Giving Through Growing

By Alia Akkam / October 5, 2011

Over 35 percent of families in Broward County, Florida, aren’t certain where they will get their next meal. As the founder of the Need to Feed Gardening Initiative in Pompano, which she originally launched in Indiana 11 years ago, Trina Spillman helps alleviate this sad reality by growing fresh fruits and vegetables for a local food pantry. Spillman, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, also presides over the Community Café where she adds a dose of pragmatism to her garden-to-table approach: showing recipients how to cook budget friendly meals with their newfound bounty of produce, she even dispenses kits with all the fixings to make, say, salsa.

“I don’t like food going to waste. You can grow all this great stuff, but it’s not going to be used if people don’t know what to do with a Daikon radish or how to make gazpacho,” she points out. Because of her proactive stance on community gardening, Spillman was named one of Woodbridge by Mondavi’s Giving Through Growing ‘Heroes’ – along with Alison Kindler of the Fort Barnard Community Garden in Arlington, Virginia; Sherry Williams of Red Gate Community Garden in Brooklyn, New York; and LaManda Joy of the Peterson Garden Project in Chicago – and given a grant to help fulfill her vision. The annual search, a partnership with the American Community Gardening Association, honors passionate edible gardeners and champions of sustainability from across the country. At Need to Feed, for example, Spillman plans to expand her square-foot-gardens of seeds planted in grids, from 20 to 100 with the help of husband and master gardener, Keith. “You don’t need rows and rows of land to grow healthy food,” she attests. “This is something you can do in an apartment.”

Alia Akkam
Alia Akkam

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