Tallahassee community garden meets needs in "food desert"

Seminole Manor Community Garden
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 15:03:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A neighborhood considered to be a "food desert" has relied on a community garden to get fresh, healthy produce.

There's a beauty and charm to the Seminole Manor Community Garden -- and what grows from it is for anyone to enjoy.

"You could just be driving by -- even if you didn't live in the neighborhood," said community activits Donna Elliott. "You're welcome to stop and pick as much as you can carry."

The neighborhood is what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls a "food desert" -- a low-income area where residents have limited access to a supermarket or grocery store.

"There's no walkable fresh produce," Elliott said. "Our only choice within walking distance is a convenience store."

Residents created the garden in 2005 -- volunteering to plant, water and care for it. However, in recent years, interest has dried up.

"We need the publicity and the popularity, so that people will come help us plant food and get it to the neighbors who need it the most," Elliott said.

The garden is one of more than 50 in the running for a national contest by Nature's Path Organic. The winners get a $15,000 grant.

"There's just a few of us that actually get out here and do the work," Elliott said. "We really need help, and this $15,000 will really take us to the next level."

The community garden has about 20 beds -- most of which need some TLC. With the grant, the goal is to provide even more resources to the community.

"We could start by putting in more beds, so we can increase our food production," Elliott said. "With more food production, we can reach more neighbors. We could also put in some fruit trees, so that we'd have a continuous supply of fruit all year round."

To help the Seminole Manor Community Garden win the grant, you can vote for them HERE -- as many times as you want. The deadline to vote is July 7. The top six (6) vote-getters will move on to the next round.