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FOG develops “Learning Garden” at Fred Cone Park Community Garden to engage and educate Gainesville youth

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A cotton harvester – an example of the modern mechanization of agriculture.
Photo credit: Kimberly Vardeman

As FOG’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, part of my interest is to contribute to developing a strong local food system. What does this mean? First, allow me to say that it is telling of how far removed from the source of our food we have collectively become that we need to use and define terms like “food system.” Simply put, a food system is how we obtain our daily bread. This includes the phases of growing, processing, packaging, and distribution.

Like many other aspects of our modern world, our food system has largely become industrialized and globalized. That is, the production and distribution processes rely on energy-intensive practices and a worldwide network of growers and distributors. While the technological advancements we see around us are amazing, there is a price to pay, particularly when it comes to food.

Although there are benefits of a globalized, industrialized food system, like eating tropical fruits out of season from around the world, there are also many costs. Costs to nutrition, the environment, economy, and equality. With a global network of food producers and distributors, how can it be that many people now have less access to fresh, nutritious foods than in previous generations?

The answer lies in the centralization of food production and distribution. Depending on access to these markets, physically and economically (or a lack thereof), community members may be left languishing in a food desert. A food desert is an area defined by the absence of access to fresh, whole foods. For those of us living in Gainesville, we don’t have to look far. Much of Gainesville (see map) is considered a Food Desert according to US Department of Agriculture statistics (shown as blue areas) defined as low-income Census tracts where a significant number or share of residents is more than 1 mile (urban) or 10 miles (rural) from the nearest supermarket[i]. One solution for addressing food deserts is to increase food production through community gardens. This increases access to fresh foods by growing them where they are eaten, condensing the food system to the local or even neighborhood scale. In addition to improved access, community gardens provide many ancillary benefits as well, such as increased public green spaces, community engagement, and fostering intergenerational interaction and learning.

In 2010, FOG produced a report detailing a Local Food Action Plan for Gainesville and Alachua County, funded through the USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program and the Lydia B. Stokes Foundation[ii]. As part of a larger strategy to address the number one recommendation in the Plan, to increase food security by increasing food production, a three-pronged approach is presented, including:

  • Develop centralized urban garden network that will increase access to information, education and resources for gardeners.
  • Develop neighborhood-based gardening groups to facilitate easier access to information, education and resources.
  • Select targeted low-income neighborhoods, schools and/or faith-based organizations to focus on improved gardening capabilities.

Recently, FOG has partnered with the freshly established Fred Cone Park Community Garden to commence an organic Learning Garden, with the financial support of Lucky’s Market, geared specifically towards youth age 5 – 12. It is our desire that this Learning Garden will play a part in addressing the goals outlined above to develop a strong and vibrant local food system in Gainesville and Alachua County. Specifically, we seek to engage youth in organic gardening, reinforce school curriculum related to ecology and biology, teach financial and economic literacy, and share effective communication practices. We hope that the “FOG Learning Garden” will contribute to a robust network of gardens in the neighborhoods of East Gainesville with the support and engagement of community partners like the Greater Duval Community Garden, Eastside High School Institute of Culinary Arts, UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program, and others. This network will bring greater accessibility to fresh food that is both affordable and familiar to community members. In a world full of seemingly endless problems, community gardens offer a suite of solutions for the challenges facing our youth and communities.

For a list of community gardens in Gainesville, please visit the Community Gardens page of the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs website. Grow Gainesville offers another great resource for community gardens and available local food. They also have an active Facebook page dedicated to discussions related to food production in Gainesville.
–Tyler Nesbit is FOG’s Education & Outreach Coordinator.  Drop him a line at tyler@foginfo.org.

 

 

[i] https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas/

[ii] Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. 2010. “Community Vision for Food System Development in Gainesville-Alachua County: A Local Food Action Plan” (Available online: http://www.foginfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FOGLFAP2010.pdf)

FOG celebrates 30 years of supporting organic and sustainable agriculture!

30 year logo_transparentFOG has carried out its mission for 30 years by providing communities throughout the state with programs and resources that promote and support organic and sustainable agriculture and local and just food systems.

From beginning as a grassroots organization with the office located in someone’s kitchen or an unused corner of a barn to an established organization with programs that educate producers, consumers, institutions and governments about the benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture , Florida Organic Growers has continually made an impact in communities around Florida.

Our EBT program promotes healthy eating by allowing the local farmers market  to accept food stamps. Our Fresh Access Bucks program increases the purchasing power of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by providing a one-to-one match for Florida grown fruits and vegetables.

Our farmer workshops educate and equip farmers with the tools and resources they need as well as the opportunity to share best practices. These farm-based, peer teaching events act as an opportunity to share best practices  and further develop the network of like-minded farmers in Florida.

Food justice advocacy is vital to who we are and for the last 30 years. FOG’s programs in increasing access to healthy, fresh food for low income families, educating youth on the importance of eating produce and advocating for policies that improve conditions for organic and family farms are all important contributions to food justice advocacy. In addition, we are proud to be a co-founder and to continue to support the work of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) whose mission is to work towards empowerment, justice and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail.

EBT pictureIn 2001, FOG received its USDA accreditation to certify farms as organic under its certification program, Quality Certification Services (QCS). QCS is a USDA and ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 accredited certification body that offers a wide array of certification options for farming, livestock, aquaculture, compound animal feed, packing, handling, processing, and wild harvest operations. We are excited to offer certification options to farms and producers to set them apart.

Our involvement on a national scale has propelled the fight for the organic food and farming movement.

FOG is one of the leading organizations in the nation ensuring the voices of small farmers are heard as new federal food safety regulations are being developed. Our work with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG), to name a few, has given strength and momentum to organic and sustainable farmers moving forward.

We invite you to support us as we are excited to see our work in action this year and making an impact in years to come!

Perspective from a Food Justice Certified Farm: Farmer Jordan Brown

Perspective from a Food Justice Certified Farm: Farmer Jordan Brown, Grows Organic and Food Justice Certified Mixed Vegetables and Fruit in North Central Florida

 

On Food Justice Certification:

A few years ago I heard about this certification and looked into it and saw what it stood for. I felt like it would be a good fit for our farm and would be a good way to let people know that our farm was trying to do things a little different than other farms in regard to the workers. Different than what I have seen on other farms. 

Food Justice Certification is important to me because it’s the only way, as far as I know, to certify that anything we’re doing labor-wise. We’re trying to pay people a living wage, have a safe and respectful work environment and trying to offer people some minimal benefits that would be associated with most jobs, but are not common in agriculture. We give people a few paid holidays off and we pay two hours a week of sick pay so it can be added up and they don’t have to worry about missing work. At the end of the season they can collect a check which lets them take off a couple of weeks. We offer all the produce they care to take from the farm. One of the long term goals is to offer overtime pay.

On Price to Farmers:

Pricing is the biggest obstacle to providing more benefits to workers. Right now, in my experience as a family-sized farm in the south, there is no retailer who is willing to pay more for produce for this certification. At least in the wholesale market, there’s no buyer who is willing to pay extra for produce that is grown without mistreating people.  Any kind of benefit always comes down to money in produce, and America is based off of the lowest possible cost of production at any given time and whoever is doing it cheapest is who sets the market price. The way we are farming now, the cost of living goes up every year so the cost to farm every year gets more expensive. A lot of piece work farms, at least here in Florida, remain stagnant. Back in the 80’s workers got paid $1.25/flat to pick strawberries and now they get between a $1-$1.30.

Having more farms participate in Food Justice Certification will help grow a greater awareness of the labor practices and unfair working conditions in the agriculture sector across America. Ultimately, more farms getting this certification will bring more money back to the farm and the farmer. Real change is needed in the farm labor sector and will happen in one of two ways: wholesalers taking smaller margins or higher prices at the retail counter that reflect the actual cost of food grown with truly sustainable practices that are good for the people and the planet.

People generally don’t care about any type of injustice until they are confronted with it and I think that if more consumers understood the injustices that happen to farm laborers in America and how difficult of a job it is for such a little amount of money, perhaps the Food Justice label would help open peoples’ eyes to those injustices. People are often willing to pay a little more when they understand that it will benefit someone else tremendously.  People all over America are paying $10-$14/lb for coffee because they think it helps get money back to that small farmer in Latin America. But people may not want to pay an extra dollar for lettuce or something here. The greatest obstacle is drumming up enough money to make payroll every week.

On the Growth of His Farm:

The growth of our farm, from being a real small operation to where we are now, is closely tied to Food Justice Certification. It helped me get more organized because FJC standards required me to start running payroll, get workers comp, filing taxes, and start keeping better records. It took some time to get everything in order and get organized because we do have to meet a lot of guidelines, at the same time, I think that organizational component has greatly benefited the farm. There are lots of larger farms that are already very organized and keep records the way we do, but they wouldn’t meet the FJC standards because of their on-farm practices.

On the Recent Move of His Farm:

Moving from Bell to Gainesville, retail sales will determine the health of our farm. As organic vegetable farms get bigger and bigger the only way for farms our size to stay in business is to move to retail sales, and having this certification sets us apart from all the other farms. In the local food scene, this is something that nobody really talks about and every farmer says they pay their employees well and treat workers with dignity, but that’s not always the case. I was exposed to agricultural injustice from farmers that I know around here. Abuse can be anywhere on any size farm. Success for us comes from the folks who come to our stand or sign-up for our CSA because they know we’re a FAIR farm and want to support good work.

The Family Garden

Jordan Brown farmed for 8 years on 25-acre farmland in Bell, Florida. His farm, The Family Garden, relocated in 2015 to Gainesville, Florida on 20-acres in the southeast of town where they are growing mixed vegetables, while maintaining their fruit production on the property in Bell. The Family Garden strives to improve the land with good environmental stewardship and to treat employees’ right, all while growing quality products at a reasonable price. “We try to have a good work environment and pay a wage people can live on.” The Family Garden produce is available locally through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, local restaurants, and farmers markets, as well as being sold wholesale throughout Florida. “As my workers and I learned together about AJP’s social justice standards, I became even surer that I had made the right decision for my farm and the people who work alongside me and my family here,” said Farmer Jordan Brown. “We’re taking a big step together, being the first farm in the southeast U.S. to participate in this program,” said Brown. “I’ve learned a lot from the process and am excited to see the program grow.”

Introduction to Food Justice Certification

AJP FJC logo

Introduction to Food Justice Certification

Fairness – in payments to farmers for their products, in pay and working conditions for farmworkers – is included in the four principles of organic agriculture, though left out of the National Organic Program.  The Agricultural Justice Project’s Food Justice Certification is one way to ensure fairness is happening on and for organic farms.

The market is shifting towards a fair and healthy food system for the people that work the land, in addition to the land itself. Consumer demand for ethical purchasing is on the rise with 31% looking for fair trade food labeling (Consumer report 2014).

What does the Food Justice Certification program represent?

  • Rigorous environmental requirements for biodiversity, soil health, and animal welfare through application of Organic Certification standards
  • Third-party certification
  • Highest standards for fair and ethical labor and fair trade practices
  • IFOAM and ILO principles of social justice
  • Truth in labeling and transparent policies
  • Governance by food system stakeholders

Food Justice Certification is a domestic fair trade label created by the Agricultural Justice Project.  You can read the standards and policy manual on the AJP website. For evaluations of the Food Justice Certified label and program visit the Fair Facts program of the Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA) and the Greener Choices program of Consumer Reports.

Find extensive resources for farmers in the online tool-kit:

  1. A self-assessment check list so a farmer can evaluate readiness for FJC
  2. A self-assessment check list for fair pricing
  3. A downloadable template for labor policies so that a farmer can quickly create a set of employee guidelines that are FJC compliant
  4. Intern learning contract examples
  5. Resources on calculating production costs as basis for pricing that fully covers these costs
  6. A guide to fair contracts

For a guide to the certification process, please read our Steps to Certification.

Taste the Fairness in North Central Florida’s Watermelons

It is as hot as it gets in North Central Florida.

While most farmers are done with their season, their fields planted with cover crops, and most farmworkers have gone north for the summer farm season, Jordan Brown is picking watermelon alongside his workers.

It is no easy task getting them to the cooler and ready for grocery store shelves and CSA boxes, each watermelon ranging from 15 to 17 pounds. But at the end of the picking row, refreshing watermelon awaits and everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor together – farmer and farmworker side-by-side.

FJC_Farm_1footby1foot (2)What is more meaningful to Farmer Brown is knowing that everyone working in the field is treated with respect and paid a living wage. Something that is rare in most American fields where deplorable working conditions continue and family farmers, trying to uphold principles of stewardship for land and people, are experiencing the increasing consolidation of power and market share in the hands of a few corporate food businesses. To Brown, the purpose of farming sustainably was not only to ensure that environmental stewardship is met, but that human decency is upheld to the highest degree.

Jordan Brown has been farming for eight years on his 25-acre farmland in Bell. His farm, The Family Garden, has staked their commitment to social justice by meeting the gold standards for domestic fair trade through Food Justice Certification (FJC).

Jordan’s produce is 100% Organic and 100% Food Justice Certified through third party verification programs.

When purchasing FJC products you can support a healthy food system that includes:

  • Rigorous standards for respectful treatment of farm employees
  • Fair pricing for farmers
  • Fair and equitable contracts for farmers and buyers
  • Clear conflict resolution policies for all throughout the food chain
  • A ban on full-time child labor together with full protection for children on farms
  • Living wages for employees
  • Safe working conditions
  • Commitment to continual improvement
  • Environmental stewardship through organic certification

Visit Ward’s Supermarket or Citizens Co-op in Gainesville to buy The Family Garden watermelons this season!

The Family Garden also sells to Global Organics who distribute fresh produce to the greater southeast region, Fresh 24 Market in Orlando, Homegrown Organics serving Gainesville and Ocala areas and Local Fare Farm Bag North serving the greater Jacksonville area.

You can also support fairness in the food system by visiting your local restaurants and requesting dishes made with Food Justice Certified ingredients! In Gainesville, that includes: The Top and Civilization restaurants.

The Agricultural Justice Project aims to bridge the gap between environmental stewardship of the land to include stewardship of the people who work the land and bring the food to our tables.

Food Justice Certified is unique as it is the only third party verification program to cover U.S. farmworkers and farmers, as well as other food system workers working in distribution centers, grocers, manufacturing – all links of the supply chain from farm to table. Standards and the verification process for the Food Justice Certified label were stakeholder developed and included farmers and farmworker representatives in a consensus-style governance structure. It is also uniquely a collaborative program that recognizes that improving conditions for farmworkers in the U.S. needs to include improving the terms farmers receive in selling goods.

For further information about the Agricultural Justice Project or Food Justice Certification, visit www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org.

Thank you for your commitment

Letter from Florida Organic Growers Executive Director Marty Mesh

As 2014 comes to a close, I want to reflect on this year’s accomplishments while looking forward to our exciting new plans for 2015.

First, we want to thank our members for their support as they have been vital to the success of our programs and services throughout the state.

If you aren’t already, we would love to have you join us as a member.

A few highlights from 2014 include:

  • Our Fresh Access Bucks program is active at 20 farmers markets across the state enabling SNAP participants to purchase double their food dollars for Florida grown fruits and vegetables. Learn more about the participating farmers markets!
  • Since its inception, Porters Community Farm in Gainesville harvested 2,018 pounds of fresh produce for charity and logged more than 2,500 volunteer hours.
  • Our GIFT Gardens program built raised bed vegetable gardens at 21 sites for low-income families and the institutions that support them in the last six months.
  • Our EBT program continues to increase access to healthy foods for by accepting food stamps at two local farmers markets in Alachua County.  SNAP transaction
  • We hosted four of farmer workshops around the state that were attended by more than 40 people. The goals of the workshops were to increase knowledge of sustainable growing practices and to train beginning farmers.
  • We have worked to ensure the voices of small farmers were heard as new federal food safety regulations were developed with the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill and the reauthorization of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
  • We partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to facilitate the Organic Certification Cost Share program.
  • We worked with national and state agencies and organizations such as the Department of Health’s Healthiest Weight Initiative, Florida’s Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition, the Department of Agriculture’s Food, Nutrition and Wellness Division, the Farmers Market Coalition, Wholesome Wave and the University of Florida IFAS Extension offices to further organic farming and increase access to local food within the state.
  • We teamed up with Georgia Organics to host the 17th Annual Georgia Organics Conference Green Acres: Saving the Planet One Bite at a Time, one of the largest sustainable agriculture expos in the South in February on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Nearly 1,000 attended the event.

IMG_4876

  • In partnership with Discover You Can: Learn, Make, ShareTM, we held six food preservation demonstrations at two farmers markets in Alachua County in June – the Union Street Farmers Market and the Alachua County Farmers Market.
  • We partnered with three other organizations to host the First Annual Florida Local Food Summit at the East End Market in Orlando in October. More than 150 of our state’s farmers, foodpreneurs, consumers and policy makers attended the event.

A few exciting plans for 2015:

  • FOG, along with other peer organizations, will host the Florida Local Food Summit. Date, time and location to be determined. Stay tuned!
  • Porters Community Farm is excited to launch a weekly after school program in coordination with the Porters Community Center. Porters will be an outdoor, living laboratory for students to learn about science through gardening and urban farming.1375049_468220446624739_143371675_n
  • Thanks to support from the City of Gainesville’s Community Development Block Grant, Porters will also launch a youth crew program and hire three neighborhood youth to work at the farm as paid interns in the spring.
  • We will be hosting on-farm workshops throughout the state that will cover sustainable crop production methods such as soil fertility, disease and weed management, irrigation, cover cropping, transitioning from conventional to organic practices, marketing, agricultural policy issues, and organic certification.
  • We will continue the Downtown Farmers Garden workshops and community work days. Spring workshops will be officially posted by February 2015 on our website, through the Organic Beet and on the Downtown Farmers Garden Facebook page.
  • Our Fresh Access Bucks program will expand to at least 30 farmers markets in 2015 improving food access for Florida’s underserved communities and providing added revenue to our state’s farmers.

We will continue to strengthen our relationships with state agencies and allied nonprofits to work collaboratively to provide access to healthy, local food for all.

We need you to join us in this good food movement.

Join today or give a gift membership!

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

For our future,

Marty Mesh
Executive Director

Farmer Friday: Food Justice and The Family Garden

Do you believe in dignity, respect and human rights? This Farmer Friday, we will chat about food justice in the farm system. 

Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.

We encourage you to join us as a member to allow us to continue this invaluable work.

Food Justice: Fair treatment for all who labor in the food and farm system

Buying organic is important not just for your personal health and the health of the land, but also for the health of those who work in the fields growing that food.  However, there are other challenges in our food system when you start looking through a social justice lens.

Did you know farmworkers are exempt from some of the labor laws that protect almost all other workers in the United States (e.g., such as right to overtime pay and right to organize)?

Farm work is consistently one of the top three most dangerous jobs in the United States and also one of the lowest paid jobs, with an average annual income of between $12,500 and $15,000 for an individual and $17,500 and $20,000 for a family.*

These statistics are shocking yet very real.

photo3In 1999, recognizing that the U.S. National Organic Program’s standards did not address the people involved in organic agriculture, FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh collaborated with other nonprofits working to create equity and fairness in our food system to begin a stakeholder process to develop standards for the fair and just treatment of the people involved in organic and sustainable agriculture. The group called the effort the Agricultural Justice Project(AJP).

AJP seeks to set the bar high for social justice in the food system and transform the dominant food system that has failed its farmers and workers into one where human rights and dignity are valued and rewarded, right alongside protection of natural resources.

AJP created a domestic fair trade food label, called Food Justice Certified, which is backed and governed by food system stakeholders. Food Justice Certification is unique in the high level of integrity set by the comprehensive standards, the non-proprietary approach, and the inclusion of farm worker organizations in the inspections.

The Family Garden, a 25-acre Certified Organic farm located in Bell, was the first farm in the south to apply for the Food Justice Certified label. BrownFamily_cropped

“I want to grow food as respectfully and honorably as I can,” said Jordan Brown, owner of The Family Garden. “I have experienced positive feedback from many of our customers and others in the community in regards to our Food Justice Certified label. The positive feedback has helped us establish more loyal customers.”

“I am glad there are organizations working together to create a certification, to have a third party come in and verify what the farms are saying and create a level of accountability.”

To further advocate for farmworker rights, FOG, along with AJP and Little Bean Productions, created Hungry for Justice: Spotlight on the South, a social justice film that tells the story of The Family Garden and their commitment to focus on social justice issues for their workers by seeking Food Justice Certified label.

FOG’s passion is to advocate for farmer and farmworker rights, dignity and respect for the environment. 

                                                            Please join us as we continue our fight for all who labor in the food and farm system and become a FOG member today!

*NAWS 2007-2009 data published by National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. 

Get a sneak peek of a new short film, “Hungry for Justice: Spotlight on the South” at Cinema Verde!

Folks in Gainesville will get a sneak peek of a locally produced film, Hungry for Justice: Spotlight on the South, at the local Cinema Verde environmental film festival on Sun., Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Depot Station, 201 SE Depot Avenue.

Hungry for Justice provides a snapshot of the injustices present in our current food system and introduces one of the promising market-based solutions that has arisen—Food Justice Certification.  It tells the story of one farm in the South and their commitment to focus on social justice issues for their farmworkers by seeking this certification and market label. Food Justice Certification, a project of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), is a unique program in the domestic fair trade movement as it is the only verification program in the marketplace that has included farmworkers and farmworker representatives in the development of the certification standards and includes them in the verification process.  Hungry for Justice is a short film (16 minutes) and is just one of over 30 films being shown throughout the weekend.

The Fifth Annual Cinema Verde is being held Feb. 13 – 16, 2014 at the beautifully renovated historic Gainesville Depot Station, 201 SE Depot Ave. More than 30 films will be screened, with live music, food trucks and a beer garden running throughout the festival. An EcoFair showcasing local businesses will be held Sat., Feb. 15, as well as a Candidates Forum for city commission candidates.  Farmers are welcome to pay for a table to sell their produce as part of the EcoFair at Saturday.  Several filmmakers will join the event either in person or via Skype, including a visit with Mark Kitchell, director of Fierce Green Fire on Feb. 13.

The Cinema Verde film festival organizers are honoring farmers in two ways on Sun., Feb. 16.  Farmers get in free this day and there will be a local food potluck from 6 to 7 p.m. Please join us!  Potluck will be nestled right between Hungry for Justice: Spotlight on the South and GMO OMG.

A party will kick off the four-day festival with live music provided by Cathy DeWitt’s jazz trio Moon Dancer and tasty food and drinks from local restaurants. They will raffle off a pair of VIP Passes that will give access to all films and events throughout the festival, as well as four day passes. The VIP Reception is our way of thanking our sponsors and volunteers (for whom admission is free) and to highlight the films and showcase the businesses that make Cinema Verde a success.

Full schedule and film trailers can be viewed at www.CinemaVerde.org.

Homeless veterans seek new garden project

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Sunshine Inn Veterans set out to promote community wellness and local food consumption through FOG’s GIFT Garden program.

The Sunshine Inn, which is owned and managed by the Alachua Housing Authority, is the location of one of the Veteran’s Affairs Department’s contract residential programs that provides transitional housing and case management to homeless veterans. Florida Organic Growers will be providing gardening instruction and building raised garden beds at the Sunshine Inn on April 9th, 2013 with the help of the veterans who reside there. We are proud to participate in helping the veterans become more self-sufficient.

FOG will team up with veteran residents to install and plant the garden followed by a BBQ at 12:00 p.m. and work party event at 2:00 p.m.

While the Sunshine Inn residents remain in transitional housing they have taken it upon themselves to volunteer locally and contribute to the sustainable health of their community. The Veterans sought donations from local businesses and community professionals in order to make their dream garden project come alive. It is FOG’s great honor to award their initiatives by assisting with garden construction, planting, and maintenance.

The veterans at the Sunshine Inn have expressed a strong interest in beautifying the property which is located at 4155 NW 13 Street here in Gainesville. They would like to “honor those who have honored us” by improving the grounds. The veterans also wish to install a flag pole to display the American Flag, the State of Florida flag and a flag to remember the prisoners of war. The veterans have come up with a wish list that you will find below. It is our hope that you may find it in your heart to help the veterans accomplish these goals by donating any items on the list.

 If you are able to donate any of the items on the list or have any questions regarding the beautification project at The Sunshine Inn, you may call: 352.376.1611  EXT. 5692 

Veterans Wish List for the Sunshine Inn

Grounds Beautification Project

 

  1. American Flag, Florida Flag and POW flag
  2. Flag pole and installation
  3. Three gardening hoses
  4. Three hose nozzles
  5. Shovel
  6. Pitchfork
  7. Mulch
  8. Covered composting bin
  9. Privacy fencing
  10. Picnic table
  11. Barbeque grill (like those at state parks) that can be cemented into ground
  12. Small hand shovels
  13. Hoe
  14. Rake
  15. Organic fertilizer
  16. Grapefruit, tangerine, persimmon, or fig trees.
  17. Two benches
  18.  2 or 3 Standing sprinklers
  19. Wheel barrel
  20. Potted flowers or potted edible herbs
  21. Solar grounds lighting
  22. Two Watering cans
  23. Bike rack that will fit in 61”x 112” covered enclosure
  24. Two outdoor benches