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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

FOG Garden Apron Contest

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Florida Organic Growers announced the winner of FOG Garden Apron Contest back in September. Contestants competed for a lovely garden apron donated by Tumbleweed Junction, definitely a gorgeous addition to your garden!

You can check out Tumbleweed Junction’s etsy shop via this link:

The lovely Shell Greenier was the lucky winner of our contest and has graciously sent some pictures of her new prize. Check out the many uses of her new Garden Apron! 

Thank you to all who answered the survey, and FOG looks forward to more upcoming contests! 




GIFT Gardens

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The Gainesville Initiative for Tasty Gardens or GIFT Gardens builds raised bed vegetable gardens and edible landscaping for low-income families and institutions that support them. By providing physical and education resources GIFT Gardens aims to increase food production in Alachua County, to increase self-sufficiency of community residents and to beautify neighborhoods. To date there are GIFT Gardens at 257 locations across Alachua County, including 17 schools, 7 churches and 17 community centers.

Free GIFT Gardens

Residents of Alachua County with low incomes and the institutions that serve those residents are eligible to apply for a free GIFT Garden, helping them become more self-sufficient and increasing their ability to provide for some of their own food needs.

Participants receive up to 3 raised beds, fertile soil, seeds, vegetable starts, a GIFT Gardens Growing Guide and ongoing assistance free of charge. Organizations can receive up to 10 raised beds. After the installation by FOG staff and volunteers, participants plan and plant their gardens, allowing them to take ownership of the GIFT Garden and learn how to start, take care and maintain a vegetable garden plot. All GIFT Garden recipients also receive a free year long membership to Grow Gainesville.

To apply, submit an application form linked below. For more information contact Travis Mitchell at


Organization Application

For churches, schools, community gardens or other institutions and organizations.

Individual Application
If you rent, your landlord will also have to sign off on the GIFT Garden by completing the Landlord Agreement (required for renters).


GIFT Gardens Growing Guide

IFAS Vegetable Gardening Guide


Fundraising GIFT Gardens

Individuals can also purchase a GIFT Garden to grow healthy food nearly all year long if they do not meet income eligibility requirements for a free GIFT Garden. The purchase of a GIFT Garden goes helps support the gifting of free gardens for low-income Alachua County residents, so part of the cost is tax deductible. GIFT Gardens make great gifts too, or donate a GIFT Garden in your name or someone else’s name to a low-income person, and receive the reward of knowing your gift has helped someone provide food for themselves and their family. GIFT Gardens can be adapted to your physical needs as well, i.e. increasing the height to decrease need for bending down. A standard 8 x 4 x 1 ft garden will cost approximately $200 depending on your needs and location. We can also install in ground gardens and additional edible landscaping. Prior to installation you will be contacted to schedule an appointment for a site visit. This site visit will be considered a consultation and we ask for $25 donation per site visit which will be added to your total. During the site visit one of our gardening experts will help you decide what kind of organic garden best fits your needs, where it should be located and to go over any other details necessary to insure you have a successful garden. After the visit you will be notified of the price based on what you and the coordinator have agreed to. The price will include the cost of the gardens plus a minimum $100 donation to Florida Organic Growers to go toward the GIFT Garden program. Should you decide to continue, a check will be requested in full, made payable and sent to the name and address listed above. The check will be deposited only after your gardens have been installed.

For more information contact Travis Mitchell at or send in the application form below and someone will contact you promptly to arrange for a site visit.


Fundraising Garden Application
Landlord Agreement (required for renters)


GIFT Gardens Growing Guide
IFAS Vegetable Gardening Guide


Garden Consultations

Struggling with your vegetable garden? Donate to FOG and receive a free consultation!

With a minimum donation of $75 receive a vegetable garden consultation from our Community Food Project Coordinator and resident gardener Travis Mitchell. Travis has worked for with the Gainesville Initiative for Tasty Gardens for the past three years and has built over 90 gardens across Alachua County. Each consultation will be roughly one hour in length, an cover a variety of organic gardening techniques including best watering and fertilizing practices, how to compost, weed prevention techniques and pest management. Upon request seasonal plants and seeds can also be included with consultation along with minor soil amendment and assistance with planting. Contact Travis Mitchell at or call 352-377-6345 for more information.


Villages at Forest Green
Turkey Creek Forest
Twinlakes Fishing and Camping
ARC of Alachua County
Coworkers, Inc.
Comprehensive Community Services, Inc.
Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County, Woodland Park
Service Options Unltd Inc.
Shands at Vista Child and Adolescent Unit
Interface Youth Program – CDS
YMCA Camp McConnell
Greens Group Home
Sisters Helping Sisters in Need
MISA @ Veterans Hospital
North FL/South GA Veterens Health System (VA Domicilliary)
Gainesville Harvest
Gainesville Job Corps
Rose Garden
S.E.T. on Success, LLC
Parklands Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
A Future and a Hope
Acorn Clinic
Peacock Houses
Parkview Baptist Church
Oak Ridge Appartment Complex
Vocational Industries
Addison’s Daycare
Krishna House
Palm Garden
Citizens Co-op Community Garden
Arbor House, Inc.
City of Gainesville Thelma Boltin Center
Alachua County Downtown Farmers Garden at Alachua County Administration Building
Reichert House Youth Academy
Lake Forest Elementary
Eastside High School
Bell Nursery School
Einstein Montessori School
Expressions Learning Academy
Horizons Center Alternative School
Idylwild Elementary
Littlewood Elementary
Metcalfe Elementary
Morning Meadow Preschool
Sidney Lanier
Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center at UF
Lincoln Middle School
Howard Bishop Middle School
One Room School House
Hoggetowne Middle School
Stephen Foster Elementary


The program is made possible by grants from Alachua County, City of Gainesville, Satchel’s Pizza and Yes to Carrots, Inc.


If you would like to get involved please call 352.377.6355 or email Travis Mitchell at