A Center of Growth
An oasis of green on the corner of 8th and Pearl Streets, The Bridge Community Garden is a unique enrichment program. The garden is a place where Bridge children and teens learn how to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables while at the same time learning about team work, responsibility and entrepreneurship.
The Garden was started in April 2009 by local businessman, Dan Bradford, beginning with six raised beds of fruits and vegetables. Two grants from The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Foundation doubled the size of the garden along with doubling the number of students who could take the Garden Classes. Now The Garden is over 800 square feet and planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, watermelon and so much more. In 2012, the garden size was again increased with the addition of an arboretum of 16 citrus trees.
After years of dedicated service and commitment to teaching young children the How To's of gardening, Dan Bradford left behind a legacy by which today, University of North Florida students within the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics have taken the lead in teaching classes and care of the garden by helping Bridge students pull weeds and harvest the produce. The Bridge has brought in volunteer nutritionists who have taught classes in healthy eating habits, canning and making jelly. During the summer, a fitness component is added. The program also includes experiential field trips to a neighborhood restaurant Uptown Market to assist chefs as they prepare healthy meals using fruits and vegetables.
The Bridge is grateful to many of Jacksonville’s garden clubs, individuals and companies who have visited the Garden and made gifts to sustain it.