Do Good Farm to Open Produce Store in Winter Garden
by Kirsten Harrington
An archway crafted from rustic branches serves as an entrance to a secret garden, rich with papaya and guava trees, chaya bushes, lemon grass, sugar cane and more than 100 other species of fruits and vegetables. A waterfall trickles quietly through the center of the rock-lined spot, while Winnie the donkey brays noisily in the background, keeping watch over the goats. A greenhouse using aquaponic technology produces catfish, lettuce and herbs. This multifaceted food forest in Winter Garden will soon be open to the public.
Do Good Farm in Winter Garden plans to open a produce store one to two days per week in mid-November.
“It’s kind of a botanical garden, except it is all edible,” said Josh Taylor, strolling through the garden and stopping to sample a Surinam spinach leaf.
Every foot of the 1.5-acre farm is put to careful use, from the compost bin that produces black soldier fly larvae to feed the chickens to the fences laden with true yams, passion fruit and grapes.
Josh owns Do Good Farm with his wife, Kelly, and a recent grant has provided an opportunity for the Taylors to open a store on the property. It was originally slated to open in mid-October, but Hurricane Irma put a heavy hit on the garden. Josh is now shooting for a mid-November grand opening and plans to open to the public one to two days a week initially. Currently, Moringa leaves, fresh basil and other produce make their way into salads and smoothies at Axum Market Cafe in Dr. Phillips, and, once production allows, Josh plans to supply a number of other area restaurants with fresh produce. In the future, he hopes to partner with local schools to bring his farm-to-table produce into the cafeterias.
“The goal is for this to be a place where people can buy fresh fruits and vegetables,” Josh said.
The farm chooses a diversified selection of crops that are grown without pesticides, chemicals or fertilizers.
“Growing food the way nature intended is better for the earth and for our bodies,” Josh said.
In addition to produce, the farm store will sell edible plotted plants in an effort to encourage people to shift away from traditional landscaping toward growing their own food. The farm’s goats will provide milk and cheese for sale.
Josh and Kelly started Do Good Farm in 2012 in an effort to develop a low-cost, low-tech, sustainable food model that doesn’t require outside input like fertilizers and extensive irrigation. Planting a carefully selected variety of fruits and vegetables increases the quality of the soil and resulting harvest, and protects against losing the entire harvest if one crop goes bad.
“The goal is to create long-lasting solutions by putting this same system down in the middle of Africa or India or wherever, and have it continually produce food,” Josh said.
By moving beyond shipping rice and beans to developing countries, communities are empowered to feed themselves and take the surplus to market.
So far, Do Good Farm has planted a sustainable farm at an orphanage in Honduras and is working on starting a large farm in Burundi, Africa. It costs a lot of money to change the world, Josh acknowledges. By opening a store to the public, Do Good Farm will be able to plow the proceeds back into bringing sustainable food systems to inner-city food deserts and poverty-stricken nations.
“There is no reason that anyone on this planet should go hungry,” Josh said. “God has provided a way to grow food. We just need to teach people how to do it.”
For more information, visit www.dogoodfarm.org. For updates on Do Good Farm’s produce store’s grand opening, follow them on Facebook. ♥