The Sustany Foundation kicked off the new year by sowing seeds to help two local communities grow – literally! As part of the Seeds to Sustenance Community Garden Grant program, Sustany provided a total of $1200 dollars in matching funds which will be used to get the gardens started.
On January 18, 2020, a $600 check was presented to Linda Swiger of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church. The team of volunteers which included Boys Scouts, AARP members and members of the congregation arrived at 9:00am and by noon, it was already starting to look like a working garden. The garden will have 25 plots and accommodate a retirement community across the street, three neighborhood schools and a new resident development. “One of the main goals is to promote intergenerational relationships among the neighborhood residents,” said Ms. Swiger.
Just a week later, on January 21, 2020, another eager group of volunteers from 1 Body Communities received their $600 check on a reclaimed field across from Oak Chase Apartments – the future site of their community garden. In addition to traditional plant beds and raised boxes, they also plan to have aquaponics. “The population served is below the poverty line, mostly refugees, section 8 housing, and single mothers with children,” said Lynette Frail with 1 Body Communities, “This garden will bring life and growth back to this community.”
“We are so excited to see an increased number of community and urban gardens,” said Kitty Wallace, founder and president of the Coalition of Community Gardens Tampa Bay. “We applaud both these leaders for their efforts to create a place that will not only provide fresh produce to the community but will also serve as a gathering place and educational resources for residents of all ages. This is exactly why the Seed to Sustenance Grant Program was put in place”
Created and managed by The Sustany Foundation, the Seed to Sustenance program provides matching funds up to $600 to groups or organizations that want to start a community garden. The application process is fairly simple but the group must be organized, have a plan and commit to following the “10 Steps to Starting a Community Garden” guidelines by the American Community Gardening Association. The Coalition of Community Gardens Tampa Bay provides technical assistance and offers mentoring and networking with other community gardens to ensure a healthy and verdant community resource for years to come.
The Sustany Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability initiatives in the Tampa Bay region and has served as the leading resource for the sustainable business community for over a decade. Through education, collaboration and impactful programs, we encourage responsible use of our natural resources to protect and preserve our unique quality of life now and in the future.
Photo 1: Check presentation at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
Photo 2: Newly built garden boxes at Forest Hills Above Ground Community Garden
Photo 3: Check presentation with 1 Body Communities at future site of community garden