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Community garden in West Palm Beach forced to close

Garden has provided fruits and vegetables since 2014
Stewart Bosley said since 2014, his mission is providing a community garden of fruits and vegetables.
Posted at 3:14 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 18:21:43-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Urban Growers Community Farm is on Henrietta Avenue in West Palm Beach.

Stewart Bosley is the Executive Director.

"We are trying to eliminate the food desert," he said.

Bosley said since 2014, his mission is providing a community garden of fruits and vegetables.

Stewart Bosley said since 2014, his mission is providing a community garden of fruits and vegetables.

"They don't have a lot of auto ownership here, so this is a walkable access to fresh produce and fruits in my opinion," Bosley said.

He said for years the city gave him use of the land, but that's about to change.

"We are closing down the farm and we will have to dispose of all of our growing areas," Bosley said.

Bosley said the city told him last month that he needed to vacate this area and close the garden.

We reached out to the city of West Palm Beach to find out why.

Stewart Bosley said since 2014, his mission is providing a community garden of fruits and vegetables.

The city released a statement. It said in part, "The city of West Palm Beach is grateful to Mr. Bosley for his prior involvement in the use of the city-owned property for urban farming. The city chose not to renew the lease to explore other opportunities and land purposes that will address other long-standing, critical needs in the city."

The garden will be missed. Donna Taylor is one of the volunteers.

"Usually there are neighbors that come by and they stop by and they speak and say hello. Sometimes we plant seeds in the garden and we have people that come down and have vegetables here," she said.

Roy Smith said the garden helped him during a difficult time in his life.

Stewart Bosley said since 2014, his mission is providing a community garden of fruits and vegetables.

"When I met Bosley I was homeless. I had nowhere to go. He assisted me in getting here only a couple of hours a day. It was something to do to keep me out of the streets," Smith said.

Though the garden will be closing, Bosley won't give up fighting for the community. "I'm 78 years old, I'm a Vietnam Vet, I am from New York City. I've had enough, but the kids and the people in this community don't have enough," Bosley said.

Read the city's full statement below:

STATEMENT REGARDING CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH-OWNED PROPERTY AT 1400 HENRIETTA AVE.

“The City of West Palm Beach is grateful to Mr. Bosley for his prior involvement in the use of the city-owned property for urban farming. The city chose not to renew the lease to explore other opportunities and land purposes that will address other long-standing, critical needs in the city. The question of renewal of the lease will not come before the commission because it is an executive action which, under the city’s charter, falls within the exclusive authority of the Mayor.

Among the potential uses for the land is transitional/supportive housing, a pressing need in our city. Addressing this need for our workforce, residents, and individuals experiencing homelessness is among Mayor James’ top priorities. Additionally, the City of West Palm Beach is exploring other potential sites to establish a community garden that will yield benefits to area residents who rely on fresh produce from the community.”