Garden: Need to Feed Gardening Initiative
Location: Pompano, Florida
Quote: “A red bell pepper should never cost more than a Snickers bar.”
Trina Spillman is a gardener and chef on a mission. For 11 years she’s run the Need to Feed Gardening Initiative, which grows fresh fruits and vegetables for local food pantries who then distribute the produce to those in need. As a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Trina also lead’s the garden’s Community Café program, where she teaches how to turn fresh produce into delicious meals. According to Trina, healthy food is essential to physical and mental health. “It helps fight obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” writes Trina, who is proud to make produce accessible to those who might otherwise go without. “In a supermarket close to the gardens, I was shocked to discover they were charging almost $6 for one eggplant.” Trina believes that no family should have to forgo buying healthy, fresh produce because of cost. “A red bell pepper should never cost more than a Snickers bar.”
The Garden: The Need to Feed Initiative grows fresh fruits and vegetables for the Blessing Food Pantry in Pompano Beach. It is a “square foot garden,” where plants are planted in grids not rows. When a square is harvested new seeds are immediately planted which allows for steady production and maximum yield. To support their gardening efforts, Trina and the other dedicated volunteers sell award winning jams and jellies and shaved ice balls every Saturday.
The Plan: With the help of the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi grant, Trina plans to expand the garden from 20 garden boxes to 100. The grant will pay for a watering system for each box, plants, soil, seedlings and compost. Trina’s goal is to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables the garden is able to provide to a community where 35.6% of the families do not know where their next meal is coming from and are facing moderate hunger.