Community members are invited to visit the Cairo Garden Volunteers

Cairo – Gardens have the power to build a community and feed friends and neighbors.

The University of Illinois Extension and the South Seven Department of Health, in partnership with Daystar Food Depot, have grown more than 130 pounds this year to create a food donation garden in Cairo.

Experimental Garden – Cairo Food Donation Garden is located on gravel 31st Street between South Seven and Hairdressing and is run by community volunteers, master gardeners and extension workers. The purpose of the garden is to grow vegetables for the Dastster gifts, and to provide a new source of produce for Pander customers.

The garden is designed as a model for the raised bed garden community. The garden is used not only for gardening but also as a learning aid for pollen.

“We want to plant local plants in the garden to provide food and shelter for insects – and we want to show examples of plants that can be added to the garden to support bees and butterflies,” said extension teacher Erin Garrett.

Donated by the Southern Illinois Autism Association, the garden also has a sensory garden designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Five high beds, each with a unique feel, are arranged in the center of the garden to provide an interactive gardening experience.

“This park is open to all to visit and practice,” Garrett said.

The latest increase in gardening is a barrier to keeping hungry animals out of production.

“We encourage members of the community to visit the garden,” Garrett said. Contact us if you are interested in helping us grow and care for our garden.

All products will be donated to Daystar: Private collection is not allowed.

To volunteer in Pilot Paradise, please contact Lensad Sadler, Garden Volunteer Coordinator at or 618-745-5200. People who need reasonable accommodation to participate will be asked to notify staff at the time of registration.

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