Little Growers, Inc
Palm Bay, Florida
Little Growers Inc. in Brevard County FL was born not long after Camille Hadley moved to the Powell-Driskoll subdivision of Palm Bay and immediately recognized a need – the availability of fresh, nutritious food. In an area designated a food desert by the USDA, the Hadley family began cultivating their own food and piquing the interest of area youth. Combining her passion for growing and educating, Hadley launched Little Growers Inc. The group’s mission is to empower youth “to be in control of their own future through community food security, sustainability, and leadership development.”
Lipscomb Street Park in Melbourne is the site of the group’s first community garden. Near the Indian River, the low-lying park floods during heavy rains and the garden becomes saturated and at times damaged. Area neighborhoods also flood. Residents blame neglected, clogged storm drains as the problem. Not easily deterred, Little Growers Inc. seeks solutions by partnering with environmental justice advocates.
With scientific help from Thriving Earth Exchange they were able to evaluate the stormwater drainage situation to create flood-resistant neighborhoods and gardens. Anthropocene Alliance assisted in securing $70,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to implement green infrastructure. The “Wells Fargo Resilient Communities Program” grant helps vulnerable communities develop green infrastructure programs such as developing bioswales, rain gardens, and other nature-based defenses against flooding.
Little Growers Inc. has big plans. They are working on an Aquaponics STEM Center to reduce food insecurity and spark interest in STEM careers among low-income minority youth in the community. As well, to develop the green infrastructure and community gardens, local partnerships with Lowe’s and Career Source are in the works.
Another environmental justice issue Little Growers Inc. faces is the toxic environment surrounding the predominately low-income community. The Far Chemical Plant has exploded twice in the last few years, the Republic Trash Services trucks spew diesel fumes on the way to the transfer station, and low-income housing is being built on top of toxic soil, according to Hadley.
“This is a community of families,” Hadley said. “I know how to fight, I just need the resources.”
Written by Kerri McLean
Halting bad development
Fighting industrial contamination Community farm/gardens
501c3 tax deductible
Yes – donate here.