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Gibbon’s Little Town Gardens Receives $5,000 Grant to Expand Clean Produce Initiative for Cancer Survivors

Sep 22, 2020

(Rock Island, Ill.) – Family vegetable farm, Little Town Gardens, Gibbon, NE, has been named a Nation of Neighbors℠ national grant recipient by Royal Neighbors of America, one of the first and largest women-led insurers in the U.S. In Gibbon, what began as a small family garden plot has grown into an almost 4-acre farm that grows vegetables throughout the year. By employing aquaponic and clean growing methods, Founder Candace Benge can provide produce free of synthetic pesticides or herbicides to local farmer’s markets, restaurants, and also local cancer patients. Inspired by her stepmother, a breast cancer survivor, Ms. Benge has embraced a journey to learn how food is not only fuel, but aids in healing.

“Receiving this grant is just awesome!” says Ms. Benge. “When my stepmother was undergoing chemotherapy, her doctors really emphasized a diet of clean vegetables that were free of pesticides and herbicides as well as nutrient-dense vegetables like microgreens. This grant will help us provide outreach education for cancer patients who require specialized diets. We want to be able to grow the food they need to get well. We’ll also use a portion to expand our farm with another growing tunnel to increase our capacity and install plumbing to wash and pack the vegetables. It’s a way I can bless somebody with my talents.”

Curt Zeck, Chief Sales, Marketing and Product Officer, Vice President, at Royal Neighbors, will lead the virtual award presentation. “We are honored to be able to support the Little Town Garden project. Ms. Benge’s dedication to creating an organization to not only support cancer patients but build a unique farming business for her community is impressive. For more than 125 years, Royal Neighbors has sought to empower women to make a positive impact in their communities. Being able to provide financial support to local, boots-on-the-ground organizations like Little Town Gardens is more important than ever this year,” said Mr. Zeck.

Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that provides financial assistance to individuals who have a plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, more than $2 million has been awarded nationwide.

About Royal Neighbors of America
Royal Neighbors of America is a unique provider of life insurance and annuities whose mission is to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families, and communities. In 1895, Royal Neighbors was founded as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children and the importance of localized philanthropy. Headquartered in Rock Island, Illinois, with an operation in Mesa, Arizona, Royal Neighbors serves more than 215,000 members.


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Marie Young, Manager, Communications | (309) 732-8280

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