URBANA, Ill., (WCIA) — A farm in Urbana is expanding, and it could mean you’ll be eating more fruits and vegetables from Central Illinois.
Sola Gratia Farm bought 29 acres near their current space off of Philo Road. Now, they’ll be able to increase what they grow. Traci Barkley, the farm’s director, said they’ve already started planting seeds and soil sampling.
Barkley hopes this can increase food access, especially because she said 1 in 5 kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
“We donate about a third of everything we grow into the community,” she said. “That’s really the whole point of our farm; to help feed those that have limited food dollars but want and need to eat healthy. By expanding, we’ll be able to serve our community with enhanced production and expanded services.”
She added they’re working with an architect to build a greenhouse, an equipment shed and a vegetable processing facility.
John Williams, the farm manager, said they’ve started to grow cover crops, which helps them keep the soil fresh and grow organically.
In the new space, he said they’ll be able to grow more produce than before, including more tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, kale and head lettuce.
Sola Gratia Farms sells produce at the Urbana Market at the Square and Champaign Farmers Market. They also donate their produce through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, two free neighborhood markets, the Jubilee Cafe and the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.
If you’d like to donate or look at the proposed plans, you can visit their website.