Efforts have begun to lay the groundwork for a “community farm” on the property now under the supervision of the nonprofit Moore-Mickens Education Center and Vocational Center Inc.
Whitney C. Elmore, director of the Pasco County Extension Office, said she has been talking to the Moore-Mickens nonprofit about the possibility of establishing the farm, which would involve the help of several other community partners.
“We do have a lot of support from the community and the nonprofit, itself, also folks like Camille Hernandez, the mayor of Dade City.
“We have support from the school board and from Farm Bureau, which is very important to us.
“We bring in a lot of different partners from many aspects in the community,” Elmore said.
“We do have folks from the agricultural community in Pasco, that are interested in helping, as well. Helping us break ground. Helping us move forward, as far as installing and utilizing irrigation,” she added.
“We hope to have that up and running this fall,” she said, explaining that she’s the go-between between the nonprofit and the University of Florida (UF).
“The decision (regarding the Extension Office’s involvement) basically rests with our dean at UF,” Elmore said.
She’s excited about the prospects.
The community farm will grow things for the community, she explained. But, it also would give people an opportunity to learn about gardening.
It would be a place where master gardeners could both teach and learn, Elmore said.
And, it will enable “folks in the community to come in and work with our family and consumer sciences agent for money matters, nutrition courses,” she added.
Elmore’s vision also includes involving the community garden program assistant in the initiative.
“We’re hoping we can even bring the (Pasco County) Sheriff’s Office into play here and bring some of the inmates out to do some of the heavy lifting — but, also give them job skill development and training, as well,” she said.
At this point, the ideas are conceptual, but she hopes they become reality.
“We’re showing a lot of community support,” she said, noting that numerous partners are interested in making this happen.
“We’re going to keep pushing ahead,” Elmore said. “There’s a groundswell that’s taking
place here. This is a win-win for this entire community.”
Published August 2, 2017