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Ron Ory Community Garden Plot Gleaning Yields Bounty for Loaves & Fishes

On Monday, October 15, 49 volunteers worked in the brisk weather to gather the remains of the harvest following the official closing of the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots for the 2018 season.

Volunteers came from Naperville Evening Kiwanis, Metea Valley High School vocational program, University of Illinois Extension master gardeners, Naperville Park District Garden Plot ambassadors, and Naperville Community Gardeners. They gathered the produce left in the gardens, then sorted it for donation to Loaves & Fishes Community Services.

This year, the gleaning yielded 1,020 pounds of produce. Additionally, throughout the summer, the team of 25 master gardeners who maintain the “Giving Garden” at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots donated 1,686 pounds of produce. A portion (577 lbs.) of the “Giving Garden” summer donations went to the food pantry at Calvary Church on Benton Ave., and the balance (1,109 lbs.) went to Loaves & Fishes.

Master gardeners Ron Ory and Logan Wasson developed the idea to glean vegetables at the Garden Plots in 2011, when the first group of volunteers gathered 160 pounds of vegetables. In addition, the master gardeners had the idea of donating produce all season long. Other gardeners donate vegetables as well, using a donation station set up at the plots during the gardening season.

“Although the weather was a bit of a challenge this year for the gardeners, I’m amazed at how much produce they were able to grow and donate to those in need,” said the Park District’s Nature Center Manager Angelique Harshman, who oversees the Garden Plots program.  “We will continue to find ways to support and engage the community and incorporate sustainable practices, like the Pumpkin Smash composting event, into our Garden Plot program.”

The Pumpkin Smash event will take place Saturday, November 3 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, located at 811 West Street. Residents are invited to drop off their Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns to be smashed and composted into the soil at the Garden Plots.


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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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