Featured photo: Mike Pont, TT Community Garden Treasurer, (2012-15) tills the ground for the new community gardens, January, 2013.
Community Gardens + Farm 2 School
How did the Farm 2 School program get started?
In fall of 2011 Elizabeth Leib started working with Temple Terrace city council member Alison Fernandez, Grant Rimbey and other community members to organize Temple Terrace Community Gardens. In October 2012 the group launched the first garden in Riverhills Park. In Spring of 2013 the group began working with Greco school administrators to establish a second garden in the back schoolyard of Greco Middle School, adjacent to the running track on the south side of the school. Part of the mission of the community garden at Greco is to bring more Temple Terrace residents who might not otherwise visit, onto the school property with the hope that there would be occasional interactions between gardeners and students. It soon became clear to Leib, Fernandez and Rimbey that there was more opportunity to build on the success of the gardens with an organization designed specifically to involve students in hands on learning experiences. By gardening and preparing fresh food, students make the connection between the environment and their health.
Farm 2 School: For several years as part of its regular offerings, Greco Middle School has offered classes in culinary arts and agriculture and has a teacher for each of those two subjects. In partnership with the Farm 2 School board, school administrators have agreed to encourage the two teachers to coordinate their efforts so that students have opportunity to grow and prepare healthy food. Farm 2 School exists to encourage this collaboration, maintain the student gardens by organizing volunteers from nearby businesses and educational institutions and to raise money to provide resources for the program.
Nearby Student Volunteering Base: The University of South Florida campus is just two miles west of Greco Middle School and has students interested in local agriculture and civic action and some professors and others willing to help facilitate student engagement in Farm to Fork project at Greco and across Temple Terrace.
Robust civic engagement culture in Temple Terrace: Temple Terrace has long held numerous civic organizations and has the reputation for being a better than average community of civically engaged citizens. These tendencies brought the community garden to Greco and these tendencies that have propelled this initiative forward since June 2014.