Community garden distributes its harvest with those in need

Volunteers Biba Watt of Indialantic, left, and Rhonda McKinney of Suntree work in the Blue Sky Community Garden at Suntree United Methodist Church.

If you’re interested in learning about organic gardening or enjoy spending time outdoors with friends and neighbors, then the Blue Sky Community Garden is a place you might want to check out.

Located at Suntree United Methodist Church at 7400 North Wickham Road, the garden was started six years ago when co-founders Karen Shea and Kendall Sanderson asked the church board if they could use a portion of the church’s property to start a community garden.

Today, the fenced-in garden measures 50 feet by 100 feet and is operated by six to 10 volunteers from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, weather permitting. There is no work done in the garden during July and August.

"We started the garden because we wanted to educate people about gardening," said Shea, a 15-year church member. "We also wanted to grow organic vegetables and donate the produce to food pantries and organizations in need."

Some of the vegetables planted include carrots, lettuce, radishes, squash, beans and peas. The volunteers also have planted some passion vines, banana, blueberry and tangerine trees.

Shea said the garden produces more than 1,000 pounds of organic vegetables each year which is then distributed to those in need and shared among the volunteers.

What has helped in the garden’s growth is the irrigation system. The system was installed recently by Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout projects.

"It (the system) has made a big difference," Shea said.

Church member and volunteer Rhonda McKinney of Suntree said you’ll never find a better group of people at the garden.

"Everyone is so friendly and you will learn a lot about gardening," she said.

Shea said the garden raises its own funds in the spring when it holds its annual Eco Fair and Farmers Market.

The garden also needs more volunteers and would like to expand. "You don’t have to be a church member to be a volunteer," Shea said.

For more information about the garden, call 321-961-9966, email at blueskycommunitygarden@gmail.com or go to its Facebook page at BlueSkyCommunityGarden.