Written and reported by Hannah Lutz.
Evanston residents may start spotting 150 gardens sprouting up around town.
Going along with Evanston’s effort to go green with urban gardening and sustainable living, Edible Evanston’s proposal of 150 edible gardens made the top 10 big ideas of the “Evanston’s 150” initiative to mark the city’s sesquicentennial.
“The 150 Gardens was really kind of a catchy outcome in trying to celebrate the 150th anniversary,” said co-leader Ken Kastman.
Edible Evanston’s mission is to grow local food sustainably, extend the growing season, create gardens around the community and donate excess produce. The nonprofit has contributed growing stations to local elementary schools, helped plant an orchard at Eggleston Park and contributed to a food-sharing program, in which members took a selection of their community gardens’ produce to Evanston food pantries.
The 150 Gardens Initiative is an extension of their previous work in Evanston. The group is inviting local residents and businesses to grow their own edible garden and tag it with a numbered yard sign to track the number of edible gardens in Evanston so far. Everything from a rooftop garden to container gardens to backyard gardens has already been planted in the area, according to Kastman.
Evanston gardeners have been growing all kinds of vegetables for the project, but Kastman said that the most popular growing choices are tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, squash, lettuce and herbs. Some gardeners, who seem to be a bit more adventurous, have grown sweet potatoes, sweet corn and pumpkins.
“It’s really the desire to have people eat healthy and grow healthy food and reduce the carbon footprint of the food produce that is grown,” Kastman said. “Locally produced food is generally grown organically, so you’re in control of the food you’re growing.”
Twenty-five residents have registered so far, but the project won’t stop at the end of 2013.
“Part of the Evanston 150 idea was to make things happen into the future and not just stop and the end of 2013,” Kastman continued. “We talked about extending it into the next year or so to get 150 as sort of an ongoing initiative for this group.”
Residents still interested in registering their gardens can contact Ken Kastman at email@example.com.