The Healthy Eatonville Team and a variety of community partners are planning an urban farm and produce stand in Eatonville thanks to a planning grant awarded from the Winter Park Health Foundation.
The proposed farm will operate in conjunction with existing efforts in the community. The use of privately owned property in the town has been secured for the project. With one acre along West Kennedy Blvd., the property offers prime visibility on a high traffic road for fruit and vegetable retail sales. The remaining two acres are separate from the first but in very close proximity. Both sites are relatively clear and available for planting.
Research has shown the importance of creating local food systems, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Improving food security can be a significant basis for solving many other community problems (USDA, 2009). A recent UCF study of food availability in Eatonville found that the community’s small stores had a limited selection of basic food items with lower quality and higher prices. One store is void of fresh fruits or vegetables while the other carries a very small selection, some of which were close to or clearly past expiration. Availability, quality, and price were all clearly superior in the full-service supermarket, which is, unfortunately, less accessible for some residents.
There are many legal, financial, developmental and operational considerations to investigate as part of putting this plan together. The planning grant funds have already helped secure the expertise of the individuals who have developed The Patch model in South Florida.
The property is adjacent to and in front of The Mustard Seed Inc. in Eatonville. This non-profit organization aims to help rebuild the lives of families and individuals who have suffered disaster or personal tragedy by providing household furnishings and clothing while being environmentally responsible to our community. The Mustard Seed Board of Directors and staff are interested in the opportunity to participate in the garden project and potentially operate it as a social entrepreneurship business that could generate revenue for their organization.
- Eatonville Yard and Garden Club
- Family Nutrition Program / UF Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- 4 Rivers
- Healthy Eatonville Team
- The Mustard Seed
- Orange County Public Schools
- The Patch / ENO Consulting
- Town of Eatonville/ Town of Eatonville CRA
- Winter Park Health Foundation
This process begins with a planning session where partners will come together to discuss mutual goals and work to coordinate with other existing agriculture and education projects in the community.