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Florida: Curbing hunger one garden plot at a time

Jim Kovaleski, a self-proclaimed urban farmer, picks fresh produce at a yard near his home in New Port Richey. [CHRIS URSO | Times. The city of Dade City and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services Extension are partners on a new community garden at Watson Park in Dade City.

Feeding America estimates nearly 68,000 people in Pasco County are considered food insecure with limited or uncertain access to an adequate amount of food.

By C.T. Bowen
Times Columnist
January 31, 2018

Excerpt:

This certainly isn’t the first community garden. The city of New Port Richey has been an aggressive champion of urban agriculture, and last summer Pasco commissioners approved their own ordinance to encourage community gardens.

But that hasn’t happen yet. Elmore, the Extension director, said that is the next goal. The county wants to put a garden at its Stallings Building, just three blocks from Watson Park. Elmore said she’d like community gardens at public libraries and within residential communities.

The start in lower-income communities is intended to grow more than just plants. There will be educational sessions on horticultural skills, money management and healthy eating and cooking. The overall goal is to lower the rate of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

There is plenty of work to be done there. State Health Department data shows nearly two-thirds of adults in Pasco County are overweight or obese, and fewer of them eat an appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables compared to the state average.

Read the complete article here.