The Florida House on Beneva in Sarasota held space this summer for demonstration gardens. Camille Vansant, along with volunteers, planted permaculture style kitchen gardens around the house as well as a larger demonstration plot canopied by shade cloth. Despite the heat, the gardens are absolutely thriving, and the Florida House plans to make its first delivery to All Faiths Food Bank next week.
I find this initiative inspiring not only because the Florida House is showing that gardens can be productive and beautiful in the summer, which is usually known as the off-season in Florida, but also because they demonstrate such abundance can be produced to be shared with the food bank as well. Camille, a chef, is teaching others how to utilize these less common crops, another opportunity for expanding our palates for seasonal flavor and increasing dietary diversity. If you’re a Floridian interested in relocalizing your diet, you can eat well in the summer on yummies such as malabar spinach, katuk, papaya (green and ripe), pumpkins, okra, melons, pigeon peas, Okinawan and Chinese longevity spinach, early avocados, late mangoes, basils, and mints.
Check out the luscious gardens below to get inspired to visit the Florida House and plant your own summer garden!