Grow Downtown Raises Funds for Flagler Garden, but More Is Needed

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It was a hippie's dream this Sunday at Flagler Garden for Grow Downtown. Organic fruits and veggies, vintage threads, and opportunities to plant trees on God's green Earth were available all because of a vision Chad Scott, founder of Flagler Garden, had.

Scott's dream started in the plot next door to Flagler Garden but was unfortunately foreclosed and destroyed. Thank God for First Lutheran Church (see what we did there?) for donating land for what is now Flagler Garden. After "researching all around the world," Scott found Cadence, a landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm located in the artsy-fartsiness of Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village Arts District.

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Yet, there is still more fundraising to be done. To date, $12,592 has been raised. This includes profits from Night Owl Market events, private donations, and a state grant. There are three phases essential for the fundraising process. For phase one, $36,355 is needed. This phase -- which will hopefully be underway by June -- will provide both an urban and social space where people can escape the typical, city lifestyle of downtown and embrace nature and green living.

With Grow Downtown, there were plenty of go-green options available, like painting your own plant pot, planting a seed, and -- our personal favorite -- sangria made by Whole Foods.

Flagler Garden will be a space for "free educational workshops on anything related to our mission, a social scene, and for people to grow their own food," said Scott. "[Our mission] is to bring awareness to the community about gardens... and urban gardening. [We want] to inspire other city improvements," added Scott.

Numerous vendors were present, including a woman who made new creations out of trash articles and a traveling honey booth with crazy ingredients. Vendors paid a vendor fee to sell their own goods that went to Flagler's donation pile.

"I saw Chad grow this dream for a year already," said Pilar Batlle, one of the workers behind Trash to Treasure. "It goes right with our vision. It creates a feeling of community."

Marcea Cazel, marketing manager of Whole Foods, which sponsored the event, also shared positive vibes: "It's fun for us. It's great working for an event like this that lets us give back to the community... It's a great idea to bring a garden to an urban area."

Flagler Garden is located at 441 NE Third Ave in Fort Lauderdale. Visit flaglergarden.org to make a donation toward the garden.

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