OREANDA-NEWS. June 19, 2012. Tata Sons and SOS Childrens Villages Illinois announced the creation of The Wellness Garden by Tata, a community garden project, in Chicago today.

The garden will be cultivated and nurtured by the youth who are being raised at SOS Childrens Villages Illinois and will serve Chicagos Auburn-Gresham and Englewood neighbourhoods. Through their hands-on work of growing and selling fruits and vegetables, they will learn about healthy eating and gardening, as well as develop entrepreneurial skills.

The garden will be formally inaugurated at a ceremony attended by the children, the staff, their families and representatives from Tata Sons, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Steel at SOS Childrens Villages Illinois.

The Wellness Garden by Tata will serve as a source of fresh, healthy produce for families living at SOS Childrens Village and the surrounding Auburn-Gresham community. Designed to foster and encourage healthy eating among residents, the programme ultimately seeks to address the challenge of inaccessibility of fresh produce within low-income areas throughout Chicago.

In addition to providing fresh produce to residents, the garden will offer educational programmes and teach gardening skills and basic entrepreneurial responsibilities to the children in the village. Through this programme, the children will experience the tangible benefits of their work through vegetable production, personal health and selling produce grown in the garden.

I am delighted to be able to help inaugurate this partnership between Tata and SOS, said R Gopalakrishnan, director, Tata Sons. This programme is truly remarkable. It offers the opportunity to address the immediate needs of the community, while simultaneously nurturing the talents and entrepreneurial spirit of the next generation. This approach speaks to the Tata legacy of our companies growing in step with our communities.

Tata has changed many lives around the world through their generosity and focus on education. We hope that this garden will be the first step in a growing relationship between Tata and SOS Childrens Villages that can help children all over the world, said Lynn Croneberger, chief executive officer, SOS Childrens Villages, USA.

Tim McCormick, chief executive officer, SOS Childrens Villages Illinois, stated, We are honored by the opportunity to partner with Tata because they share our commitment to positively impact the communities in which we work. SOS Childrens Villages Illinois has long advocated providing critical residential, educational, recreational and therapeutic services to Illinois most vulnerable children and families. Through our partnership with Tata, SOS Childrens Villages Illinois will better serve residents in Chicagos Auburn-Gresham and Englewood neighbourhoods and give children unique opportunities to grow into caring, productive and self-reliant adults.

As part of the partnership, Tata employees will have the unique opportunity to directly support the Village's residents through educational workshops, garden workdays and even a market day. SOS Childrens Villages Illinois will host six educational workshops for its clients and local community members between May 2012 and March 2013, focusing on nutrition, sustainability, wellness and gardening. In September 2012, the Village will host a special harvest dinner celebrating the accomplishments of the gardeners, providing certificates of achievement to volunteers and providing healthy meals using locally grown produce.

Tata companies have had roots in the mid-west for many years, especially in the Chicago area, and this programme will continue to strengthen our ties to the region, remarked Kapil Sharma, senior general manager, Tata Sons. Tata group has a longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life of the communities we serve, and we are very proud to be able to be part of this great initiative, he added.