Grimal Grove gets a big boost

Grimal Grove gets a big boost

Growing Hope Foundation’s receives $80,845 grant for youth projects

“It’s a real community effort,” said Growing Hope Foundation’s Patrick Garvey at the check presentation on Tuesday at Grimal Grove on Big Pine Key. “We couldn’t do a thing without these volunteers.”

Growing Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, received $80,845.96 from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to “Save the Grimal Grove,” a service-learning project. The Grove is one of 62 organizations nationwide to receive the grant.

“More than 1,000 organizations across the country applied for the grant,” said State Farm representative Jose Soto from the Miami office. “Seven were chosen in Florida for the $4 million in grants, and we are happy to have Grimal Grove be a part of this funding.”

“Save the Grimal Grove” is a campaign to resurrect the unique tropical garden designed by a reclusive engineer, Adolf Grimal, in the 1950s. Grimal carved fresh water ponds and cisterns, and built raised garden beds to form a lush tropical garden from limestone rock. After he died in 1997, the edible paradise was forgotten and turned into an overgrown haven for trash until Growing Hope Foundation bought the property and began restoring and revitalizing the piece of Florida Keys history.

”It’s a very special place,” said Monroe County Commissioner George Neugent as he thanked the State Farm representatives on Tuesday. “Thank you for helping make it more special.”

The Grove is an “edible community park,” which hosts workshops, youth programs, events, and community supported agriculture and tourism. It focuses on the environment, healthy and sustainable living, education, and arts.

Both local and visiting youth have been a major component since the beginning of rebuilding the Grove; primarily the students of Big Pine Charter School, who assist in the cleanup, design, study and outreach of the tropical garden. Historic Tour of America also recently provided funds for a community compositing site. Key West High School student volunteers present at the event were saying they couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty.

Grimal Grove is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is always looking for volunteers.

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Grimal Grove is offering a free youth program on Tuesday and Friday beginning Friday, Nov. 6 running through June from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Big Pine Key property for students in seventh through 12th grade. They will learn about community composting, water conservation, organic pest control, natural cooking, bee keeping and honey cultivation, candle making, blacksmithing, jam making, worm farming, soap making, aquaponics, documentary film making, and more. To sign up, e-mail [email protected]

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