What started out as a simple community project flourished into an elaborate event thanks to the incentive of Leadership Plant City.
The organization is hosted by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and is comprised of a variety of up and coming community leaders that wish to delve deeper into the pulse of Plant City. As part of the official Leadership program the group has to participate in a community project. Usually the project flies under the radar and is reviewed by a committee prior to the class graduation, however, this year’s group wanted to do something a little different.
“We went out to the community garden as part of our program and few of us even knew it existed,” Breanna Wilson, Leadership class participant and communications coordinator at the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, said. “We really wanted to show off some of the hidden gems that make Plant City so unique and thought it would be a great idea to tie our community project into a public event so others can come discover the garden.”
As part of their project, members of Leadership came out and did some major work at the location. They re-laid weed cloth under the nursery, added lighting, did some mulching, repainted, sanded and stained the bridge to the garden, donated a bench and did some general cleanup through the rest of the space. Including in-kind donations, they raised approximately $6,800 for the garden. The in-kind donations included constructing a sidewalk to help make the main area of the garden ADA accessible. The concrete and the work were provided by two concrete companies, donating around $3,000 worth of work for the project, according to Wilson.
The group partnered with the members of the Community Garden to finalize a pseudo wish list for the property and they helped check off as many of the items as they could.
Once they finished helping spruce up the garden the plans begin to evolve for the event they would host at its location.
After doing research on other community gardens they decided to host a Garden Walk. Publix donated a gift card for the organization to purchase food and drinks for the event, local vendors agreed to set up shop on the lawn and members of the Community Garden hosted tours and sold homemade jam created with some of the ingredients from the garden.
Though they weren’t sure what to expect, Wilson said they ended up having a great attendance with approximately 120 people taking a stroll through the garden for the event.
When folks arrived they were greeted by members of Leadership, given their drink tickets and a flyer and were then offered the opportunity to join a group for an in-depth tour of the garden. The guide explained the work the community garden does and shared interesting tidbits on the unique greenery found hidden among the space. Whether you enjoy hearty vegetables, a butterfly garden or rare flowers, the property has it all.
“Everyone we talked to said they enjoyed it,” Wilson said. “A few people asked if we would do it again. I think people were excited and many told us they didn’t know this was even here. It just went really well. We accomplished what we had hoped.”
This Leadership class is the 36th to come through the chamber. Its graduation is right around the corner and nominations for the 2020 program are now open through June 21. The program itself will run from Sept. 2019 to May 2020. Contact Norm Nelson, membership director, at email@example.com or 813-754-3707 for more information.
Leadership Plant City 2019
Trey Stevens, Coulter Aviles & Co.
Dillon Glisson, G5 Feed & Outdoor
Morgan Tomlinson, Rita Staffing
Morgan Williams, Maid Easy Cleaning
Tyrone Shelton, Great Florida Insurance
Josiah Colon, Suncoast Credit Union
Susan Musser, South Florida Baptist Hospital
Lilly Martinez, State Farm Insurance – Courtney Paat Agency
Breanna Wilson, Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce
Steve DePianta, Stahl Insurance & Associates