Bay Life Church invites the community to its Seeds of Faith Community Garden, where growers can harvest their own produce as well as help give back to local food banks.

In recent years, community gardens have increased in popularity, as they provide opportunities to learn gardening, grow your own healthy food and meet others in the community. The Seeds of Faith Community Garden, sponsored by Bay Life Church, is an on-campus garden created to be a place for learning, fellowship and providing food for local food pantries.

The garden was started by Bay Life Church in 2010 with seven volunteers and an empty plot of land. Throughout the last 14 years, the ministry has faithfully grown thousands of pounds of fresh produce for families at ECHO and Hope for Her.

This community garden is unique because it’s divided into two sections — with individual grower beds and donation beds. The individual grower beds can be rented out to people who are interested growing their own produce, while the donation beds are run by volunteers to harvest produce that is donated to local food banks.

Jordan Armstrong, Bay Life missions assistant, explained that the best way to serve at Seeds of Faith is to help at the garden work days.

“The community is involved with the garden,” said Armstrong. “It is a great way for those who may not have the room to start their own garden but want to, so they now have the option with the open beds that we have in the garden.”

On the second Saturday of each month, from 8-10 a.m., people of all ages come together help in the garden. The workdays for 2024 begin on January 13 and run through July 13.

“I did not know anything about gardening and what it took to maintain a garden,” said Armstrong. “With volunteering, it is cool to see how dedicated some of them are and how much time they put into doing something they love.”

Volunteers are needed to do anything from harvesting, mulching, weeding and more. There’s a job for everyone and no sign-up is needed — just bring a water bottle and wear comfortable gardening clothes.

Last year, the garden yielded nearly 3,800 pounds of produce, and this year’s harvest is similar. Some of the produce grown are beans, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, Florida gold potatoes, collards, kale, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, beets, eggplant and peppers.

It costs $35 to rent a bed, which requires a 10-hour volunteer commitment per year, or the cost is $60 without volunteering. Students who work in the garden can earn community service hours.

If you are interested in renting a plot to grow or volunteering, email or call 813-661-3696. Check out the group’s Facebook page at Bay Life Church is located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.