Just weeks ago, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) launched the first-of-its-kind “Growing for Futures” (#growingforfutures) philanthropic program to build therapeutic gardens. Since then, generous online and offline cash donations have reached $6,500, with just $3,500 more to go to reach the Phase 1 goal of $10,000 by August 23rd.
This ongoing, annual, fundraising initiative is designed to further the mission of National Garden Bureau, which is to raise awareness of gardening and the good it can bring into one’s life.
The Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago is the first beneficiary of National Garden Bureau’s annual fundraising effort. Growing Solutions Farm is a vocational program of the Julie + Michael Tracy Family Foundation/Urban Autism Solutions (JMTF), which serves, educates and trains young adults with autism. As a vocational therapy garden, the Growing Solutions Farm exists to cultivate horticulture careers and life skills while also growing vegetables, fruits and herbs for partnering organizations.
Right now there is a lot of interest in vocational and therapeutic gardens and that interest has resulted in numerous high-profile stories about the garden:
WBBM-CBS News Chicago, July 16, 2014, 5 and 10 p.m. news as well as July 17, 5:30 a.m
WGN-CW News, 3:35 minute spot on July 18, 2014, 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. shows
ABC 7 News, August 10 by Karen Meyers, a nationally syndicated journalist with a focus on stories about people with disabilities.
WTTW TV will air their segment on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Chicago Tribune has visited the garden, done interviews and is writing a story.
Mike Nowak Radio show, August 17 with guests Julie Tracy and Diane Blazek talking about the fundraiser and the garden.
Ron Wilson Radio show, August 23 with guest Diane Blazek talking about the fundraiser and the garden.
NGB’s long-term goal is to raise $50,000 in both cash and supplies to help support the continued growth of this innovative garden project. Indiegogo's phase 2 will begin immediately after Phase 1 concludes. Donations can be made via Indiegogo or by mailing contributions directly to National Garden Bureau at 1311 Butterfield Road, Suite 310, Downers Grove, IL 60515.
For more information about this project or the National Garden Bureau, visit: www.ngb.org and follow #growingforfutures on Social Media. Interviews with Diane Blazek and/or Julie Tracy can be arranged by email.
The Growing Solutions Farm is located in Chicago’s Illinois Medical District, at W. Campbell Park Drive and S. Leavitt Street. This 1.5 acre urban garden oasis is a nurturing environment where young adults with autism work together with an urban farmer, vocational coach, teachers, volunteers and agency staff to develop skills that can lead to career opportunities in the agriculture, horticulture, food processing and other industries.