Growing with the Community: A Hands-on Training Design for Agricultural Educators, Farmers and Community Leaders

2003 Annual Report for ES01-054

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $49,735.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
Ellen Huntley
Florida Organic Growers

Growing with the Community: A Hands-on Training Design for Agricultural Educators, Farmers and Community Leaders


Achievements for 2003 include: continue developing community garden group database; visit between project leaders in January 2003; preparation for joint training between Florida and Louisiana at SSARE and SSAWG conferences in January 2004; development of website and resource manual. We also recognized the importance of addressing issues of race and cultural expectations when different groups cooperate to grow food. Project partners plan in 2004 to develop skills in addressing issues of race and racism to better facilitate a network of community gardeners.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objectives/Performance Targets
• Train trainers in Florida and Louisiana to develop community garden skills including leadership, knowledge about healthy eating, composting/recycling materials, entrepreneurship and marketing and garden evaluation.
• Form 10 partnerships in each state between farmer, private and public groups interested in community gardens.
• Develop website for community resources.
• Coordinate Internet communication among trainees.
• Develop training manual for community garden resources.


Train trainers:
Two project leaders from Florida visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in January 2003. Partners toured school and community gardens in the Baton Rouge area. Partners agreed that the Louisiana team would hold individual trainings in communities that requested community gardening assistance instead of planning one large, joint training between Louisiana and Florida.

The Florida statewide community garden training was scheduled for January 22 from 12:30PM to 5PM in Gainesville, Florida, the day before the regional Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Annual Conference (Attachments: Conference Agenda, Conference Notes; Conference Evaluation).
Workshop trainers included:
Ashley Atkinson and Doris Elam, Flint Urban Gardening and Land Use Corporation (MI), Eva Worden, UF State Extension Specialist (FL), and Hollis Watkins, Southern ECHO (MS).

Form 10 partnerships:
Florida partners continued to development of community garden group database. The 2003 database listed 144 groups or individuals interested in community gardening. The database served as a source for inviting attendees to the Florida training.

Coordinate Internet communications:
Plans were initiated to design a webpage to display contact information, mission and goals of community groups across the state of Florida.

Development of resource manual:
Workshop participants were asked to bring materials helpful to them in gardening and community organizing. A workshop manual was also compiled for the statewide training. Materials included workshop participant list, agenda, reflection/evaluation, tips of success to building strong community garden projects, American Community Gardening Association Starting a Community Garden Publication, and a community garden questionnaire.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Plans for 2004-2005
Staff members of the lead Florida partner, Neighborhood Nutrition Network, are primarily white and work with predominantly African-Americans. In reflecting on the work we have been doing over the last several years, we recognize that while we have helped facilitate some gratifying outcomes in the neighborhoods and schools in which we work, we have each been made aware at some level of the deep role race plays in the way we interact in those communities.

NNN/FOG has contracted with an organization called “Changework” ( ) to lead a process of addressing issues of racism and race in NNN’s work and strategically to plan how to work better to meet our mission of building community through fresh food as a professional antiracist organization. Changework comes with glowing recommendations from other non-profits like NNN/FOG, as well as from city management teams and school boards around the country.

We also recognize that in the area of community gardens across the state a similar dynamic to that of NNN exists between organizations that promote gardens and people that may or may not want to garden in a group situation. In order to better serve as a facilitator of a statewide community garden network that addresses sustainable agriculture with communities, we plan to share the information that we learn from Changework in our community gardening and sustainable agriculture organizing work.


Andrew Smiley
PO Box 3976
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
Office Phone: 2253369532
Jen Dodd
Community Garden Coordinator
Florida Organic Growers