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Last year Ridgeville Park District offered a new program called “Garden2Table” to give local residents the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of growing and cooking local produce.
 
Using newly built garden beds in Ridgeville Park, program participants met once a week to learn about soil preparation, planting and maintaining a garden, how to deal with plant diseases and pests, and composting, canning and preserving.

In addition to working in the gardens, participants also spent time in the Ridgeville Community House kitchen learning cooking techniques and recipe ideas for the newly harvested produce. Overall, the program aimed to demystify the process of how food is created and made ready for human consumption. Participants learned how to become successful gardeners and developed the cooking techniques to encourage them to consume more locally grown, in-season produce.

The Garden2Table program is directed by Evanston resident Amy Dale, founder of Green Edens Horticultural Services, and includes a team of master gardeners and horticulture specialists including Gabrielle Castrejon, James Zaraza and Craig Sadur. As the program gets ready to begin its second year, Ms. Dale says she is looking forward to working with a new group of participants and helping them develop their gardening skills and broaden their cooking horizons.

 Registration for the 2014 program is now underway at www.ridgeville.org. The program fee is $295 (financial assistance is available), and the class meets March 3 – Oct. 27 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. on Monday evenings at Ridgeville Park, 908 Seward St. Attendance at all of the classes is not mandatory. Those wishing more information about the class may call 847-869-5640 or email programs@ridgeville.org.