Saturday’s Grow Your Groceries Event Is For Wannabe Urban Farmers

Mar 5, 2019

You don’t need a farm to grow your own groceries.

Nathan Ballentine, a.k.a The Man in Overalls, a Jacksonville-based urban gardener, community organizer, and entrepreneur, teaches people how to grow gardens in small spaces.

The GrowCart in front of City Hall
Credit The Man in Overalls Blog

Ballentine has more than 20 years’ experience in growing vegetables. He rolls his “GrowCart,” an old grocery cart, around Jacksonville to show that people in cities can grow their own groceries.

He also designs small raised gardens for communities or people's backyards and teaches workshops on how to maintain urban gardens.

On First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Tuesday, Ballentine said, “Folks always think you need an acre or two or this giant backyard, and in fact what I see is that the smaller the garden, the more productive it is.”

Ballentine said he thinks kids will eat more vegetables if they grow them.

Ballentine making a raised garden container
Credit Inga Finch / The Man in Overalls Blog

“It’s magical watching stuff grow. You can’t put a quarter in the ground and grow a money tree, but you can take this tiny little piece of a plant and stick it in the ground and grow more of it,” he told Melissa.

Ballentine has resources to help people get started on their own small garden.

He’ll also be appearing Saturday at the Main Jacksonville library downtown for the Grow Your Groceries event from noon to 1 p.m.

Hear the interview with Nathan Ballentine, as well as the rest of Tuesday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

Amanda Brannon can be reached at, 904-358-6317.