Thursday night, the City of Dunedin will award its Environmental Advocate Award not to an individual, but to Dunedin Community Garden. Jim McGinty, representing the garden, will accept the award on behalf of others.
The purpose of the environmental advocate program is to identify and recognize members of Dunedin whose actions protect and conserve the natural environment, so states a description of the award on the City of Dunedin's website.
Patch had a chance to speak with McGinty and ask him five questions about his association with the garden and about the garden itself.
What do you do with the Dunedin Community Garden?
We started it three years ago and took us a couple of year of meetings, the right people on the board to do some fundraising. The city had a number of residents approach to have a community garden. “Well, we are a green city, maybe we should have one of these?” To do this long-term, we had to have an organization and get grants and get donations. Just a bunch of interested residents who want organic, fresh produce. People in condos and apartments don’t have the space.
Was there any other reason you got involved?
I wasn’t interested in a place for myself, I have a yard but didn’t know much about growing vegetables. I wanted to learn. I wanted to meet other people in the community.
How many people take advantage of the garden?
We have 21 people who garden, each has a 5x8-foot plot. People subscribe for the plot. The city gave us a portion of the Eagle Scout Park off of Virginia St. surrounded by apartments and condos and townhouses, doing outreach to be members. You can be a member and not garden and just support education and the programs.
What do you do for a living?
I teach an environmental charter school in Lutz, Learning Gate Community School. I teach environmental science.
Usually, adults become interested in their profession as children in some way. What ignited the environmental flame for you as a youngster?
For me it was watching birds, I was seven, watching birds for a long time. That got me going into environment. It fed my career. I worked at nature centers across the country including Booker Creek Preserve.