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Port St. Joe locals celebrate Earth Day, community garden

According to the official Earth Day website, the theme of this year’s observation, which took place Saturday, was “Invest in the Planet.”

At the Port St. Joe Community Garden, a group of enthusiastic volunteers took this to heart, investing their time and efforts into helping the space achieve its potential.

Together, they spent five hours clearing garden plots, removing weeds and mowing grass. Garden organizers hope the efforts will allow them to turn over a new leaf, creating a blank canvas for what they say are many improved planting and outreach efforts to come.

“We’re really settling into having the garden open now, since it took us so long to build it, and for a while, that was really what we were focused on,” said Kim Miller, who has been working to get the garden established since 2018.

“Now we’re trying to really hone in on the garden’s actual mission — to provide fresh produce for those in need within the community, but also to serve as a means of community outreach, bringing different actors together in the same space.”

The community garden was once a staple of Port St. Joe, but it fell into disrepair in the early 2000s. Eventually, with interest in the garden waning, it became unusable and was left to become weed-ridden and overgrown.  

After Hurricane Micahel, locals, motivated by what they said was growing food insecurity within the community, began working to get it back off the ground.

It was officially reopened in March of last year, with different organizations from around the community sponsoring an individual bed.

But this year, Miller said, things are going to work a little differently.

“Instead of getting each bed sponsored, we’re going to accept donations from the community, and we will use that money to plant crops with other plants with which they are compatible,” she said.

“What we were running into is that everyone was planting all sorts of plants together, and they were competing and not being as productive as they could be.”

Produce from the garden is donated to the Farmacy, a food distribution program run by the Pioneer Bay Community Development Coalition.

According to PBCDC Vice Chair Cheryl Steindorf, produce from the garden will be available for free at the Farmacy’s storefront, located at 217 Avenue A, as available.

To volunteer with the community garden or track their progress, you can follow the organization on Facebook or call 334-435-9262.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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