Manatee County, use idle land to fight hunger

November 8, 2013 

Feed the hungry in Manatee County; don't ask the county that they have been sitting on 19 acres of local prime farm land for over 10 years.

This property is located at Tallevast and Prospect roads behind Kinnan Elementary School (property ID 1972900159). For over 10 years this property could have been utilized much like the Geraldson community farm (20 acres) to the benefit of the citizens of Manatee County, yet the county did nothing in over 10 years.

In addition, the county taxes itself at "0." Not only did the citizens of Manatee not benefit in a productive way, not one red cent went into the coffers as well.

This property could have easily provided local produce for our schools and food banks. There needs to be more open collaboration between the county and businesses, schools, civic organizations and others who would have readily stepped up to the plate to use this property in a productive way.

I personally took a soil sample to the University of Florida extension office and the results came back with a pH of 6.41 -- ideal for farming vegetables and other crops.

Tens of thousands of healthy meals have slipped by the citizens for the last 10 years. Let's hope they will be doing something before the next 10 years.

There is a great opportunity to move forward in a positive way. To fix the wrong, make it right with the taxpayers and citizens of Manatee County; it's the least the county can do after 10 years of doing nothing. We should expect more from our local government.

"The real cause of hunger is the powerlessness of the poor to gain access to the resources they need to feed themselves." -- Frances Moore Lappé

Glen Gibellina


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