The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), Get Active Orlando and The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida are partnering to support the creation of a Community Garden Coordinator position to foster the development of Community Gardens in Orange County.
WPHF, through its Community Health Policy Work Group, approved a $20,000 grant to support the coordinator who will act as a liaison for existing and future community gardens, including those in Orlando, Winter Park, Eatonville, the Learning Center at Mead Garden, and local elementary schools that have received grant funding through WPHF’s Think~Act~Be Healthy Communities initiative.
The new coordinator is Trina Hofreiter who wrote the curriculum for gardening in Orange County public schools. Ms. Hofreiter also has a Master of Science degree in Forest Resources and Conservation and a Certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Florida.
According to Jill Leslie, Coordinator for Get Active Orlando, there are more than 15 active community gardens in Orange County (many funded by WPHF) and many versions of school gardening programs. There also are many residents engaged in learning how to grow healthy fruits and vegetables.
However, recommendations from the American Community Gardening Association and others speak to the need for coordination across groups to leverage resources, provide educational opportunities, share successes and encourage voluntary participation in gardening projects. These responsibilities will be managed by the coordinator.
Get Active Orlando is made up of a broad coalition of local experts in the fields of active living and healthy eating that came together in 2003 when the City of Orlando received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create and promote environments that make it safe and convenient for people to be more physically active.