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Gainesville farm grows vegetables for local soup kitchen

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Gainesville’s first urban farm is putting a charitable spin on the farm-to-table concept by donating locally grown vegetables to a Gainesville homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

The newly established Porters Community Farm, located in Porters neighborhood in downtown Gainesville, has set out to supply one ton of fresh vegetables to St. Francis and other local charities annually.

“We’re trying to create a supply of fresh vegetables for them,” project manager Travis Mitchell said. “We’re using a lot of volunteers, but we did an online fundraiser in the fall to raise funds for a little bit of staff time and to cover all of the materials costs and what not.”

Mitchell said he has already raised more than $12,000 in donations toward this project. He said he’s reaching out to the whole community for help.

“We’re also going to be experimenting with growing some things for market (to) hopefully kind of create enough money coming in where we can really make sure that the project can continue for indefinitely,” he said.

Volunteer Shelia Pain said the most rewarding experience for her is donating food she grew herself. She said the food quality in the shelters “is going down.”

“It was all canned vegetables,” she said. “I thought what can we do?”

To donate to Porters Community Farm or volunteer, visit Florida Organic Growers.

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