Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
When Jeff Duran, business process analyst, got married four years ago, he became interested in gardening. After seeing his wife’s hobby flourish into delicious produce, he thought he’d give it a try to spend more time doing things she enjoyed. Little did he know that one day he would have a green thumb himself and own nearly 1,000 plants.
Jeff is a self-described project guy with a heart for charity, so it was only a matter of time before he merged his two passions together: gardening and helping others.
Today, Jeff says his garden is simply massive. It’s made up of 100 tomato plants, 18 different types of peppers, 5 types of eggplants, 3 dozen cucumber plants, and some radishes, onions, herbs and other veggies.
When asked what he does with all of the crops he reaps, Jeff says he gives them away. “I like to use my hobby to make a positive impact,” said Jeff. “I love being able to give away and supply people with fresh, organic veggies.”
Jeff shares his bounty with his neighbors, church, people in need, and yes, even his coworkers. On any given day in July or August, Ozinga’s Mokena Office second floor kitchen table features a cornucopia of colorful, fresh, ripe veggies for all to take home. It’s Jeff’s way of making a positive impact on both his community and his coworkers.
“I’m happy to share the fruit, or veggies, of my labor,” said Jeff. “I’ve sent peppers to Chinatown and the Northside, and I love the idea of giving fresh veggies to the people I work with and their families.”
Despite being the veggie guru or connoisseur around the office, when the season isn’t ripe for harvesting, Jeff finds plenty of other ways to stay involved in his community.
He is part of Ozinga’s Community Builders program, a team of Ozinga volunteers focused on community involvement, and he’s actively engaged with his church where he helps mentor high schoolers. He enjoys spending time investing in students because he hopes to make a generational impact.
Next year, Jeff hopes to take his passion to new heights and formalize his garden to make it accessible to food banks to supply even more people with healthy food at no cost.
“I’m happy that I found something I enjoy and that it’s making a difference in someone else’s life,” said Jeff.