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FAMU students tackle food desert with community garden

Posted at 7:58 PM, Jan 25, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The FAMU SEED Community Garden opened Monday, so it will still take time for students to see the fruits of their labor. Organizations like second harvest say gardens like this help with their overall mission.

FAMU students are working to find a way to curb food insecurity on campus through a SEED Community Garden. Seed stands for Sustainability, education, and engagement destination. Autumn Dancy, President of the FAMU Sustainability Club explains what they'll grow in the garden.

"This garden is where we'll be growing flowers, fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits. With that we'll teach students a more sustainable way of eating, living, growing their own produce, and being eco friendly," said Dancy.

Dancy said the garden will help students learn viable skills like subsistent farming which will help them once they leave the FAMU campus.

"Subsistent farming is very important in this day and age," Dancy explained. "Because in urban areas there's not as many grocery stores and access to fresh available produce. So it's important to know how to grow it at home and constantly get it each season."

Libby Simons is the major gifts manager for Second Harvest of the Big Bend and said 49% of families who are unable to afford the basics from housing to health care in Leon County is food insecure. That population is known as ALICE or Asset limited Income Constrained Employed Population.

Gardens like the one FAMU students are growing will help towards common goal.

"We're not just feeding the line," Simons said. "Whenever we have these partner initiatives it's the community coming together to make sure we're ending the line or shortening the line by actually teaching people the importance of nutrition and how to grow it themselves as well."

Simons said the FAMU garden is just one of many community initiatives that helps curb food insecurity in the big bend.

"We often see a lot of local people donating produce from their own trees to our food bank. We have local farmers who if they have excess they'll send them our way," Simons explained. "Whenever the community is able to come together like that and we're all able to make a difference together it really makes an impact on food insecurity."

Students will do maintenance on the garden once or twice a week. According to Dancy, they will likely donate the produce they grow.