Florida man creates urban garden, providing Parramore residents with access to locally grown produce

Put on your track shoes to keep up with Ray Worthen. The 39-year-old doesn’t stop moving. He moves through Paramore’s urban garden, pointing to the food there with dizzying speed.

Warsens flap as fast as bees as they move through this patch of land where hope grows as abundantly as the food planted there.

When Warthen first started the garden, it was full of garbage and debris, and the homeless often slept there. But Worzen decided to make the garden bigger.

“There was portajón here. That’s it. There was nothing here,” Worsen said. “Literally Dead He had space. We had to put up the poles ourselves.”

Warten slept on the land for many nights to grow the garden. His mission is to ensure that Paramore residents, who he says makes an average income of about $17,000 a year, have access to organic, locally grown produce.

“I went across the street to the housing unit over there and told them what I wanted to grow here. So I grew what they wanted. Why am I planting chives?” They don’t eat chives or mushrooms or pumpkins. I didn’t plant anything people wouldn’t eat.

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Warthen said the garden actually took hold during the COVID-19 pandemic when Paramore schoolchildren who were eating at school found themselves without food.

“When there are no schools, the schools are closed for a whole year. There is no food, so we hand out garbage bags and tall kitchen bags with vegetables to the community. really,” I realized. Here for us” and that’s why we () have earned the respect of the community itself.

When asked about the garden that gives him hope, Worthen said: The homeless are back here. ”

His commitment to the homeless in Paramore made him so respectable. They fiercely defend the universe and are called “Paramore’s Emeralds”.

“I call them my street drug sales people,” Warsen said with a laugh. It’s a sign of respect.”

His legacy is also a sign of respect. Warthen is his fifth generation farmer. it’s in his blood.

His great-uncle is Julius July Perry, an Ocoee farmer who was murdered 100 years ago by a white mob to protect black residents’ voting rights. Warthen sees this as a continuation of that legacy, citing the Greek proverb, “When someone plants a tree, a society grows big, and never sits in its shade.”

“My hope for the future is that we can minimize food desertification,” Worthen said. “People always ask me, ‘Ray, why are you trying so hard? When they find out it’s Daddy, they say, ‘Okay, respect.'”

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