Learning where our food comes from.

Since 1989, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB), the environmental community improvement nonprofit organization devoted to a cleaner, greener and more beautiful Tampa Bay, has formed partnerships with local governments, corporations, schools and neighborhood organizations to engage individuals and provide opportunities to enhance the community through volunteer participation.

Now, it has joined forces with Tampa Bay Farm 2 School, an organization that empowers youth for health and success through hands-on agricultural and culinary experiences.

According to KTBB Executive Director Debbie Evenson, “We are thrilled to add this component to our existing programs of community cleanups, environmental education and beautification to create a complete program of community sustainability.”

Since 2013, Tampa Bay Farm 2 School has provided volunteers and expertise to schools to establish student gardens and integrate nutrition and food sustainability education. Bringing Farm 2 School under the umbrella of KTBB will serve to further enhance KTBB’s hands-on sustainable living education experiences to kids and families by offering young minds a connection between plants that come from the earth, and the food served at the table.

The addition of Farm 2 School, and its ‘Kids’ Kitchen’ program specifically, will help to fulfill a vision of fostering healthy communities by showing young gardeners how to use what they grow to make healthy food that tastes great.

Places that Farm 2 School has worked with in the past include the Boys & Girls Club of Temple Terrace, Cork Elementary School, Greco Middle School, Muller Elementary School and Turner/Bartels K-8.

Elizabeth Leib, founder and director of Tampa Bay Farm 2 School, explained, “It’s been my dream to expand Farm 2 School’s unique hands-on sustainable living education to more kids. Merging with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful allows us to expand a unique circle of learning that connects sustainable gardening, plant-based cooking and composting experiences.”

Evenson said of the union, “The timing of this merger comes as we are preparing to open our Environmental Education Center which will provide educational lessons including water testing, watershed health and environmental sustainability as well as serve as a community-based compost site with hydroponic and pollinator gardens. Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and it is safe to congregate, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will launch this exciting new chapter of our organization and Farm 2 School will be an essential part of it as Kids’ Kitchen.”

To get involved with KTBB, call 221-8733 or visit keeptampabaybeautiful.org.

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