Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Bushong
Our volunteers are valued and appreciated! The January Volunteer Spotlight is Carol Bushong. Her passion for gardening and growing food as a resource started at a young age, as Carol grew up listening to family stories of her Irish ancestors starving during the Irish potato famine. Additionally, both sets of her grandparents lived through the Great Depression. Developing self-sufficiency through subsistence food production became incredibly important to them. As she lived with grandparents for an extended period of time, she essentially grew up in the gardens!
Carol retired from teaching in 2013 and stated taking horticulture classes at Kishwaukee College. She also volunteers once a week at Tails and at the front desk at Kishwaukee Hospital. Of course, as often as possible, she spends time hanging out with friends and family enjoying their company. Her hobby is participating in antique flea markets, which she has been doing for over 12 years. Her favorite markets are Oregon Women’s Club Show, Pecatonica, and Elkhorn Flea Market.
Even with her busy schedule, she still makes time for DeKalb County Community Gardens. Her favorite memory was at Little John Elementary. Bushong spoke to two little girls during a tomato and kale taste test session during the summer. During discussion, the girls advised what to plant for the next year, specifically they requested that she plant the “dino” and the “ruffled” kale next year. Most importantly, the kids seemed to have fun planting, watering and harvesting in the gardens.
Carol loves the quote by Jimmy Carter, “ My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, wherever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference”. She has a great spirit and feels that her volunteer experience has been rewarding. The fact that she is making an important difference for people in her community is the true motivation as a volunteer. Bushong says “This last summer was my best summer since I was a kid.” She spent almost all day every day outside working in one garden or another. She also feels that the people involved with DCCG are wonderful! “With DCCG, you do not have to be an experienced gardener to help, it is all about making time to help where and when you can help.” For future volunteers, she suggests to get started and give it a try. There is never going to be a best time or enough time. You need to make time for what is important.
Volunteer Spotlight Prepared by: Gladys Sanchez, NIU Intern with DCCG