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Roots & Wings builds hoophouses on Blackhawk Courts - and celebrates with Harvest Fest!

Our Roots & Wings program at Angelic Organics Learning Center had an exciting final week of September at Blackhawk Courts Farm & Garden (338 15th Ave. Rockford, IL). Farm Manager, Yatte Moore, led residents and volunteers as they built hoophouses for year-round growing. We also had Adam Montri, a hoophouse consultant from MSU, on hand to assure the build out was a success. Roots & Wings partners, Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) and Zion Outreach, joined the construction team along with folks from FCA, UAW 1268, and United Way of Rock River Valley. A special thanks to the partners and volunteers who made this happen! And an extra special thank you to Rockford Housing Authority who made this project possible.

We started the farm and learning garden on the Rockford Housing Authority property in 2009. Residents and youth now plant, harvest, and distribute organically grown vegetables to RHA residents, Rockford households, and area restaurants. These hoophouses will give residents and youth the ability to grow vegetables, herbs and other plants 360 days/year! It's monumental for them because it will provide healthy food while also offering more volunteer, job-readiness, and community building opportunities. Residents also have an oasis of sorts where they can watch their hard work result in beautiful food and plants.

Blackhawk Courts residents celebrated the hoophouses at a Harvest Fest on October 24. The amazing Ruth Fairchild of Zion Outreach made food for 100 people! Ruth and Janice Forrest also organized games and activities for kids. Angelic Organics provided pumpkins and gourds for the kids, while Angelic Organics Learning Center staff painted faces and brought chickens for the kids to learn about and hold. Residents and guests received copies of a gorgeous anthology book (made possible by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois) of creative works that contained photos, art, photography, recipes and more from Blackhawk Courts residents. We have included some photos from the Harvest Fest in the slideshow below. Thank you Jessie Crow Mermel for organizing this event and to our board members, Mary Khoury and Constance McCarthy, for coming out to help!

Watch our Hoophouse Building Team on CBS affiliate, Channel 23 WIFR news>>>

Read all about the project in Rockford Register Star and Washington Times>>>

Read about the coverage on NBC affiliate, Channel 13 WREX news>>>