The Sanford Community Garden is located at 430 E. 18th St. (18th Street Park). The garden was established in May of 2010. This garden was a pilot project with the city and other gardens having started from this endeavor.
The community garden was made possible only because of donations from local businesses who partnered with the city and the expertise of Robert Bowden, Director of Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, FL.
A group of about 40 residents built raised beds, filled them with compost and spread mulch in the aisles. The garden is 76 feet by 84 feet. There are 56 8 foot by 4 foot raised bed plots. It is open to those 18 years of age and older who live in Sanford, work in Sanford, own a business in Sanford, or use Sanford utilities.
The property (18th Street Park) where the Community Garden is located is owned by the City of Sanford and water is also supplied through the City’s Utility Department.
With assistance from the Parks and Grounds Operation Division, they mow the surrounding areas, do weed control and empty trash and weed receptacles placed outside the garden. The mulch is supplied by Asplundh Tree service when needed and Mushroom compost is purchased from Monterey Mushroom in Zellwood, Fla.
“The Sanford Community Garden has truly been an inspiration for many citizens who live where there is no space to garden. The garden has built a true sense of community and hopefully it will stand as a trailblazer for the future” said Elizabeth Harkey, City Forester who also serves on the board of the Sanford Community Garden as the City of Sanford liaison.
The Sanford Community Garden Board meets on a quarterly basis. Harkey is the contact person for the city when residents want to rent a plot. A garden plot is rented annually for $12. The money collected goes toward garden maintenance, tools, and equipment that may be needed.
A Fall Fling is usually held in October or early November where the gardeners get together for a social event and share food, recipes, and fun. This year, the 2nd annual Fall Fling in the Garden was recently held on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. The theme was “Everyone Loves Pie”. Everyone brought their prize winning pie and shared a good cup of coffee.
There was a plot-decorating contest. Twice a year, experienced gardeners or horticultural experts are invited to speak to the active gardeners at a selected quarterly meeting.
The Community Garden helps to promote camaraderie and togetherness within the community receiving nature’s pleasure provided by the wondrous flowers and plants. If residents are interested there are still spaces available for planting at the 18th Street Park. Currently another garden spot is being negotiated in Georgetown.
For more information please contact Elizabeth Harkey, City’s Forester at 407-782-3487 (cell) or 407-688-5416 (office).Citizens can also visit the city website at www.sanfordfl.gov and click the parks and recreation link.
Lisa Mosca, MPA, is a Public Information Officer in the Office of the City Manager in the City of Sanford. If you would like to submit a question to Lisa regarding the subjects of the bi-weekly column she can be reached at Lisa.Mosca@sanfordfL.gov.