From TCPalm.com, Ana Alvarez, 14 Apr 2011.
FELLSMERE [FL] — The Fellsmere community farm, a program designed to increase availability of fresh foods and teach local farmworkers skills to operate a farm cooperative, recently received a financial boost, allowing the program to grow and eventually help at least 100 families.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded $300,000 to the Farmworker Association of Florida for a project called Rebuilding Local Food Systems in Central Florida, which includes Fellsmere’s initiative as well as a program in Apopka.
The association will collaborate with Fellsmere in the growth of the existing community farm on Myrtle Street and will partner with the East Coast Florida Regional Planning Council to conduct an assessment of the local food systems in and around the city.
“Seeds were planted earlier this year and they are now harvesting lettuces, peppers, radishes and other crops,” said Holly Baker, grants coordinator for the association.
“We have received great support from the city of Fellsmere for the land and water, and have and continue to receive great training for the community from the University of Florida Agriculture Extension Office, National Immigrant Farming Initiative, Rural Coalition and the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association.”
The city would like to see the program become a citywide effort, and the association hopes it can be a model for other communities across the country.
“It is sad that the very people that plant and harvest our food for us too often don’t have enough food to feed themselves and their families. With this project, we hope to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them eat healthy, as well as provide the training and motivation to help them become farm producers themselves,” said Tirso Moreno, general coordinator for the farmworker association.
“The city of Fellsmere is excited about this partnership and the collaboration between neighbors that has been catalyzed through this process,” said Fellsmere City Manager Jason Nunemaker. “This effort comes at a perfect time, when sustainability goals and economic realities underscore the need for the local sourcing of food.”