On September 1st, the UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership School and Community Garden Programs launched the Polk County School and Community Garden Association (PSCGA). Thirty gardens joined the association over the summer. The gardens represent k-12 school gardens as well as community gardens sponsored by churches and not-for-profit organizations from throughout Polk County. By joining the association, participating gardens receive access to free garden education and garden resources. Teachers and community members joined together at the inaugural meeting of the association to kick off the 2016/17 growing season.
Garden leaders and teams were welcomed by County Extension Director, Nicole Walker. Gardens participated in education on growing the garden team and pest identification from Susan Webb and Erin Elsberry, respectively, and received garden resources. A collective gasp was heard from the 67 attendees when they saw the rain gauges and scales they were taking back to their gardens. The scales were included to assist gardens with tracking the produce they harvest from their gardens. Weighing the harvest is an invaluable tool in allowing the gardens to document the produce that comes from their gardens and share their stories with the wider community. Gardens also received free transplants, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.
As we look forward and towards cooler weather here in Central Florida, we are excited to share the stories of the school and community gardens we work with this new growing season.
If you are interested in learning more about school and/or community gardening in Polk County, Florida, please contact Susan Webb at 863-455-5282, firstname.lastname@example.org or Erin Elsberry at 863-455-5283, email@example.com.