Manatee County Helps Grow Community Garden

Manatee County Helps Grow Community Garden
Posted on 01/02/2024
A view of Elwood Community Garden with individual plotsMANATEE COUNTY, FL (January 2, 2024) – Helping the community grow is the goal of a brand-new community Garden in Elwood Park located at 4008 39th St. E. in Bradenton, set to officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, January 13.

Manatee County crews have been working with a host of local businesses and contractors to bring this facility to completion over the past several weeks. It all started with a conversation between John and Janyel Taylor from Taylor nurseries (located in Elwood Park) and Manatee County District 2 Commissioner Amanda Ballard. The unique and deep agricultural roots in the community first homesteaded in the early 1900s with the promise of “ready-made farms on easy payments” is evident to this day.

“Elwood Park has been an established agricultural homesteading community for over 100 years,” said Ms. Taylor.

“We wanted to create a space where neighbors could gather and grow together,” said Commissioner Ballard. “As a commissioner and a gardener, myself, I’m passionate about local food and giving our citizens the tools they need to become as self-sufficient as possible.”

Neighborhood meetings confirmed the desire for a community garden, and once a County-owned site was identified, the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners budgeted $150,000 to build.

The fenced and secure community garden will feature 29 standard 4-foot x 8-foot one-foot-tall garden beds, two large two-foot high “L-shaped” 4-foot x 8-foot x 4-foot beds, two ADA-accessible two-foot-high 4-foot x 8-foot beds with concrete surrounding the beds for easier access and two 4-foot x 4-foot beds for kids gardening and education. An 8-foot x 10-foot storage shed will house a variety gardening tools, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, soil and other supplies. Two large composting bins also have been provided, along with water connections for proper irrigation.

A shade structure, park benches and ADA-compliant truegrid paths with pebble rock, connecting all the garden beds, also are part of the community garden, as is a small play structure and swings for children who may temporarily tire of tending the plants.