Giving back in more ways than one: AMT’s community garden, providing new kind of service

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)–When it comes to saving lives, Advanced Medical Transport (A.M.T.) does that on a daily basis in more than 60 communities. Now, they’re doing it in a new unique way.

A.M.T.’s new community garden is providing food for the Peoria community; the garden a recent addition to the facility off Sterling Avenue couldn’t be possible without a friend from EP!C.

Advanced medical transport (AMT) is giving back to the community in more ways than one. The central Illinois ambulance service taking up gardening.

“The idea came up for a community garden, that could produce food to be delivered to food pantries in the under served portions of our community,” said community resource manager, Josh Bradshaw.

Bradshaw says their making use of extra space leftover from their staff parking lot, which used to be the site of an old assisted care facility.

“We had the space, we had a partnership with Epic,” Bradshaw, said.

Through EP!C, a man named Brandon Lewis-Brown was introduced to A.M.T. He’s an aspiring botanist and EP!C individual, who grew up in agriculture.

“Without EP!C, I would never have figured out that this is what I wanted to do. When I went to work in the garden at EP!C, it just ticked, I enjoyed it,” Brown said.

Brandon works three days-a-week at the A.M.T. garden and enjoys being outdoors and seeing the progress on his tomatoes, snap-peas and other vegetables. He says its relaxing and rewarding experience.

“They’re just easy. When you get to know how to grow them, they’re easy,” Brown said.

All food grown in the AMT garden goes back into the Peoria community to under served zip codes of the city. This is an issue the Heart of Illinois United Way 2-1-1 center hears and sees all too often.

“We get calls all day everyday of food insecurity and people who don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said senior information and referral service, Domini Ardis.

For Brandon he gets to pursue his passion and make an impact in his community.

“I feel proud. I get to make a living off something while doing good for the community,” Brown said.

“This garden is beautiful he’s really done well. I’m very proud of him,” said his EP!C supervisor, Trenton Hostettler.

Bradshaw says they’ve loaded their first truck load of food and are thankful to have Brandon’s help expanding their garden.

“You can tell by the work he does out here, he loves what he does,” Bradshaw said.

He hopes another truck load will be ready soon. If you are in need of food reach out to the Heart of Illinois United Way 2-1-1 hotline or (309)-999-4029.

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