Chad Scott, president of the nonprofit Flagler Garden Project.

The concept of urban agriculture has already sprouted in cities like New York, Los Angeles and even Miami Beach, where citizens can grow their own food in neighborhood plots. In Broward County, however, the idea has not taken root, perhaps because we haven’t had the kind of urban density that robs residents of green space.

That has now changed, with the launching of a new urban garden on a small plot of church land in the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village. The brainchild of community organizer Chad Scott, The Flagler Community Garden now has a home on Northeast 3rd Avenue between 4th and 5th streets.

The idea for the garden began in 2009, when a coalition of Flagler Village residents received permission from a local developer to cultivate a vacant lot. In early 2011, however, the land was foreclosed on and cleared.

“I was inspired by that and was thinking how I could restart that garden,” says Chad, president of the nonprofit Flagler Garden Project. “I was an auditor for seven years, but I wanted to do something fun and new. So I went into real estate so that everything I did could also benefit the community,” says the Broward native who also lives in Flagler Village.

Long before the Garden Project, Chad was a champion of civic duty, participating in neighborhood cleanups and city events. He used local connections to find a new home for the garden. “I connected with churches—one of which told me they had a vacant house with a plot of land.” That was the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fort Lauderdale and Pastor Paul Pfadenhauer.

Chad gathered volunteers and sponsors, and hosted charity events such as The Night Owl Market in June—a craft fair co-sponsored by the Flagler Garden and FAT Village Artwalk. With additional funds donated by Whole Foods and other local businesses, the project broke ground in September.

When finished, the garden will incorporate 79 4×4-foot raised garden plots, along with paths, compost bins, rain barrels and hanging garden areas. A refurbished building on the plot will offer events and workshops.

“Even though we have a very small plot (65,000sq ft.), the space is maximized,” says Chad. “Some people don’t have backyards and this is another way to get outdoors and connect with your neighbors and nature.” Of the 79 plots, 10 will be earmarked for nearby schools and colleges for gardening and environmental classes.

“We hope that our continued support of Flagler Garden will provide the residents of Fort Lauderdale with a space of their own to relax and know their neighbors, while also educating the children of the city on the beauty of seeing food grow and eating healthier,” says Whole Foods spokesperson Marcea Cazel.

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