Community partnership cultivates farm at Ocoee charter schools

Project with a purpose: growing food with aquaponics in school backyard

Soon enough, students at Hope Charter and Legacy High schools will be giving a new meaning to the farm-to-table meal concept. That’s because they’re going to be involved in growing their own nutritious food through a four-component farm right in the Ocoee schools’ own backyard. 

The Hope Farm, as it’s being called, has been under construction on a property right by the school for a couple of months now. But the concept has been in the works for much longer. Josh Taylor, who founded both House Blend Café in Ocoee and Do Good Farm in Winter Garden, always has been passionate about building sustainable food systems to grow food for people in need. 

For Taylor, his primary motivators behind this pilot project are twofold. He believes nutrition and hydration play a large role in how our brains and bodies function, and he and his team want to be able to impact the poverty gap, which he said is affected by malnutrition and the food deserts in communities. In Orange County, Taylor said, there are tens of thousands of children whose families could be considered food insecure.

“If nutrition, or malnutrition, for that matter, plays a role in perpetuating that poverty gap, we want to have an impact in that space,” he said. “This project is kind of a pilot project to really launch that effort,” Taylor said there will be four components, or four different farming practices, involved — aquaponics, hydroponics, traditional soil gardening and a permaculture food forest.  

Read more at the Orange Observer 

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