All posts by trinaryan2019

Veggie co-op in North Lawndale brings fresh produce to residents with dietary restrictions

By Trina Ryan
Medill Reports

On a breezy Saturday afternoon, Reynaldo Engram arrives at work early to sift through boxes of carrots. He performs this task with painstaking precision, holding each carrot up to the light, rubbing his thumb slowly over its dirt-speckled orange skin. As hub assistant at Farm on Ogden, a spacious agriculture facility on the West Side of Chicago, Engram’s responsibilities include anything from watering plants to sweeping floors to cleaning bathrooms. “I do what I’m asked,” says the 59-year-old, smiling. But today he has an important job, one he takes seriously: inspecting produce for defects. He wants to make sure the most attractive-looking vegetables go out to his neighbors of North Lawndale.

“I want everyone to feel as strong and healthy as I do,” he says. “Not too many folks around here can say they feel that way at my age.”

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Aaron Rabkin just wants to perform

By Trina Ryan
Medill Reports

Aaron Rabkin can’t stop moving. The Chicago’s Boystown magician has less than an hour to prepare for his show—a one-man act he performs four nights a week at his small, storefront theater called Trickery. Bustling from room to room, he takes mental inventory of what needs to get done. He starts by running a vacuum over an oriental rug in the waiting area, his arm moving back and forth at a brisk clip. At 29, he is boyishly handsome: large brown eyes, dimpled cheeks, a mile-wide smile. He’s dressed, as he often is, in a solid-colored T-shirt, black skinny jeans and sneakers. A self-proclaimed introvert, he performs alone and runs his business alone. He would rather shoulder all responsibilities himself, he tells me, than entrust them to someone who doesn’t share his same enthusiasm and intensity.

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