We’re off and running …

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Growing Together Inc., a new nonprofit corporation in Galesburg, hopes to foster an environment conducive to providing food and state-of-the-art agricultural education/training to people year round.

In so doing, “GTI will help create a humane, vibrant and creative sustainable local food economy,” said Peter Schwartzman, board secretary for GTI.

Galesburg and many towns in the surrounding area suffer from significant underemployment and food security issues. Yet, at the same time, local soil is the richest in the world. And, thousands of acres of land — several hundred within the city limits — have potential for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables year round. By linking the two together, providing the requisite skills, and promoting the necessary enthusiasm and fortitude, GTI will encourage local people to put innovative agricultural strategies to work as a way to support themselves, their families and our community.

“GTI was inspired by the pioneering work of Will Allen and his world-renown Growing Power farm in the city of Milwaukee,” said board President David Hays. “What GP does serves as template to model for Growing Together in Galesburg. Growing Power and other burgeoning Midwestern urban farms can serve as valuable resources to Growing Together.”

“Through the development of Growing Together, we have the potential in Galesburg to address hunger, malnutrition, economic hardship, and challenged human relationships all simultaneously,” board Treasurer John Hunigan said.

GTI’s vice president, Terry Haywood, and board member Carolyn Hawes are also enthusiastic about the new initiative.

“Growing Together will add significant economic and social equity to the region,” Hawes said.

“GTI will bring people together and inject genuine positive thinking about their collective future,” Haywood said.

The world is becoming smaller and smaller. There is a movement worldwide to grow better food locally. Such food is better, usually costs less, and keeps food dollars in the community where they can be recirculated again and again, helping everyone. The environmental impact of transporting food certainly leaves its negative footprint as well. Galesburg can be a hub, a learning center and a bright spot in the Midwest by developing better ways to grow healthy food. Growing Together will become this anchor with the help of the community.

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating equipment or materials, becoming a member, find out more about GTI by visiting its website, www.growingtogether.us, its Facebook page, growingtogetherus, or emailing at info@growingtogether.us.