Saturday, June 16, 2012

Groveland Volunteers Produce Community Vegetable Garden


Check out Teresa's an in-depth article on Edilble Landscaping featured in Green Builder magazine on "Edible Landscaping 02" pages 31 - 37.


Growing a Community - continuation of a Community Garden in Groveland.
"This is a new experience for me. Just to see these grow from the ground  --- it touches the soul."  
David Allen is speaking. He's talking about the community garden in Groveland's historically African-American community located south of State Road 50 and east of State Road 33. Allen is the younger of the two men who have taken on the daily care of the garden. His mentor and partner-in-gardening is Willy Dykes, who lives directly across the street from the South Street vegetable garden. As Dykes says of his gardening efforts, "It just makes me feel so good that I'm helping others and myself. They see things growing, big pretty greens, and they ask 'whose greens are these' and I tell them they're yours."  
Dykes estimates that 30 families in the community partake in the harvest from the garden: sweet potatoes, okra, peppers, Georgia collards ("the best," according to Dykes), scallions, Vidalia onions, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, rosemary, and spaghetti squash...  
Support for the garden is high in the community in which it is located, as evidenced by the fact that at the February CRA meeting, at which the spring planting was approved, an estimated 40 people from the community, many of them young people, came to the meeting as a show of support. As Allen said at the time, "They volunteered to come out tonight and show you that this is a real community." Speaking in a recent interview, he added "There is so much respect for that garden, it blows my mind." As Marie Damato says, "the community garden as been a community-wide effort."

See more pictures here.

October 1, 2011

Q. What do you get when a Community Redevelopment Agency joins together with volunteers?

A. A wonderful neighborhood vegetable garden.

City Councilwoman Evelyn Wilson came up with the idea of redeveloping a grassy park area into a community vegetable garden during a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting two years ago.  Finding encouragement from fellow Trilogy residents, Marie Damato and Dr. Linda Jacobsen, Wilson went to the City of Groveland to secure a grant. Along with partners B and H Consultants, Inc,  Zion Lutheran Church,  Thrinvent Financial, Wildflowers of Trilogy Garden Club, Wilson was able to get the city's urban project financed in 2010.

Dr. Jacobsen noted how she was organized finances for the community gardens:
"... along with other members of Zion Lutheran Church, we were able to obtain funding from Lake-Sumter Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for the 2010 planting. "
They were able to purchase plants, soil, raised beds, landscape timber, and hoses with the monies. The food, water, and other items needed were provided by Dina Sweatt and the city of Groveland.
This summer, the year-old community vegetable garden needed revitalization and a sustainable plan.

I designed the vegetable gardens to ensure successful maintenance and long-term future growth.  City staff and Smithwell, Inc. employees helped to remove the older landscape timbers, build the raised beds and prepare the overgrown gardens from the previous year.  Seeds and many of the plants were purchased through Thrivevent. Volunteers from the Thrivevent Financial for Lutherans, Zion Lutheran Church, the Wildflowers of Trilogy Garden Club, along with elected officials Mayor Mike Radzik, Vice-Mayor Jim Gearheart, District 3 Councilman Tim Loucks, CRA member Dina Sweatt, and former Councilman James Smith, helped to install the raised beds and mulched paths and then plant the vegetables that Groveland children grew from seed. HollyLou the clown, pumpkin decorating, making plant markers, and an inflatable bounce house entertained the children (and the Garden Club members). 

Vegetables and herbs planted included late summer and cool seasonal crops.  Cabbage, corn, collards, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, different kinds of peppers, okra, onions, rosemary, snow peas, spinach, and varieties of tomatoes, like Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple, and Super Sweet 100's. Cleome and salvia were used in the raised beds to fill in around the herbs. Fruit trees will be planted in the corner of the garden. A Kadota fig tree, Ficus carica, provided by Wendel Martinkovic, of Wendel's Farm & Nursery in Lake Panasoffkee, was planted. Wendel also donated the flowers and many of the vegetables from his permaculture nursery.  Assistance with mulch and garden soil were supplied by Reliable Peat of Leesburg.

Dr. Jacobsen said a huge grateful credit goes to Janet Shira of B and H Consultants, Inc for keeping all the diverse groups working cohesively together throughout the urban project.  More BIG thank-you's to all the volunteers and partners, those who helped on other days preparing the gardens, and today's planting day, including 8 year old Mollie Robinshaw, Master Gardener Barb Schroeder, Louise Willim, and Gigi Klemash from Thrivent Financial.

November events to celebrate the Community Vegetable Garden will include a Harvest Day and Picnic. The garden will be planted twice a year with spring and fall vegetables.  Future needs of the garden include arbors, fencing, irrigation system, signage, and fruit such as blackberries, apple, olive, peach, and pear trees.  If you would like to contribute assistance for this neighborhood project, please contact Janet Shira with B and H Consultants, Inc. in Clermont.

Preliminary Concept

Before and after photographs of the David Blanks Park Community Vegetable Garden.

Groveland Community Vegetable Garden

More great photos from Planting Day.

Read past Earth Shattering Gardening posts on vegetable gardens.

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