Monica Petrella scooped up the dark earth and stuck some carrot seeds in the small hole.
The 21-year-old UF food and resource economics junior said she hopes to study sustainable food systems, and community gardening is one way to start that path.
“I love giving back to Gainesville since I’m from here,” Petrella said.
Broccoli, onions and carrots are just a few of the winter crops that will be ready to harvest from the Downtown Farmers Garden in a few months after a Fall Planting Event Tuesday evening celebrating World Food Day.
The Alachua County Office of Sustainability, Florida Organic Growers and Citizen’s Co-op were some of the local organizations that collaborated for the event.
About 20 volunteers planted seeds, seedling vegetables and seedling spices in five planting beds. Fall and spring planting events are hosted each year.
Florida Organic Growers community food project coordinator Travis Mitchell mapped out the raised gardening beds for the volunteers and gave them packets of seeds.
He said events like this help give back to the area.
“It’s all about trying to build a community,” Mitchell said.
Chris Cano, 24, of Gainesville Compost, volunteers a few hours a week collecting restaurant food scraps and bringing them to the garden on his bicycle.
In 2011, volunteers spent about 200 hours on the Downtown Farmers Garden and other community events.
“It’s a good example of how trash can be turned into treasure,” Cano said.
When the harvest is ripe around December, the food will be donated to Catholic Worker House and the St. Francis House.
Last year, $1,000 worth of produce was donated to Sisters Helping Sisters and St. Francis House.
“It’s just one cog for greater food security and economic opportunity in this community,” said Sean McLendon, Alachua County sustainability program manager.
After the planting, Citizen’s Co-op screened the short film “Locally Grown: The Lexington Co-op Market Story.”