ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County, in partnership with Florida Organic Growers, Abundant Edible Landscapes, UF Young Entrepreneurs in Leadership and Sustainability, Home Depot and the Downtown Rotary Club, will plant an organic demonstration garden Saturday, July 10, 2010, at the County Administration Building on the corner of University Ave. and Main St. in Downtown Gainesville. The public is invited to view the planting and attend an address by community leaders with refreshments provided from local business owners at 10 a.m.
The Downtown Farmer’s Garden’s purpose is to provide food and inspire citizens to substitute purely ornamental plants with an edible landscapes. The area will be a living classroom for growing organic fruits and vegetables while providing fresh, healthy and local food to nutritionally disadvantaged communities. For the community, growing more fruits and vegetables locally reduces energy consumption and increases the area’s self sufficiency. Growing food is a critical part of building a resource efficient Alachua County.
“As a pilot project the garden represents a commitment to building a resilient community and will feature educational events on rainwater collection, edible landscaping, composting, and local food year round,” said Randall H. Reid, County Manager. Harvested fruit and vegetables will be shared with local food banks and charitable organizations.
“Access to good nutritious food is important for communities suffering from hunger and obesity problems,” said Sean McLendon Sustainability Program Manager. Recognized nationally, Alachua County has developed a Hunger Abatement Plan and is sponsoring ongoing Healthy Community Dialogues with its citizenry.
This demonstration garden was made possible by a $4,000 donation from the Downtown Rotary Club and partnerships with Florida Organic Growers and Abundant Edible Landscapes to help plant and harvest. Home Depot also donated garden tools. “These projects can’t succeed without the support of the community and our civic organizations,” said McLendon.
“Florida Organic Growers (FOG) through the GIFT Gardens program has installed raised-bed gardens at more than 200 sites in Alachua County since 2008 through generous funding from Alachua County’s Community Agency Partnership Program and the City of Gainesville’s Community Development Block Grant,” FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh said. “This is FOG’s first GIFT Garden installation at an Alachua County facility, and we look forward to working with the County and others to develop more edible landscaping in years to come to increase our community’s food security.”
"The opportunity to work with the County to establish an edible park for teaching people to grow food is exciting. There is a lot of potential for growing food all over Alachua County and this is just the start of creating a sustainable, local food system," Ryan Brouillard, co-owner Abundant Edible Landscapes, Inc.
For more information, contact Sean McLendon at 352-548-3765.