Growing up in North Florida I’ve witnessed a lot of growth. My family has lived in North Florida ever since the Florida was a state. They operated a trading post/ post office and steam boat stop on the Apalachicola River for almost 100 years. To them growing your own food was just what you had to do. My dad moved to Jacksonville and he and his brothers built the house we lived in. I grew up on the west side of Jacksonville and as a young man worked in several nurseries in the area.
I always had a passion for plants and the outdoors. When I first got back in the nursery business about 2007 it was with the intention of having a small side business and maybe a little income stream. Then I met folks at the Beaches Green Market and the edible component of my business expanded. I enjoyed sharing the market experience with my kids and hearing stories about people’s gardens and their successes (as well as failures!) in urban agriculture. Volunteering at the North Florida School of Special Education’s gardens led me to study at Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Will Allen. The training I received there helped Berry Good Farms to grow out of NFSSE’s small garden into the microbusiness training model it is today.
"There is an urban agricultural revolution going on and we are passionate about helping you get involved!"
The sharing continues. This sharing experience has provided great satisfaction and I have tried to expand upon this with my business. Planting the seeds of knowledge in the next generation is very satisfying work. We as a nation have strayed far from our connection to the Earth in our 'fast food have it now' culture.
I have tried to help reconnect individuals to nature with plants, gardens and advice. For the price of a fast food meal you could plant a berry bush or fruit tree that could provide seasonal snacks for a decade or more! One of our goals moving forward is to help the next generation realize the importance of local, sustainably grown food. We hope to do this with more school gardens, garden education programs, edible school yards, and more.
You can make a difference in your area! By donating to our education fund you can help us provide more plants for our school gardens and education programs. Or consider volunteering at Berry Good Farms, of North Florida School of Special Education that provides vocational training in the agricultural industry for individuals with special needs. Let’s keep up the momentum and continue to grow! 100% of donations to the Armstrong Farms goes to plants and services for schools.