Sol Growers Turn Underutilized Lawns Into Sustainable Food Gardens for Family Households

The Giving Coast

As a Green Business Partner with Sarasota County, Sol Growers is working toward being the most sustainable business that it can be—focusing on energy conservation and reducing the overall impact on the environment by helping locals become self-sufficient through sustainable and affordable living. The Sarasota nonprofit,  works solely on donations to transform underutilized lawns into micro-farms and fruit forests through garden installations of fruit trees, botanicals, spices, herbs and veggies. With that growth, they have also grown a dedicated community centered around sustainable agriculture and mindful gardening/landscaping practices—to ensure more people have access to healthy produce and local food systems. 

"Our 'Phase One' will begin with our involvement with community gardens," shares Founder Eric Conley. "For the next 12-24 months, we will be helping with existing projects and setting up new projects.  There are many successful cases and Sol Growers is studying how this knowledge can be leveraged by individual households." 

Phase Two is a larger vision to simultaneously address three key issues, which Conley shares with us below:   

  1. Re-think how to live and work and have a connection to nature.  Our busy lives require our full attention, but there is significant well-being that comes from touching nature that we and our children are missing.  
  2. Poor nutrition is hurting us in many ways.  The issues are direct, but are masked by complexity.  
  3. The high cost of living will continue to increase which also increase the number of people in the low-income category.  

Combined, Sol Growers intends to solve these three issues for families of four that only earn $40K per year.  "We envision a house that is truly a home that provides a connection with nature, grows nutritious food, and all at an affordable cost," he says. "This is not an affordable housing project, but a re-thinking of what is actually needed and addressing it with the today’s technology."

In the last year,  the nonprofit donated over 31 species of edible plants to 11 different households to inspire more local gardens. Conley notes they are working on five more larger gardens in the next month and continues to encourage locals to reach out with potential projects/ideas.

Photo courtesy of Sol Growers. Contact them here.

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