Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:
Most people don’t know you can grow gourmet vegetables right here in Chicago, where we have some of the world’s most fertile soil. But because of contamination with lead and other toxins in the soil, we should use raised beds for our urban gardening. That’s what I and other student members of Imagine Englewood If learned in our visit with polyculturalist Seneca Kern.
We visited Kern at Kilbourn Organic Garden in Logan Square, and the meeting had extra importance since Kern and the group Growing Home are in the process of starting an organic garden in Englewood.
I learned and experienced so many things I didn’t know about before, including things that will come in handy gardening. I learned that Illinois has very fertile soil, even though we usually don’t realize it because we are so busy throwing trash in parks and in landfills. Usually we just buy our food and throw it in the trash when we’re done, without even thinking about planting a garden and composting our food waste.
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