The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: City and Junior League team on community garden project

By Margie Plunkett

Green-thumbed residents now have the chance to grow their own in Boca Raton.
The city OK’d a deal that would allow the Junior League of Boca Raton to operate a community garden on the Causeway Lumber site, next to the location of Boca Raton’s new library. The garden would be on 1.5 acres on the east side of the site.
Individuals and organizations can lease plots in the garden to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers, with the intent that 10 percent of what is grown will be donated back to Boca Raton Helping Hands, which provides food and assistance programs for families in need.
“It’s going to be a really beautiful, park-like space that we’re using for this garden,” said Kate Weissing, chair-elect of the Community Garden Committee. “The mission is to cultivate the spirit of community and enhance the quality of our lives by creating and sustaining an organic garden of vegetables, flowers, plants and trees.”
The mission also includes “to produce healthy supplemental food source for its gardeners and the hungry,” Weissing said.
The Junior League will be responsible for developing and administering the garden, including setting rules for participants, and is working with a master gardener.  The resolution says operation and maintenance of the garden will be transitioned from the League to another organization formed for that purpose.
The city will put up a fence on the western side of the garden and provide water. The garden would be discontinued if the city decides the site’s better for something else — a train station, for instance.
The Community Garden has already set in place initial plans for fundraising, Weissing said: It’s in partnership with Whole Foods, with a “5-percent day” coming up in January and is preparing to sell bricks.
Mayor Susan Whelchel gave the garden her support and said, “We’re excited. People are asking about it all the time. A community garden that will afford food to be given away is an outstanding opportunity for the city of Boca Raton.”
“This is a beautiful example of a citizens initiative that’s 100 percent positive,” said council member Michael
Mullaugh.

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