Wednesday, September 6, 2017 || Photos by Spooner Baumann/Spooner Photography || @maywoodnews
Christopher Epps, 36, is the full-time gardener who is slowly, deliberately making the Proviso Partners Giving Garden the start of what he hopes will be a paradigm shift in how Proviso Township residents relate to the food they eat.
On Madison St. in Maywood, right across the street from Proviso East High School and adjacent ReUse Depot, Epps has cultivated an organic produce oasis. Last month, photographer Spooner Baumann visited Epps to document his work in the garden.
In an interview in July, Epps said listed the produce he’s growing: Carrots, egg plants, bell peppers, jalapeños, yellow and blue watermelons, collard greens, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, tomato, rhubarb, basil, cilantro, dill and more.
“I’m aiming to grow 4,000 pounds of [food],” Epps said in July. “Right now, I’m at, like, 487. At this rate, I might get more than 4,000 pounds.”
Epps is paid through a grant acquired by Proviso Partners for Health and secured from Trinity Health. His goal? “To teach all of the kids in the area how to grow food.”
“This was a trial period,” Epps said of the garden, adding that if all goes according to his ambitions, the Madison Street garden will be the first of 13. He plans to set down 12 more gardens in Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood over the next three years.
“The idea is to make Proviso Township a sustainable food hub,” said Epps. “Some people have to leave outside of the township just to get food and it shouldn’t be that way. You can have a neighborhood that way but you can never have a community that way.” VFP
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