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Sun Sentinel: $60K grant helps expand Miramar Community Garden

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Miramar Community Garden is growing, thanks to a $60,000 grant and a partnership between Scotts Miracle-Gro and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The 3,150-square-foot garden inside Fairway Park has added an intergenerational fruit and vegetable garden, raised edible garden beds, a fruit grove, a culinary herb garden, a seedling nursery and an outdoor classroom.

Miramar was one of just five cities to be awarded grant money to start or expand their community gardens through Gro1000, a national program launched by Scotts in 2011 to create more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2018.

“It was very competitive, and I think it’s pretty special that two cities in Florida won (the other was Tallahassee),” said Su Lok, director of corporate and community partnerships.

Mayor Lori Moseley said the grant would make a “phenomenal difference.”

The grant amount was originally $40,000, but Scotts chairman and CEO Jim Hagedorn added another $20,000 after commenting on Fairway Park’s landscape.

“The grass is so bad here. No strings, but the grass needs to be improved,” he joked.

Almost 100 Fairway Elementary School fifth-graders and seniors from the community, who will volunteer together at the garden, sat through a recent dedication event under a white tent.

“I love the aspect of this garden being an intergenerational garden because my grandma taught me to garden in the D.C. area,” said Crystal Swann, assistant executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Two student volunteers were presented with the Give Back to Grow Youth Gardener Award: Anastasia White, a student at Miramar High School, and 7-year-old Esteban DeAnda, who has volunteered at the garden for three years.

“It’s really important for kids to volunteer at a community garden, for them to learn where their food comes from and to breathe fresh air,” said Fairway teacher Pamela Haffner.

Students donated a birdbath, feeder and stepping stones, planted native wildflowers and helped get part of the garden certified as a National Wildlife Habitat.

Norma Martin, president of the Miramar Park Homeowners Group, is pleased at how the garden has helped transform the neighborhood.

“Members of our group volunteer in the garden. It gives people a sense of home,” she said. “A lot of our residents are from the Caribbean, and it brings back memories of what they did before.”

Fallan Patterson can be reached at

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