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 Shepard High School seniors Saniah Calvin, Laila Todd and Arianna Esquivel created a community garden at Christ United Methodist Church in Alsip. (Supplied photo)

Shepard High School seniors Saniah Calvin, Laila Todd and Arianna Esquivel created a community garden at Christ United Methodist Church in Alsip. (Supplied photo)

3 Shepard seniors create community garden

Community contribution

Aware that people in their community either cannot afford or find fresh produce, three seniors from Shepard High School in Palos Heights developed a community garden at Christ United Methodist Church in Alsip.

“We first came up with the community garden project in the beginning of the summer. I’ve always been passionate about food deserts and the idea of providing people with fresh healthy foods. I knew I couldn’t do this alone so I invited Laila and Arianna,” Shepard senior Saniah Calvin said.

Laila Todd and Arianna Esquivel, two friends who possess previous gardening experience, joined her in the planning.

“They’re also passionate about helping the community and making a change in the world. With all of that in mind, I talked to my pastor and asked if we could do a community garden in our church’s backyard,” she said.

Shepard teacher Gia Mallet has taught all three students. The amount of work involved impressed her.

“I could not believe they did this all themselves,” Mallet said.

The students built boxes for the six garden beds in about two weeks.

They placed old cardboard under the beds to separate the planting soil from the ground. They laid mulch around the beds “to give the garden a better look and feel. The days were long and hot, but nevertheless it was a fun process. And the results were worth it,” she said.

They plan to expand the garden next spring “but we’re trying to get everything organized and sort it out this winter so that we’ll be fully prepared next spring. Donations of any kind or even recognition (so that people can see this and possibly donate) will be really appreciated. Maybe we can create a GoFund Me or something of that nature,” she added.

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