U of I Extension, DMCSC offering small space gardening program

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – The C-U at Work program is kicking off its second full season of bringing fresh produce to local markets.

In partnership with Prosperity Gardens and in collaboration with the City of Champaign Township, the C-U at work program works to cultivate the community.

From last year, veterans of the project constructed a dozen new raised planters in the west gardens, and the new crew went right to work filling them with soil.

Recruits will work throughout the summer Monday-Friday, raising a variety of crops.

When harvested, hundreds of pounds of produce will go to nearby Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and local farmer's markets.

"We are extremely proud of the Prosperity Gardens project and the work that our participants are doing," said Supervisor of City of Champaign Township, Andrew J. Quarnstrom. "Our partnership with C-U at Home has been the key to our success, and the growth of both the C-U at Work program and Prosperity Gardens is extremely exciting."

Participants in the C-U at Work program earn a weekly wage while working to benefit the community and are held reliable for looking for housing and permanent work to remain in the program.

One of the program's new aspects this year is to step up efforts to provide resources to help workers meet their goals.

Several workers from last year's crew were able to spend the winter months attending classes to enhance their gardening knowledge and skills.

The project is also working on plans for building remodeling and an expansion to Beardsley Park.

"C-U at Work embodies so many of the core values we have at C-U at Home," said Rob Dalhaus III, Executive Director of C-U at Home. "Empowerment, dignity, hard work, and partnership. Through their work at Prosperity Gardens, our friends without an address have opportunities, become more motivated, and find out just how much value they can bring to the table!"

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