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Northwest Florida Daily News: Community gardens to grow with grants

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ScottsMiracle-Gro’s commitment to improve communities with gardens has reached Northwest Florida.

In partnership with the Central Florida Foundation, the company will provide funding for three garden projects through its Florida Grassroots Grants.

“We made a three-year commitment to reach out to all 67 counties in Florida,” said Lindsay LaSala, the company’s community affairs senior specialist.

The program helps to strengthen communities by creating or renovating existing gardens. The grants will also support a range of projects including education programs and edible gardens.

Three organizations in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties will receive a $500 grant to start their gardens.

The Cope Center in DeFuniak Springs plans to create a new edible garden. LaSala said their clients will grow food and participate in cooking classes.

“This community likes to teach healthy living and our grant will help with nutrition lessons,” she said.

Opportunity Place in Fort Walton Beach will repair its edible garden.

“The garden isn’t only for the residents, but also for the community,” said Barry Gary, director of Sylvania Heights. “It will provide organic food for the community and educate about nutrition.”

The group composts its own fertilizer and currently has jalapeno peppers, rosemary and green peppers in its garden.

The Santa Rosa Historical Society has plans to beautify the Bagdad Mill Site Park.

Society President Vernon Compton said the grant will help plant native trees throughout the park and create a dog park area.

“We are very thankful to be selected to receive this grant,” he said. “It will help to further these goals.”

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