You’ve probably heard of the MANNA Pantries, but have you heard of MANNA Food Gardens? MANNA Food Gardens, like the MANNA Pantries, is a branch of MANNA that is committed to alleviating hunger in the Northwest Florida area. MANNA Food Gardens was also developed with the MANNA slogan in mind: “Lleave no one unfed.”
MANNA Food Gardens was seeded in 2005 with a generous $125,000 grant from Impact100 Pensacola Bay Area. The gardens provide an opportunity to ensure not only that the food-insecure receive food, but that the food they receive is fresh and healthy. MANNA Food Gardens currently consists of several community gardens, an organic garden, a greenhouse and grow troughs.
The community gardens are intended for use by those who will benefit most from the harvest, both financially and nutritionally. MANNA has laid the foundation for the community gardens, and looks to the community’s businesses, neighborhoods and sponsoring schools to take over ongoing operations and financial support. All produce raised in the gardens provides nourishment to the local community cultivating the land, and where possible, to MANNA clients based on contributions to the MANNA pantries by the garden keepers.
An ‘urban garden’ has been established at MANNA’s downtown campus, with plantings on close to 1/2 acre of concrete slab that was cleared by Hurricane Ivan. A greenhouse has been erected on this same property, which is used to propagate seed plants for all of MANNA's gardens and to continue crop production through the colder winter months.. All food harvested from the grow troughs located at MANNA’s main site goes directly to the Pantry for distribution to clients.
MANNA Food Gardens is currently expanding and has plans to create more community gardens in the future. Most of these gardens will be located in lower-income areas to give residents a means of growing their own food. The grow troughs located on the MANNA property, and all the food that is grown there goes straight into MANNA’s pantries.
MANNA Food Gardens appeals to a variety of people living in a variety of life circumstances. Perhaps the most acknowledged benefit of the gardens is that, like the pantries, MANNA provides food to those who otherwise might not be able to eat. However, the scope of the gardens goes far beyond the hungry. MANNA Food Gardens provides the opportunity for neighbors to come together, work hand-in-hand, and give back to their communities. They allow volunteers to gain a sense of pride in knowing they have helped those in need. Also, the gardens beautify communities, and in this way, benefit the community as a whole as well as the individuals who live there. By giving back to the community in all of these ways, MANNA Food Gardens is making a difference in the lives of individuals and helping to “leave no one unfed.”
MANNA Food Gardens Locations (including collaborative gardens)
Julian & Callie Harris Memorial Community Garden - 121 South DeVilliers Street
GROW / Eastside Community Garden - 209 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Fetterman - Whibbs Memorial Community Garden - West Government Street
Gadsden Street United Methodist Church Garden - East Jackson Street
Movement For Change Community Garden - N. Davis Highway
Bellview Middle School & Community Garden
Bellview Elementary School Garden
Blue Angels Elementary School Garden
Brown Barge Middle School Garden
C. A. Weis School Garden
Cordova Park Elementary School Garden
Creative Learning Academy School Garden
Episcopal Day School Garden
Escambia Westgate School Garden
Ferry Pass Middle School Garden
Gulf Breeze Elementary School Garden
Hallmark Elementary School Garden
Oakcrest Elementary School Garden
O. J. Semmes Elementary School Garden
Warrington Middle School Garden
Workman Middle School Garden
Head Start Program Office, West Cervantes Street
MANNA Greenhouse and Grow Troughs - 116 E. Gonzalez Street