New organic community farm in Pinellas

11:19 PM, Jun 2, 2009   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida--With recent recalls and concerns over contaminated food from other countries, many people are taking a closer look at what they're eating and where it's from.

Many of your fruits and vegetables rack up more frequent flyer miles than you do! There's a new place in Pinellas County where you can buy locally grown, organic food for much less than you might think.

Hank & Pamela Sindlinger are gearing up for the fall harvest season at Sweetwater Pinellas. It will become the first organic community farm in Pinellas County.

**Saturday October 6th, Sweetwater Pinellas will hold a new member/orientation workday.

They also need volunteers to help them convert the Gateway Nursery on 6000 150 Avenue North in Clearwater, near the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport into an organic community farm.

Memberships for Sweetwater Pinellas are still available. You pay the farmer a lump sum up front, but each pick breaks down to about $22.00.

The first pickup will be November 4th from 12 to 4 PM.

To learn more about memberships, click here.

The Sindlinger's grandchildren, Stephen and Stephanie are helping the couple convert the nursery into a farm.

Stephen told us some of his classmates don't even realize where fresh foods come from.

Stephen Sindlinger/Sweetwater Pinellas
“We actually brought in a watermelon to class and one of my friends said, "You actually have to cut a watermelon?" My grandmother said, "Where do you get yours?" He said from a cup at the grocery store. That was pretty sad!”

Pamela & Hank grew up in Ohio where their families planted different crops to feed their large families. They decided this would be a great opportunity to teach their grandkids the importance of getting back to basics.

Pamela Sindlinger/Sweetwater Pinellas
“It's really taught them a lot about why it's important to give the plant everything it needs from water, to sun to whatever nutrients it might be lacking. I think it was interesting to our grandkids that it took 90 days to grow a tomato... from the time we planted a seed to the harvest.”

Many fresh fruits and vegetables travel on average, some two thousand miles before they land in the grocery store.

We found oranges that travelled almost 7900 miles from South Africa to Tampa, Tomatos grown 2200 miles away in Canada and peppers all the way from China, almost 8800 miles away. You usually have just days to eat them before they go bad.

Rick Martinez runs another organic community farm in the bay area. Sweetwater Tampa is near Tampa International Airport.

Sweetwater Tampa is the first organic community farm in the bay area and the inspiration behind the new farm, Sweetwater Pinellas.

Martinez says locally grown organic food is more nutritious because it's picked in the morning, and you can pick it up and eat it hours later.

Rick Martinez/Sweetwater Tampa
“ Our food will last weeks in the refrigerator compared to days. It's just been out of the ground for a couple of hours.There are people who say I have never tasted a tomato like this or broccoli like this. ”

 The Sindlingers hope to eventually grow 70 different organic vegetables, herbs and fruits on their 3 and a half acre farm in Pinellas County.

Heather Van Nest

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