An army of kids and volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida are harvesting greens to donate to other local nonprofits for their Thanksgiving dinner.
Organizers say the project is just the beginning for the club’s new farm in Arlington.
Volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida are harvesting 350 bunches of collard and mustard greens at the club’s Woodland Acres center. The farm used to be a football field, but liability issues put a stop to the games.
So, the club’s CEO Paul Martinez came up with a plan to repurpose the property.
“We wanted to look at something that would teach our kids. So we came up with the garden idea and called one of our local farmer friends,” Martinez says. “We were kind of doing the math to see if we can get this done before Thanksgiving, and it just worked out like a charm.”
Martinez says he wanted to plant the seeds of compassion and cooperation by having kids tend to a garden and give the fruits of their labor to those in need. This first year that will be the Salvation Army and Sulzbacher Center, both of which help the homeless.
But Martinez also says he has bigger plans for the Woodland Acres farm in the future.
“The neighborhood can know that they can come here for fresh vegetables, and we hope to do it year round, but we’ll communicate more with our neighbors here through our children. So they’ll know exactly when the dates are,” Martinez says. “But I can guarantee you, you won't get anything fresher than this.”
Martinez says the surrounding neighborhood is a food desert, with only convenience stores to provide groceries. So, he hopes the farm will eventually provide residents with the fresh produce they need.