Learn to grow sustainable food gardens anywhere South Florida at the free South Florida Community Garden Hub on April 13

Master gardeners hold up a massive head of cabbage from the community garden.

Community gardens come in all shapes and sizes. They offer a bounty of benefits that bring the farm-to-table concept to life when established effectively to meet sustainable food demands.

By growing food on a small scale, using venues such as small rooftops, balconies, community grounds, small urban farms, and even a small parcel of land, experts tout the benefits of such urban agriculture as a method that can build resilient communities, stave off food insecurity and promote sustainable food production.

“However, there is still much to learn about the challenges, benefits and dynamics of establishing successful urban food production in large metropolitan counties like Broward that have limited greenspace, high land costs and conflicted uses,” said Jiangxiao Qiu, an associate professor of landscape ecology at the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC) and an urban agriculture scholar and sustainable urban food production program developer for UF/IFAS.

On April 13, UF/IFAS Extension Broward will launch the South Florida Community Garden Hub, an initiative tailored for South Florida residents and designed to tackle one of those challenges: building a network of resources and experts to help foster urban gardens of all types across the city.

From 9 a.m. to noon, the event features a panel discussion with experts offering participants the secrets to establishing and sustaining vibrant community gardens on a variety of methods and venues.

Participants will hear firsthand stories of success and resilience from experienced gardeners, learn practical tips and strategies for making community gardens sustainable and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for green spaces.

The event will occur at the UF/IFAS Extension Broward auditorium at 3245 College Avenue in the heart of Davie. Registration is required for the South Florida Community Garden Hub, and space is limited to 100 participants.

The initiative comes at the heels of a successful program over the last five years designed to promote urban food development through short courses for Broward County residents. The popular, award-winning program has engaged urban food growers. It has shed light on one issue that the Hub will tackle – building a network for residents interested in their urban food production.

South Florida neighborhood start work on establishing a community garden.

“Recognizing the importance of information sharing, we have fostered connections within local growing efforts, including community gardens and urban farms,” said Lorna Bravo, program co-organizer and urban horticulture agent at UF/IFAS Extension Broward. “This network will facilitate urban food information sharing and provide valuable resources for our South Florida community.”

Based on input from the community and stakeholders, the initiative focuses on educating and building small-scale gardening from small-scale farms in urban food production. Additionally, the team aims to map the first live network of community garden leaders and community gardens.

The UF/IFAS Broward Extension team has been actively involved with various community gardens in South Florida and is collaborating closely with them. By emphasizing the exchange of information, they have connected with local gardening initiatives, including community gardens and urban farms. Their goal is to build a strong and sustainable food system while supporting the dreams of those who work the land.

For Abraham Cuadrado, a UF/IFAS Extension intern who has spent this semester as the boots on the grounds for the initiative by visiting urban gardens and farm sites, the project initiative has been a transformative experience and a privilege to return to his community and collaborate with.

“This project has been invaluable in showcasing the need to continue spreading urban agricultural literacy,” he said. “This project showcases not only how agriculture can uplift individuals and communities ecologically but culturally as well. This has been a journey in educating and contributing to my community and university, showing the importance of agricultural education as a path for sustainable food models and development. ”




By Lourdes Mederos, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.

ifas.ufl.edu  |  @UF_IFAS


Feeding a hungry world takes effort. Nearly everything we do comes back to food: from growing it and getting it to consumers, to conserving natural resources and supporting agricultural efforts. Explore all the reasons why at ifas.ufl.edu/food or follow #FoodIsOurMiddleName.



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Posted: March 26, 2024

Category: Agriculture, Blog Community, Community Volunteers, Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, Health & Nutrition, Horticulture, Relationships & Family, SFYL Hot Topic, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research, Water
Tags: Agriculture Education, Agroecology, Balconies, Community Gardens, Community Grounds, Edible Plants, Environmental Horticulture, Farm To Table, Fruit, Institute Of Food And Agricultural Sciences, Jiangxiao Qiu, Lorna Bravo, News, Plants, Rooftop Gardens, Small Urban Farms, South Florida Community Garden Hub, Sustainable Food Production, Sustainable Food Systems, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension Broward County, UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research Education Center, University Of Florida, Urban Agriculture, Vegetables

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