Sweetwater Hosts Community Gardening Panel Saturday

09/23/09 Arielle Stevenon
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday

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Sweetwater Organics hosted a panel discussion on how to start a community garden


photo by Arielle Stevenson

Over fifty people gathered Saturday morning to talk dirt about community gardening. Sweetwater organics in Tampa hosted a panel discussion on what’s really involved in creating a community garden in your neighborhood. WMNF’s Rob Lorei moderated the panel, and representatives from Sweetwater, Bartlett park and Seminole Heights also took part. Ed Ross is head of Community Stepping Stones, which strives to save children through arts and community gardening. He spoke Saturday about the large scale impacts a small garden can have.

Ross and Community Stepping Stones enter communities without gardens and work with neighbors to increase the green space in that area. According to Ross, there are three types of food; food for the body, food for taste and food for the soul. He and Community Stepping Stones have blazed their own trail in the initiative to create more green space for Tampa residents.

Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern also spoke on the panel Saturday. Mulhern says that often the positive economic impact of a garden is overlooked. She says that liability and insurance issues are often brought up by City Council members when they voice their concerns about community gardens.The question of who is at fault when something goes wrong in the garden can slow the process.

Andrea Hildebran is with Green Florida, a non-profit support organization that hopes to support several gardens down the line. Green Florida plans to offer financial assistance involving insurance liability for new gardens, as well as navigate the treacherous waters of land ownerships.

For more information on starting a community garden in your neighborhood or on to find out how to plant your own yard, see http://sweetwaterorganic.org.

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