BRANDON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Nestled behind the Bay Life Church, there are 80 beds that grow everything from collards to cucumbers.
Cinday Paulhus is a master gardner and the epitome of the farm-to-table concept. She is also a volunteer with the Seeds of Faith Community Garden at the Brandon church. It was founded in 2011, and has since harvested over thousands of pounds of fresh produce, which has been donated to local hunger relief agencies.
"They have done a lot of studies on community gardens and gardening for people's health. It's good for you emotionally. It's good for you physically," Paulhus explained to FOX 13. "When you come home and have a salad...there is nothing better than fresh vegetables that taste so good."
Half of the beds can be rented out. The cost is $35 for the year, and the church allows you to grow your own take-home fruits and veggies.
"I feel sorry for my husband," Paulhus said with a laugh. "Whenever we're having a salad and we're eating something I've grown, I make a big deal about the salad. I tell him that 'I grew that cucumber' and 'I grew that carrot' and 'you better enjoy it because I grew it all.'"
However, not everyone can afford to rent a bed and not everyone has easy access to food. That is exactly what Paulhus and other volunteers are looking to solve through the Seeds of Faith Community Garden.
"We rent about 40 to families and the other 40 we grow for the hungry in Brandon," she explained. "We are very successful and it is shocking that we are able to donate so much to the community. What they harvest today will feed a hungry family tomorrow night."
Over their existence of eight years, they have been busy.
"We donate around 2,200 pouds of food a year," Paulhus said. "So far this year, we've donated 1,900 pounds. Since we've started, we've donated 17,000 pounds of food to this little area. They stay busy. They see anywhere from 25 to 50 clients a week just from this little area."
The Emergency Crisis and Help Organization of Brandon, or ECHO, takes those donated items and disperses them to the community.
On every second Saturday of the month, you can volunteer at the Seeds of Faith Community Garden in Brandon. If you are interested in volunteering or renting a plot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LINK: For more informationm, head to Bay Life Church's website.