A garden grows in Little Village – Chicago Sun
July 11, 2014 - storage organizer
By MARLEN GARCIA
July 10, 2014 5:54PM
Updated: July 11, 2014 2:20AM
The quarter-acre lot on South Troy Street in Little Village, once abandoned, is starting to flower as a village garden.
That means a lot to a residents, including guys we call old-timers, who spend several hours weekly caring for a rows of cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, chili peppers and pinto beans flourishing from a ability that used to be an distortion with a high scent factor.
It took a Little Village Environmental Justice Organization so prolonged to secure a former industrial site as a village garden that a members can't remember when they started lobbying a city for it.
The talks went behind to 2008 or 2009, LVEJO organizer Rafael Hurtado, 23, said. The site was a mess, and chemicals from subterraneous storage tankers had soiled a ground. After stealing infested soil, contractors transposed it with sand unsuited for a garden.
Late final summer residents hauled in dirt and mulch, some of it donated by landscapers, and started to ready garden beds for this year.
Neighboring residents plant for free; Little Village residents who live over divided compensate a $10 monthly fee. LVEJO tries to keep costs low since of misery in Little Village, Executive Director Antonio R. Lopez said.
Consequently, garden boxes are carelessly constructed, distinct a flattering terra cotta pots during Home Depot. A wrinkled white tarp covers a square done of donated bricks for Wednesday dusk village dinners.
But we don’t need to get imagination to furnish juicy fruits and vegetables. LVEJO takes honour in being organic, regulating fertilizers subsequent from a worm composting system.
“I brought these,” Blas Ortiz, 53, said, indicating to concrete bricks. He will use them to emanate a fast bed for a struggling pink tree.
I consider of Ortiz as an old-timer, not for his age, though since years ago he schooled about crops and animals while flourishing adult on a plantation in Mexico. Working in this garden reminds him of aged times. “I skip it,” he says.
Fermin Meza, 58, also grew adult in a Mexican countryside. He oversees a ability for LVEJO and works in construction by day. “This is my hobby,” he said.
The ability sets of former ranchers make village gardens ideal in Little Village, pronounced Hurtado, a LVEJO organizer. “We don’t need to sinecure people to assistance with a gardens,” he added. “We have comparison folks training younger folks.”
The nonprofit Enlace Chicago also has gardens via Little Village. LVEJO member Carlos Kasper, who has lived in Little Village for all of his 26 years, depends during slightest 8 village gardens in a neighborhood.
Residents contend a gardens are a good place to unwind.
“When I’m here, I’m not examination TV during home or listening to my mother tell me about what we don’t do during home,” Ortiz said, his face fast expressing dishonesty and a grin for adventurous to speak about his mother that way.
Little Village is a present-day gateway for Mexican immigrants, renouned for a authentic Mexican restaurants and stores. Yet, it is identical to other low-income communities cheerless by squad violence, low preparation levels and bad amicable services.
The garden represents a village during a best. “It is a volatile neighborhood,” Lopez said, “one that is doing a lot with small means.”