WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The City of West Palm Beach has approved to develop three community farms and urban market gardens on city-owned properties.
This in partnership with Florida A&M University.
The locations of the new gardens will be at Gloria Y. Williams Multi-Cultural Center, Community Garden at Coleman Park, and Phipps Park.
"A lot of these people can't afford or can't medically get to supermarkets or whatever, and the organic vegetables and fruit was something new to the hood," said Monica Roll, who used to volunteer at the former community garden along Henrietta Avenue.
That site was shut down in October to make room for transitional housing, leaving a need for organically grown and convenient resource for healthy food.
"With me, I don't have no transportation to get by cause I don't drive," said Johnnie May Wilkerson who used to rely on the former garden.
Wilkerson said gardens provide local people, seniors even church goers with fruits and vegetables. These new gardens look to bring gardening education, sustainability even jobs to the areas the city found had the biggest need.
"I just hope it educates a lot of people on their health cause health is really important," said Roll.
In 90 days, or less, the city plans to hire staff and develop programming and activities.
In 90 to 120 days they plan to design and build the infrastructure and layout for the community garden.
According to the city, studies have shown that low-income communities are more likely to be affected by limited access to healthy foods.
By supporting urban agriculture through the provision of city properties for gardening, residents will benefit from improved access to healthy food, lower rates of diet-related diseases, improved economic health, revitalized communities; and opportunities for volunteering and community gatherings.
The project is expected to be fully operational in 180 days.
Once completed a market will be set up on site for donations and for people to purchase affordable healthy food.