TAMPA, Fla. — Under cloudy skies in Tampa, a bright spot for the Oaks at Riverview neighborhood is taking shape. Kids from a Tampa Housing Authority community center are planting a community garden, and you can tell they’re excited.
“I’m going to take the plants out and put them in this spot, so my plants will grow,” explained one girl.
“Over here, we planted lettuce and spinach,” pointed out a young boy.
The garden will bring all sorts of benefits to the area, the most obvious one—food.
“We know there are people in this country that are not eating at night,” said Stephanie Brown, Tampa Housing Authority Director. “This is an opportunity to have fresh vegetables and everything to go on the table for our families.”
The garden is a team effort. It’s funded by a $10,000 grant from 10 Tampa Bay and the TEGNA Foundation, and coordinated by the Super Bowl LV Host Committee. The big game is long over, but long-lasting community improvements like this garden are just getting started.
“When we talk about our legacy program and the $2 million we’re putting back into our community, it’s about sustainable initiations and this behind me, is exactly what that is,” said Claire Lessinger of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, pointing to the garden. “This will live on forever.”
Former Buccaneer and now Youth Manager for the Tampa Housing Authority, Dexter Jackson doesn’t mind getting some dirt on his Super Bowl ring, because he loves this outdoor activity for the kids.
“In this society, they’re inside, playing video games and on cell phones. Let’s try to get kids being kids again; let’s get outside, let’s play,” he said.
David Whitwam from Whitwam Organics planned the garden’s layout and will continue working with the kids. Right along with the veggies, this garden will soon sprout lessons in wellness, math, and science.