Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who Else Wants Free Organic Vegetables? Our Inspiring Food Park Opening


I recently attended a fascinating lecture comparing the nutrient content of organic and non-organic produce down to the cellular level. I could bore you with detailed comparisons on the phenol and amino acid qualities but the main focus was on knowing where and how our food is grown.  Everyone should be mindful of where their food comes from, it's good for your health, community, and the planet. Bonus points if you actually know how to grow the green goodness, then you'll be a valued asset in the zombie apocalypse! Let's get the gardening creative juices flowing while looking at the opening of an awe-inspiring local community garden.


I've been volunteering with Our Fertile Earth a local non-profit organization dedicated to creating urban "food parks" all around Jacksonville, Florida. Using "permaculture" techniques that replicate how plants grow in their wild native environment we've created a productive food source and relaxing retreat for retired residents that won't need fertilizing or watering.


Okra, Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Basil, Mint, Swiss Chard, Kale, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruit, Eggplants, and many baskets of organic goodness are being bountifully produced in what was once a lot of half-dead grass sandwiched between two apartment communities.


It's so inspiring to witness. It sets me to dreaming of all the available plots of lands being cultivated as food producing spaces.


Can you imagine an eden, an oasis of food on every median or empty lot?


Can you imagine saving hundreds per month because we can step outside and pick fresh greens for our salads and smoothies daily?


I don't have a yard of my own, but I'm going to start gardens in the happily volunteered yards of friends and family; nourishing soil and bodies along the way.


Food can be free, even if you start with a single potted plant on the windowsill.


I'm excited to keep growing and learning from the garden- and eating the literal fruits of our labors!


I leave you with a beautiful local pumpkin variety, the seminole pumpkin! I'll stop here, I could post hundreds of photos from the garden if I don't check myself.

Do you garden? How do you like to grow or save money on food?
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22 comments:

  1. I want free vegetables! Thanks for the post.

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  2. You can't bore me! I try to tell people and I don't mean in a preachy "ohhh thats bad for you!" sorta way. But no one wants to hear aout how we strip the soil to such an extreme thats its only the chemical fertilizer that is feeding the vegetable. But then no one wants to hear why I don't eat animals either. Which is fine. But its nice to see a blog on one of my passions! One of the reasons I moved to Portland was this type of thing right here. The freedom to garden in a community garden. Which I fully plan on doing next season. In the meantime I have a *ton* of places to buy local organic and organic. And to make the trip even sweeter? They can't stick it in a plastic bag after I buy it because they are illegal in Portland. Win, Win!! Enjoy your beautiful garden!

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    1. Yaaay! :D Glad other garden/soil nerds can relate to this post. The chemical fertilizer/soil stripping issues kill me so I'll continue to help in the small ways I can; educate, grow, and nourish local soil for future generations. I can't wait to visit Portland one day to see all the gardens, organic produce and indie businesses in action. I want to continue to help start that movement here where there's plenty of land and soil (largest state in the US land-wise) and the education and healthy eats are REALLY needed.

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  3. Your post is very thought provoking. I don't "garden" much for a number of reasons. Did get a few tomatoes this year. Nice treat!

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  4. Your post is very thought provoking. I don't "garden" much for a number of reasons. Did get a few tomatoes this year. Nice treat!

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    1. It's not for everyone, there's a learning curve. I think even experienced gardeners will kill at LEAST one thing every year, but it's so rewarding even if you yield a small crop of basil. Speaking of which, got a metric ton of basil to turn into pesto this year!

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  5. I went to an event similar to this in Southern Ohio a few years ago. It was so fun! I wish I was a bit closer to your area. Just far enough away to be a gas hog of a drive.

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    1. I'm lucky the garden is about a 15 minute bike ride away. I want to go to more fairs and harvest events this season, though. We don't have the full portrait of a fall harvest available in North Florida where we don't have much in the way of seasons. Just winter and summer ;) Maybe a brief spring.

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  6. I love that dream catcher, is that what it is? Beautiful garden!

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    1. Yep, I believe so. I love it, too :D

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  7. I love this idea. It's like Community Garden Plots but better! It's very inspiring.

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    1. Thanks Nancy! Some say a true community garden is completely shared like this rather than individual plots.

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  8. I enjoyed the great pics and content!

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    1. Thanks Julie, means a lot coming from a pro photographer!

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  9. I sure miss our own huge garden back at the old house. Since we are renting, I am thinking of planting in pots next year. I love growing our own plants and fruits. It is so nice to be able to enjoy something you worked so hard for. It is always exciting to see the plants grow and finally ready to pick and eat. We sure save a whole lot with our own garden. :)

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    1. Agreed! I'm an apartment dweller too so I rely on community gardens and my friend's yards. :)

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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