarver

DeKalb county residents are growing vegetables and skills with community gardens.

The DeKalb County Community Gardens (DCCG) is a group educating people in gardening and promoting gardens, said Tom Riley, president of the DeKalb Area Garden Club. The group hopes to make a social impact in impoverished areas of the county by teaching people to grow their own food.

“Hopefully we can lower the crime rate and teach children where food comes from,” Riley said.

While people grow their own food, they must maintain and clean the garden, Riley said. People who use the gardens must also give half of what they grow back to the community at pantries.

DCCG coordinator Dan Kenney said the group was formed after he saw the growth of community gardens in other counties.

Kenney grew gardens by himself and at schools like Brooks Elementary School, where he teaches.

“I took extra food to the pantries and saw how important it was to have food from the garden,” Kenney said.

The DCCG plans to have community gardens in different parts of the county, like Sycamore and Genoa. Reaching out to people who live in apartments without access to gardens or homegrown food is an important goal as well, Kenney said.

The group plans to have gardens near the National Bank and Trust, 1029 Pleasant St., Riley said.

Kenney said the group plans to create a non-profit status for themselves in order to be sustainable and identify the locations for the gardens they plan to grow this summer.