Community Gardens Spring to Life | News

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Community Gardens Spring to Life

JACKSONVILLE- There are 61 Community Gardens In Northeast Florida including one in downtown Jacksonville right next to the Clara White Mission.  Clara White Culinary students tend to this garden daily. "You're seeing them come out of the ground. see the green top parts," says Clara White Executive Chef Donna Fritsche as she points to young Yukon Gold potatoes.

The students take the veggies out of the ground, prepare them in the Clara White kitchen and then serve the food to those who are less fortunate.  Fritsche teaches her students how to identify the vegetables as they grow and when they're ripe to pick. "Peppers, eggplant, green beans, yellow squash, cucumbers. This is just going to be exploding in a couple of months," she says.

Not only do Chef Fritsche's students benefit but also UNF students who help set up the garden a few years ago.  "Through their participation and volunteerism with the garden they get to see individuals who are economically challenged and they get to witness programs such as the Clara White Mission who's aim is to mitigate the effects of poverty," says UNF Economics Professor Chris Johnson

Kate Salz of Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens says the farm to table movement has been catching on in America. It's a way for people to take control of the food they eat while at the same time helping their bank accounts.

"An individual family will come in and tend a plot and that's just for them to take home. Some of the plots around the city are dedicated to food pantries. They have a relationship that the food they grow comes out and goes directly to them and they can turn it around and give it to their clients," says Salz.

Salz says people can get involved in growing and harvesting a community garden by visiting The Friends of Northeast Florida Community Gardens website.   




















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