CRESTVIEW The community garden movement has arrived in Crestview, bringing with it myriad benefits, organizer Catherine Ward says.


CRESTVIEW The community garden movement has arrived in Crestview, bringing with it myriad benefits, organizer Dr. Catherine Ward says.



Community gardens are plots tended by members with shared goals: namely, exercising, producing healthy food, reconnecting with nature, increasing civic pride and networking with neighbors.



"This is about growth," Ward said during Tuesday's city council meeting. "We want to grow food and we want to grow people.



"Especially, we want to grow self-reliance and cohesion in our community and we want to build all of this from the ground up."



The Common Ground Community Garden of Crestview has leased a plot at 157 S. Main St., against the State Road 85 overpass, Ward said.



Better food, more opportunities



Community gardening allows members to enhance home-cooked meals and potentially earn an income stream, Ward said.  



"The kid who works the garden over here on Main Street can take (produce he grows) to the farmers market and get himself a little cash," Ward said.



Then there are the potential social benefits.



"A community garden is something everybody can come together over," Ward said. "It doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, a hippie or a preppie. Everybody comes together over a garden."



While members give labor, Ward said the city can lend support with services such as lighting, zoning help, fee waivers, insurance and "cutting through red tape."



Council President Robyn Helt expressed support for the project.



"I feel it's the perfect (Community Redevelopment Agency) project," she said.



"I like what she has in mind," Councilman Joe Blocker said.



WANT TO HELP?



Residents interested in becoming involved with the Common Ground Community Garden of Crestview may contact Catherine Ward at 758-8481 or visit www.CrestviewCommunityGarden.org.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.