Volunteer shifts for the Fresh Minds initiative have been filling up fast this year. What’s all the buzz about? White Harvest Farm.
White Harvest Farm is a Clara White Mission project. The farm, located in a Jackonsville food desert, provides fresh produce in the community, as well as job training/creation for homeless veterans and low income residents. The Junior League of Jacksonville has partnered with The Clara White Mission on this sustainability effort as a way to provide nutrition education and more fresh fruits and vegetables to the surrounding area.
During volunteer shifts, Junior League members work with team members to plant trees donated to the organization. Recently our volunteers dug holes to plant fig, lemon, lime, king peach and persimmon trees. The volunteers learned the proper conditions in which to plant trees in order for them to thrive and how the farm fared during Hurricane Matthew. While the farm had some damage, it wasn’t too devastating. They lost their newly sprouting tomato crops that Junior League volunteers planted in September, and most of their nutrient-rich soil had been washed downhill, which ended up being an advantage to the trees planted last month.
“I greatly enjoyed volunteering at White Harvest Farms because I felt like I was truly giving back to a community in need. White Harvest Farms is within the 32209 zip code, which is an area in Jacksonville in need of access to healthy food markets. White Harvest Farms not only is an actual farm within the community, but also a market place for those in the neighborhood to buy fresh produce at discounted prices,” said Suzie Wolf, vice president of Community Affairs.
White Harvest Farms acts as a community center where events are hosted for local schools and community members promoting healthy eating and nutrition.
“The staff at White Harvest Farms goes above and beyond to connect with volunteers and explain the farm to table process,” said Wolf. “Our partnership with White Harvest Farms is such an important part of the Junior League of Jacksonville’s Fresh Minds initiative.”
Fresh Minds, healthy living education, is a Junior League of Jacksonville program that encompasses volunteer support and events that promote the availability of healthy food, nutrition education and health and wellness to local low-income schools and communities. This evolving program refines the focus of our efforts for a substantial impact in Jacksonville, through partnerships with community partners to create long-term sustainability.
By Kristen Sibbitt