Florida Polytechnic garden serves low-income communities

By Stephanie Claytor, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, February 11, 2018, 6:36 PM EST

Florida Polytechnic University is providing free, organic vegetables to low-income communities.

  • Florida Polytechnic University has organic garden
  • Produce is donated to students and people in low-income communities
  • University is in the process of expanding garden

Beverly Butler runs the organic garden at the university.

Twenty-three student volunteers help her tend the garden.

Butler, a two-time stroke survivor, called gardening therapeutic and said she enjoys helping others eat healthy.

“I love it. Been doing it all my life,” Butler said.

Everything from kale and mustard greens to spinach and cabbage is grown in the university’s garden.

Some of the plants are used for research. The rest of the produce is donated to students and to people living in impoverished communities like Eloise, near Winter Haven.

There, Butler has a gleaning table, always full of free produce for the community.

“We don’t really have a lot of money to get the food so therefore it does save because it’s free, for the taking,” said Melissa Spring, an Eloise resident.

Butler also helped start a community garden in Eloise. The produce from both gardens is usually sitting on the gleaning table.

Butler said the university is in the process of expanding its 24-bed garden. She said they plan to invite the community out on Mar. 22 to see the garden.