'Mud to Community Gardens' Program Healing Urban Gardens in Broadview, Maywood

Stacey Solano
'Mud to Community Gardens' Program Healing Urban Gardens in Broadview, Maywood
BROADVIEW, IL � Officials with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and Fox Waterway Agency today joined local officials and citizens in announcing a new �Mud to Community Gardens� project that will help create a series of urban gardens in Broadview and Maywood. The project expands on Governor Pat Quinn�s �Mud to Parks� initiative by finding productive uses for mud dredged from Illinois waterways.

�Thanks to interest by citizens and local leaders in Broadview and Maywood,  and in cooperation with state transportation and state and federal environmental protection staff, we�re moving mud being dredged by the Fox Waterway Agency from the Chain O�Lakes and putting it to a very productive use in providing quality soil for local gardens,� said IDNR Director Marc Miller.  �Top soil that eroded into the Fox waterway is being put back on dry ground where it can help local citizens grow beautiful, productive vegetable gardens.�

�This project demonstrates the benefits Illinois state agencies can provide in response to community needs,� said Interim IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett.  �With the community garden, we can help Broadview in their effort to produce a healthy food source for their community.�

�We are proud to partner with state and local officials to provide essential services needed to transport rich, quality soil from the Fox waterway into local, community gardens,� said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. �IDOT has a proven track record of leading or supporting effective green initiatives like this one, and we wholeheartedly support this project to relocate valuable, unused soil to help create the beds for nutritious, vegetable gardens.�
The �Mud to Community Gardens� program relocates clean soil dredged from the bottom of Illinois rivers and lakes for use in the development of community gardens where adequate soil may not exist or is unavailable for use.

The Broadview Park District received a $135,000 grant for its community gardens initiative from the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) and the Cook County Department of Public Health.  The funding is part of an effort to establish a network of urban gardens and community food security programs to help local residents.

 �These community gardens and community food security programs are essential components in helping families and individuals save money, have access to affordable and nutritious food, and learn valuable skills,� said Broadview Park District Executive Director Katrina Thompson.

The dredged soil for the project is being provided by the Fox Waterway Agency (FWA) from the Ackerman Island Dredge Material Facility on Grass Lake Road near the Fox River in Antioch.  The facility is used to store sediment removed during annual dredge operations on the river and the Chain O�Lakes.  Once the dredged soil is dewatered, it is made available for local landowners and landscapers for yard and garden uses.

�By making the dredged material available for reuse, the Fox Waterway Agency has been able to conserve space for sediment removed from our waterway, and landscapers and homeowners have benefitted by having access to useful soil,� said FWA Board Chairman Wayne D. Blake. 

Material dredged from the waterway is tested by personnel from the Illinois EPA and U.S. EPA to ensure that the soil is safe for reuse.  IDOT crews are transporting approximately 500 cubic yards of soil from the FWA dredge material facility to a Broadview Park District drop off site for use in community garden plots established in Broadview and Maywood.  

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