For young people, a hands-on lesson that food doesn’t actually come from a grocery store

Published on: February 4, 2015

Mitch Traphagen photos.

Mitch Traphagen photos.

In a two-tiered program at the Firehouse Cultural Center that began Jan. 10 and will run through May 30, young people are provided a hands-on opportunity to learn that food doesn’t really come from supermarkets, but rather is grown and harvested.

In one class, led by instructor Christine Putt, and offered with the generous assistance of Hydro-Harvest Farms on East Shell Point in Ruskin, young people are learning the magic of hydroponic farming, in planting, growing and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables, all with sustainability and conservation in mind.

In another class, led by instructor Mona Jiminez, young people grow a variety of healthy plants for eating, cooking and sharing in the cultural center’s new garden. The variety will include vegetables, herbs and flowers growing in everything from straw bales and old tires to traditional garden beds.

IMG_0516-firehousegardeningThe class encourages young people to dig in the dirt and have fun while learning about the amazing fruits of their labors (often literally). The Hydroponics and Garden Adventure classes are for children ages 8 to 14 and are completely tuition free.

Classes are held on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. Lunch and light snacks are provided. There are still some places available, so call the Firehouse Cultural Center now at 813-645-7651 or visit to learn more. The program is funded in part by Allegany Franciscan Ministries Inc. — Mitch Traphagen.