Healthy Central FL Furthers Urban Farming through Fleet Fruits

The USDA just announced a new funding opportunity this week, through which they will allot $800,000 to local food initiatives. While federal support of localization is something we should all be grateful for, we are even more proud and appreciative of the support from our very own community!

19140304289_269ce7195e_k

Ecstatic about our accomplishments made in our first year!

This past month, Fleet Farming was awarded $2,500 from the Healthy Central Florida Foundation (HCF) to further the reach of the new urban fruit gleaning concept, Fleet Fruits. HCF and community partners, Florida Hospital and Winter Park Health Foundation, have been vital to the success of Fleet Farming, as well as many other community initiatives. Fleet Farming was originally granted $5,000 from HCF last June to launch Fleet Farming. Since then, the relationships that have formed from this network have affirmed even more faith in the power of partnerships to accelerate change.

19330396721_a5c294cabe_k

The 2015 Healthy Central Florida Innovator Grantees

Anyone who has applied for a federal grant will tell you that it’s no walk in the park, so it’s so important that understaffed change-making organizations have the opportunity to apply for local grant opportunities like this one. IDEAS For Us Co-Founder, Chris Castro, says “We are grateful and delighted to be awarded this grant and to continue working with HCF on expanding innovative urban agriculture models in Central Florida!”

Photo by Ricardo Williams

Chris Castro, IDEAS For Us Co-Founder and Heather Grove, Program Coordinator. Photo by Ricardo Williams

More on the grant program and some words from Heather in the video below!

Locally Fresh Feature at Florida Film Festival

Thanks to a great group of filmmakers from Full Sail University, this short video was produced for the Enzian Theatre’s Florida Film Festival event, Locally Fresh. Four local producers were chosen, including Olde Hearth Bread Company, Lake Meadow Naturals, Palmetto Creek Farms, and us! Each producer had a short film followed by a cooking demo using their ingredients. The Enzian Chef featured some of Fleet Farming’s mint, which became part of a tasty cocktail!

Fleet Fruits: Re-CYCLING Forgotten Fruit

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.02.57 PM

Fleet Farming is proud to present: Fleet Fruits. As Floridians, we are bound to see some ripe oranges just dangling temptingly from a tree while driving just a few blocks in a residential area. You may have this problem yourself, or you could be watching your neighbors’ grapefruit tree drop its fruit to the ground, where they are left to rot.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.04.04 PMIt isn’t just in our local neighborhoods where food goes to waste. Food waste is startlingly common, with 40% of food in America being wasted, with only 10% of that food being recovered. The NRDC has concluded that “reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year.” One of the barriers to successfully recovering the wasted food is a lack of funds needed to glean, collect, package and distribute the fruit.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.01.38 PMSince Fleet Farming is all about growing and distributing healthy, local foods, we’ve decided to expand our horizons to include gleaning and distributing healthy, local foods, rather than letting it go to waste. While making sure less food is wasted, we will also be ensuring that more people have access to fresh produce; something that 23.5 million people cannot access within a mile of their home.

10906434_692669104183052_8569164749938000992_nIf you decide you want to donate fruit from your trees, visit Fleet Farming’s sign up form, where you can list the details about the type and size of your tree. We will follow up to see when it fruits, and then we will come and harvest it. After harvesting, the fruits will be sold at Market. Plus, you’ll receive a tax deductible receipt for donating the fruit, and you’ll also be left knowing that the fruit your tree produced wasn’t left to rot on the ground or eaten by pesky rodents, but was rather consumed by happy, and healthy locals. It’s a win win win!

DONATE  YOUR  TREE  HERE

 

Fleet Farming is Not That Kind of Farmer


Two University of Miami students, Karli Evans and Traia Thiel, heard about Fleet Farming through their school chapter of IDEAS For Us. They devoted their fall semester film project to documenting the story of Fleet Farming, making several visits to Orlando to be a part of the Swarm ride and to record every stage of our expansion. Since completing the film in early February, Karli and Traia have started an entire website to feature the sustainable local food scene in Miami, called Not That Kind of Farmer. We’ve been waiting for the right moment to share it with you all!

In celebration of completing our 10th working farmlette, we want to thank every urban farming volunteer, our sponsors, our mentors, and especially this film team for helping us….
1. Grow and sell over 1,000 pounds of produce to Central Florida
2. Engage over 80 volunteers
3. Complete 38 pedal-powered Swarm Rides
4. Get 80 homeowners to sign up to donate their lawn
5. Sell to over 8 local chefs and distributors

We couldn’t have grown this much without you. We are so grateful for your support!

Your Spring Garden

cropped-screen-shot-2014-02-03-at-9-18-46-am1.png
While we may not have had the snowstorms that ravaged much of the North East, Central Floridians are pretty happy that the chilly days are behind, and warm days await. While you can hop on over to the Audubon Market to buy our freshly harvested produce, there’s nothing stopping you from using the warm days to tend to your own garden. As we know over at East End, there is nothing quite as satisfying as growing, and eating, from your own yard.
4443678365_d4ca7150e7_b2661888787_50e69c2c22_b
 
If you are plating for the first time, take a gander over at our blog post from last year (https://www.eastendmkt.com/tag/compost/), and that will help you out from what type of compost to where to get your seeds. Once you have your garden all set, it’s time to get growing!
 
10 Veggies to Plant in Spring:
 2854458581_20bb305e14_z
Lima, Pole, and Bush Beans: March – April
Sweet Potato: March – June
Cantaloupes: March – April
Sweet Corn: March
Eggplant: March – April 
Okra: February – July
Cucumber: March
Watermelon: March – April
For herbs, it may be smart to start in a pot, and then it can be transferred to your garden once it matures. Cumin, which is perfect for your homemade curry, can be planted in Orlando in the Spring, and harvested once the leaves turn brown. Rosemary is a sun lover, and fresh or dried leaves can be used for cooking. Basil is of course an easy grow, and just like rosemary, it loves the sun, plus, it also attracts beneficial insects. For a perennial herb, try mint, which can actually be grown in shade or the full sun.  So happy farming, Orlandoans, and say hello to Spring!

Fleet Farming gets front page press in Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, FL – You might have heard of Kevin Spear, a local celebrity editorial writer for the Orlando Sentinel who often covers local and state-wide news regarding energy and the environment. Last Sunday on our bi-weekly Swarm ride, Kevin and his wife joined us for the journey, and decided to create a short video, photo album, and write a front-page story in the paper on Wednesday, February 17th, 2015!

,        OrlandoSentinel_frontpage_2_17               11002579_712572372192725_4954915810990435432_n

10308132_712550792194883_2167398363580806652_n 10516599_712548375528458_782409898900617530_n 10986494_712549172195045_8683898977231503813_n

Kevin introduces Fleet Farming by describing “kids, moms, hipsters, students and dads pedaling their bikes and wield borrowed tools to cultivate lettuce, kale and other organic greens in vibrant gardens of Orlando yards.”

Also quoted in the story was actress and farmlette host Andrea Baker, who said “I love the idea of zero carbon, zero pollution,” And, well, there’s more. “They do absolutely everything, and I get to sit with a cup of tea and watch,” she said, laughing in appreciation. “I get to enjoy.”

For more about the story, check out the article, video, and photo album at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-bicycle-urban-garden-expanding-20150217-story.html

10492618_712572385526057_4277675805668849465_n

Can Fleet Farming Save Food Deserts?

Fleet Farming was recently featured on the IDEAS For Us blog in “My IDEAS”, an on-going video series where environmentalists from around the world give their unique perspective on sustainability while highlighting how they are using their talents, skills, and new ideas to take action on climate change.

In this episode of “My IDEAS”, Heather Grove discusses urban agriculture and its impact on healthy living, climate action, and food deserts.

The IDEAS movement is fortunate enough to operate in many different countries and among many different cultures. With hundreds of people working tirelessly everyday to advance sustainability and increase environmental awareness, there are many great stories to tell. This series is an opportunity to highlight the amazing work done by IDEAS leaders all around the world as well as empowering others by sharing ideas.

The “My IDEAS” series was created by IDEAS Media Director, Ricardo Williams.

my-ideas_banner

Fleet Farming continues expansion in Audubon Park, Colonial-town, and Winter Park in Spring 2015

ORLANDO, FL — Over the past month, we’ve had an influx of new Fleet Farmers join the bi-weekly Swarm rides, helping to grow and distribute more local food in Orlando. Below are some recent pictures of our events.

A big thanks to all the riders who have helped continue the pedal-powered urban farming program!

5 10419510_685518611564768_8717027392192918568_n

6 10676248_685518434898119_6104554224350157295_n

1911996_676476045802358_6797171012367073305_n 10801937_668032053313424_2942746825513559491_n

10846453_668031949980101_2263135796355239043_n 10653651_672441822872447_1939848156662832250_n

281925_672441859539110_7443871130328568034_n 10408739_676475925802370_2459839209232789344_n

Where can I get some Fleet Greens?
Come by the Audubon Park Community Mark every Monday from 6-8pm ET to pick up for Fleet Greens for the week, OR find the at Local Roots located at East End Market!

How do I get involved?
Please reach out to us at: think@ideasforus.org or click the Sign Up tab at the top of the page.

Now at the Audubon Park Community Market Monday Nights!

One of the beautiful things about Fleet Farming is that everyone can participate on any level that they wish. Whether you host a farmlette, farm with us on a Swarm ride, or simply buy Fleet Farm greens at the Market, there is a way to get involved for both the greenest and blackest of thumbs.

This past Monday, Audubon Park Community Market goers had their first opportunity to purchase Fleet Farming’s organic and locally grown greens! After hours of harvesting, washing and packaging in East End Market’s licensed kitchen, we were ready to sell!

We had 4 varieties to choose from: arugula, arugula and Asian green mix, arugula and baby romaine, or just baby romaine. We sold over 20 lbs of greens on Monday night and hope to sell out next Monday! Whatever doesn’t go home with market-goers on Monday, we sell to Chef Henry at Txokos Basque Kitchen or some of the East End merchants right down the road.

Oh, wondering how much green to bring? We sold our JAM PACKED 1/2 pound bags for an introductory price of just $3 or 2 for $5. Unlike store-bought greens that will start to rot just days after opening, our FRESH lettuce will last more than a week! It stays fresh longer because it didn’t travel miles on a truck and sit in a warehouse before being delivered to the store. It also lasts longer because there is just so darn much of it!

So, stay tuned for another video on the story of Fleet next month, and in the meantime see you at the market!