Last month we joined the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) and Eden Restoration Project in planting a food forest at Twin City Park in Waukegan, IL! When we heard about this project we knew we wanted to participate, and we were able to supply potted Apple, Serviceberry, and Redbud trees to be planted by volunteers in a community park. What’s special about this project, though, is that it’s not just planting trees to make a park more beautiful for the residents of the community – although that’s definitely important! The vision for this project was to begin to transform the Twin City Park into an urban food forest – a place for anyone enjoying the park to be able to find food! Urban food forests help combat climate change and food deserts, which are “a location lacking fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, in part due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or healthy food providers.”
While at the planting event we met Michael Brankin of Eden Restoration Project. He was thrilled to be adding so many fresh food options to the community! He is passionate about community gardens, reclaiming empty space for food to be grown, and gardening sustainably using wood chips to help heal the soil, provide nutrition, decrease watering needs, and help control pests and weeds. Eden Restoration Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 2018 aimed around getting fresh food into their communities around the northern Chicagoland area while being a unifying force for good in the world. Their website shares that, “Anyone can grow food, but how many focus on using it to bring the community together? At the Eden Restoration Project, we know that food is the great uniter. Food brings people together and fosters a sense of security, health, and togetherness. If we can inspire communities to work together for their own greater stability, then we’ve done our job.” What an awesome mission!
Through the hard work of Eden Restoration Project, CRTI, and a group of willing volunteers we were able to plant fresh food for generations to enjoy and add beauty and native habitat to the Twin City Park. We’re excited to see more projects like this in the future and look forward to continuing to partner with incredible organizations leading their communities towards a safer, healthier, and unified future!
~ Maggie Thomas Harper