Editorial: Urban gardens take root in New Port Richey

Editorial: Urban gardens take root in New Port Richey

  • New Port Richey seems an unlikely place for urban agriculture to take root and flourish, but that’s what’s happening in Pasco County’s largest city.
  • The Times’ Laura Reiley reported Sunday on New Port Richey’s thriving community garden scene, which did not sprout up by accident.
  • A forward-thinking City Council enacted a community gardens ordinance more than 20 years ago and updated it in June to allow the sale of produce from residential gardens.
  • That feeds directly to a year-round Tuesday farmers’ market held at the New Port Richey library, the first in Florida to house a seed library containing thousands of seeds and literature on growing plants in a subtropical climate.
  • In New Port Richey, who would have thought?

New Port Richey seems an unlikely place for urban agriculture to take root and flourish, but that’s what’s happening in Pasco County’s largest city.

@TB_Times: Editorial: Urban gardens take root in New Port Richey

New Port Richey seems an unlikely place for urban agriculture to take root and flourish, but that’s what’s happening in Pasco County’s largest city.

The Times’ Laura Reiley reported Sunday on New Port Richey’s thriving community garden scene, which did not sprout up by accident. A forward-thinking City Council enacted a community gardens ordinance more than 20 years ago and updated it in June to allow the sale of produce from residential gardens. That feeds directly to a year-round Tuesday farmers’ market held at the New Port Richey library, the first in Florida to house a seed library containing thousands of seeds and literature on growing plants in a subtropical climate. The result of that community cooperation is a sustainable, healthy bounty of fresh, local vegetables.

It also takes plenty of elbow grease. Every community needs a Jim Kovaleski, who personally plants and tends rows upon rows of lettuce, turnips, carrots, garlic and squash in his yard and those of his neighbors — and only lives in Florida half the year. In addition to paying Kovaleski and other vendors, the enterprise has spawned a cottage agri-tourism industry of onlookers who regularly cruise through the city’s informally dubbed Garden District.

In New Port Richey, who would have thought? It’s a city better known for U.S. 19 strip malls and retirees, in a county that has long fought both congestion and sprawl. Nothing about the area’s demographics says this earthly experiment should work. But libraries, gardens and entrepreneurs are mighty forces, and together they proved it could.

Editorial: Urban gardens take root in New Port Richey

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