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  • Daryl Johnson

UNITY GARDEN Coming To West Tampa

The Unity Garden will bring fresh produce, high functioning garden systems while also being an educational and social hub: Tampa Heritage Initiative (THI) a subsidiary of Urban Progress Alliance’s non-profit organization is building a community garden in the historic city of West Tampa. This project is expected to be completed Summer 2020. The garden is located at 2307 W. Beach Street. It will feature fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, rain water collection system as well as hydroponics.

The plan is to make the garden a social and educational hub for citizens of all ages. A special program will be created to teach children 3-17 years of age the importance of gardening as a self-sufficient practice. You can expect events and a wealth of knowledge to be at this location. Community gardens are necessary because they not only provide fresh produce but also a space to cultivate relationships within the community it services. The creation of this garden was formed as a solution to the food desert created from gentrification in the West Tampa area.

A blossoming story illuminates Unity Garden. An elderly woman came to Urban Progress Alliance in need of assistance with a dilapidated family owned house. Our organization’s CEO Andre Hill, Sr. went with Ms. Limehouse to city council to advocate on her behalf. Although we were unable to save the house due to cost we were able to demolish the house at a reasonable price and stop the fines. Tampa Heritage had been in search of a lot for a community garden as part of our self-sustain ability mission. As a result of our parent company, Ms. Limehouse was more than happy to allow us her lot to place the garden on. Thus, the vision for Unity Garden came alive. The story continued as we fought to get a Special 1 Use zoning added to the lot per the City of Tampa. This process took us from April 2019 until September 2019 when the zoning was finally approved. With the approval on hand and the excitement of the community we are ready to move this project along. We received grants and donations to get us this far.

We then were approached by another organization to assist in their mission to help a local community. In this we created the GardenTrust4Us petition to request the City of Tampa to provide funds to start more community gardens in blighted and food desert areas around the city. We have reached 292 of 300 signatures.

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