May 2021 – In celebration of Earth Day 2021, community members enjoyed a special gathering on April 23 at the Healthy 22nd Street Demonstration Garden in East Tampa. The Coalition of Community Gardens hosted the event which featured several local vendors and planning partners. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor also stopped by to welcome guests.
During the event, The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District handed out information for guests and activities for kids. Herbal Healing Nation LLC also treated guests to samples of its all-natural fruit drinks while 813 Hood Garden and Green Home Garden shared user-friendly gardening tips.
TPO Principal Planner Wade Reynolds, AICP, who works with the Coalition of Community Gardens on behalf of the TPO, attended the event with his family. “I am always amazed at how hard the Coalition of Community Gardens works to connect people with food in their communities,” Mr. Reynolds said. “Their efforts to promote health and entrepreneurship are really making a difference, and I am looking forward to even greater accomplishments.”
Located between Chelsea St. and Osborne Ave., the Healthy 22nd Street Demonstration Garden is part of a corridor of gardens that is located along 22nd St. It was created by the Garden Steps project which is a collaboration between the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), Planning Commission, Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, and the Community Garden Coalition. The project was created to improve the health of communities by increasing access to fresh produce through gardening.
“The Garden Steps Program is a great start to truly making an impact on food insecurity in Hillsborough County,” Fatima Elkott said. Ms. Elkott, a Masters of Urban Regional Planning (MURP) student at the University of South Florida and recipient of a TPO fellowship, has seen the impact of the Garden Steps program firsthand. “By increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the program is helping to create a healthier, happier, and united community!”
To view photos from the Earth Day event, please visit the TPO’s Facebook page located here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=HillsboroughMPO&set=a.10159443858577292.