What’s Growing On: Gainesville Giving Garden aims to help families struggling with food insecurity

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10.5% percent of all U.S. households have experienced food insecurity in 2019. That number has grown to 23% following the pandemic.

One Gainesville group is trying to make a difference on a local level by growing fresh, organic produce for low-income families.

The Gainesville Giving Garden is still in its ‘humble beginnings’. Meg Boria-Meyer, the head organizer of the garden, started this project in April 2021.

Numerous groups have helped start the project with Boria-Meyer. Beaten Path Compost is providing nutrient-rich soil for the crops, while IFAS is providing educational material for the garden and the recipients.

Developers of Grove Street provided the land for the garden to better the community, as it serves their mission and vision for further urban development.

Family Promise is the organization pairing the families with the Gainesville Giving Garden. Children of the families will even get a chance to learn about gardening through the process.

Related Story: ACPS free meal programs help feed children this summer

Boria-Meyer said she hopes to feed four to five families throughout the year following the harvest in the spring of 2022.

“On a weekly basis we will be collecting food from our own beds here, putting it neatly into bags, providing recipe cards- so that if there’s any sort of knowledge gap on how to actually use the food in these bags, it kind of addresses that specific area,” Boria-Meyer said.

She said aside from providing nutritious, organic vegetables and fresh eggs from her chickens, she aims to ease some of the stresses that low-income families may face.

“If anything, just the assistance in their day they know that they can rely on a little extra food in their kitchen. It allows them for more time in their day to spend time with their children, or take care of whatever they have going on,” Boria-Meyer said.

The growing U.S. food insecurity problem inspired Boria-Meyer to try to make a difference in her own community.

“Fresh, organic produce is somewhat exclusive to a specific income bracket, exclusive to specific opportunities. There are so many people that don’t have access to nutrient dense, quality, organic food,” Boria-Meyer explained.

The group is relying on donations for the time being, but will be searching for volunteers when it comes time to plant the vegetables.

A link to their GoFundMe can be found HERE.

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