University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener:
Flagler County Master Gardeners Help Feed the Hungry

Master Gardener Chuck Smarr with young volunteers
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Flagler County Master Gardeners are working with the Flagler County Department of Juvenile Justice Council to develop a community garden. This garden provides a hands-on opportunity for area youth to volunteer and acquire commmunity service hours while working to help feed Flagler County's hungry.  The Juvenile Justice Council adopted the development of the garden during Florida's DJJ Youth Success Week in April of 2009.

Under the leadership of Chuck Smarr, the Flagler Master Gardeners advise students on planting and harvesting vegetables at the community garden. So far, the garden has produced two full crops and more than 100 bushels of fresh vegetables and citrus which have all been donated to area food banks, like the Grace Tabernacle Food Pantry.

A young man and woman stand with vegetables in the garden
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The garden is one of two in Florida to receive the People’s Garden recognition from the United States Department of Agriculture. The People's Garden Initiative challenges USDA employees to establish gardens at their facilities or help communities create gardens.

In May, the community garden won a mini-orchard in the online "Communities Take Root" competition, sponsored by the National Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Edy's Fruit Bars. A dozen fruit trees and eight fruit-bearing bushes will be presented in November at a groundbreaking party to celebrate the planting.


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