Community gardens are popping up all over the country in large cities as well as urban and suburban neighborhoods. Thanks, in part, to GreenFlorida.org, they are in the Tampa Bay area too.
What is a community garden?
Those who live in urban areas and apartment buildings who wish to grow a garden, often don’t have the opportunity because of where they live. Vegetable gardening could be especially important in very poor neighborhoods since this could be a source of healthy foods for growing families.
Tampa’s community gardens
Within the City of Tampa, Mary Mulhern of the Tampa City Council, District 2 has been a proponent of community gardens for several years and has spoken at City Council meetings numerous times about the benefits of these gardens.
Community gardens bring neighbors together
These neighborhood gardens are organized, usually by local representatives from the neighborhood: local residents seek a piece of land that can be leased or donated to the community for a garden and depending on the circumstances, members can pay a small yearly fee to help defer some of the costs involved in obtaining the property. This yearly membership allows the member a small plot of land in that garden where they can plant vegetables and flowers for their own enjoyment.
Community gardens are more than just piece of land, however. Within in these fenced off pieces of land, neighborhoods come together and people share; both their stories and their experiences of successes and failures in their gardening adventures. In some of these gardens neighbors trade off excess vegetables with other neighbors for crops that they are lacking in.
A sense of community seems to be just what some folks look forward to as much as the harvests that their garden brings.
Tampa Bay Area neighborhood gardens
Community gardens can be found in the following neighborhoods, to get involved, contact a garden representative in your neighborhood:
In Old Seminole Heights the garden is Seminole Heights Community Garden. Contact Robin Milcowitz for more information at [email protected]
In Sulphur Springs the garden is the Community Stepping Stones. Contact Ed Ross at [email protected]
In Ybor Heights, the garden is The Eden Project. Contact Natalia Dengler Bair at [email protected]
In St. Petersburg, Bartlett Park has a community garden sponsored by Green Florida. Contact Andrea Hildebran at [email protected]
In the USF area is the USF Botanical Gardens. Contact Kim Hutton at [email protected]
Local businesses are helping out where they can as well. Mother’s Organics, Willow’s Herbal Delights at 813-643-7285 and the Sweetwater Organic Farms all give aid to the community gardens projects.
If you live in an area not serviced by these gardens and you’d like to start your own community garden, contact your local city council for information to see if there are any requirements or restrictions in your area. For additional information, contact the American Community Garden Association about the local harvest project or the National Gardening Association.
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