Learning to live a full and contributory life usually includes lessons in how to tend one’s own garden.
The residents of the Avon Park Housing Authority’s Traditional Housing neighborhood take this literally as they work together to build and maintain a community garden, both as a source of food and as a lesson in cooperation.
The garden, which had a very productive yield, was helped by the expert instruction of Mike Jensen, Extension Director for the University of Florida Highlands County Agriculture Program, a division of the University’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
“Mike has been principally responsible in assisting the APHA staff and residents facilitate the creation and maintenance of what has turned out to be a very successful Community Garden initiative,” explained AHPA Executive Director Larry Shoeman. ” The Community Garden not only serves the practical use for growing & harvesting needed no cost vegetables for consumption by our very low income residents, it also provides them with the knowledge and skill to promote their goals to achieve self-sufficiency, improve their dietary health as staples for their families and instills a sense of pride that they can now grow their own food products.”
Money to begin the garden came through a Community Reliance Innovation Challenge Grant from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency and the garden’s development was aided by the Highlands County 4-H Clubs.