Gulfport Food Forest Restored with Sustany® Mini-Grant

Planting fruit trees on public lands is like planting a renewable source of joy and wonder for all,” is how Crea Egan sees her sustainable project, the Gulfport Food Forest (GFF). Egan is a landscape architect who has been interested in public art installations mixed with landscape since college. Planting fruit trees on public land boosts food security, along with wildlife enhancement. The Sustany® Foundation awarded Egan a mini-grant after she met David Reed at last year’s Sustainable Buzz, the outdoor celebration of sustainability held along Tampa’s waterfront every November. A drought imperiled Egan’s project, which she had created to provide for current and future residents of Tampa Bay’s Gulfport Community. Egan used the Sustany® mini-grant to create a user-friendly irrigation system with new hoses to cover 800 feet of hand watering, watering cans and buckets, as well as repair kits. The grant allowed the project to continue while Egan waited for a City approved system with a professional irrigation system.

Sustainability involves communities, and Egan recruited volunteers from surrounding colleges, garden clubs, vegan groups, and Gulfport residents. Please visit the Tuesday Fresh Market where you can find Egan, who teaches food forestry and sustainable living— using her proceeds to benefit the food forest.

Thanks to Egan, Sustany®’s mini-grant, and volunteers, the Gulfport Food Forest provides a watershed with pioneer trees of oak, pine, and sable palm, creating an understory for cardinals, flickers, and other birds. Bicyclists and dog walkers enjoy the GFF from its home in the city’s multi-use Clymer Park. Egan is currently working on a master management plan with a 1- and 5-year growth proposal, using Eckerd College interns in 2018 who will build several landscape features.

Egan believes we can cultivate and sustain community peace when we care for the earth and share the surplus the earth provides. Thank you to Egan and to the Sustany® Foundation’s mini-grant program for creating the Gulfport Food Forest.

Please visit her project, and visit Sustany® at tonight’s Buzz in downtown Tampa.

 

Article contributed by Walker A. Willis