A child holds an small orange tomato close to the camera

The gardens of Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties grew with great pride this summer because they were deemed Giving Gardens.

In 2021, amid poor economic conditions and stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Illinois Extension serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties began the Giving Garden program.

Red tomatoes in a black bin

When home gardens are bursting with an overabundance of fresh produce, growers start looking for ways to share their bounty. Backyard gardeners can help feed their community by donating fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.

Growers planning on donating to food distribution centers can take steps, even before they plant, to ensure they are providing safe, useable produce.