●Food & Gardening ●
Since access to grocery stores with fresh produce is limited in West Bloomington, the Veggie Oasis program aims to bring fresh produce to the neighborhood to promote a healthier lifestyle amongst residents. The food is given away for free to local residents along with recipes, nutrition education, food insecurity information, and promotional materials for the farmers’ market. Since the Veggie Oasis started in 2014, over 10,000 pounds of food has been gleaned and distributed. Veggie Oasis is supported by a partnership between the McLean County Wellness Coalition, the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, the Downtown Bloomington Association Farmer’s Market, and farmers.
In partnership with the Beacon of Hope, volunteers visit local grocery stores and the Downtown Bloomington Farmer's Market to gather fresh products, as well as food that is nearing the "best by" date, to give away to West Bloomington residents for free.
Location & Hours
Veggie Oasis occurs every Saturday during the regular farmer's market season (May to October). Food becomes available at 12:30 P.M. and is given away until it is all gone. Food can go fast so plan to arrive early. Veggie Oasis tables are set up in front of the WBRP building and are moved inside if it rains.
Volunteer & Donate
Each spring, the volunteer sign up will be posted on the Veggie Oasis Facebook group for Veggie Oasis gleaners and distributors. Here's a quick breakdown of the program's needs:
Gleaning volunteers will meet at the market between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Volunteers will retrieve wheelbarrows from the Downtown Business Association tent on the NE corner of the square. Ask any vendor for products they are willing to donate and deliver gleaned items to the distribution site by 12:15 or so.
Distribution Volunteers will meet at the distribution site by 12:00 p.m. Retrieve and set up the tables, sign, and Veggie Oasis information from the storage space. Assist gleaners with gathering and arranging products when they arrive. Engage with people who come to select veggies and help explain the various product options if they are unfamiliar. Hand out recipes for the produce and help explain how to use the various products. Clean up and break down the tables when the food is gone (usually by 2 p.m.).
Our distribution site is the WBRP office at 724 W Washington.
Local gardeners and farmers who wish to donate produce to our give away tables should contact our office. We would be happy to accept your donation and we can provide a donation form for your tax records.
● Food & Gardening ●
Just west of Downtown Bloomington is a beautiful community garden space that provides fruits and vegetables to the surrounding area. Conveniently in two locations, individuals and groups can reserve plots for $25 for the entire season. Responsibilities include mowing the grass, weeding flower beds, and turning the compost.
Location & Contact
Located at the corner of Mulberry and Roosevelt. For details on plot reservation and volunteer days, contact us.
● Food & Gardening ●
Started in March 2018, the Seed Library has over 200 organic and non-GMO seed packets. The available seeds include vegetables, fruits, flowers, native plants, herbs, and many others being donated by users of the program. This program was started to bring better access to good food for residents in the community.
All seeds are free, just check out what you get from the front desk and bring back any seeds you have in order to continue the Seed Library program for the following year.