Grow Your Own Food

Have you ever wanted to start a vegetable garden but just aren't sure how to get started or what resources are out there?  Maybe you have tried in the past but just didn't have much "luck"?  Growing your own food is a great way to engage with the outdoors and your community, not to mention the added health benefits.  Join us for a discussion with some of the region's top experts on the how-to's and strategies used in seasonal + small scale food farming you can do right in your own backyard. 


Amanda Searle – Founder and President of Sustainable Springfield


  • Nathan Ballentine aka Main in Overalls - Urban Farmer, Entrepreneur, Community Organizer and Educator
  • Laureen Husband – Director of Strategic Expansion, Operation New Hope
  • Chris Kerr - Commercial Horticulture Agent II, University of Florida IFAS Extension
  • Frank Wallmeyer- President, Standard Feed


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the event has been capped at 40 attendees, and we encourage attendees to follow these guidelines:

-Do not attend if you have symptoms of, a positive test for, or were recently exposed (within 14 days) to COVID-19.

-Bring and use cloth face coverings at the event. We will also have masks on hand for your use.

-Maintain a distance of 6 feet whenever possible.



Amanda Searle is a local real estate broker who has been involved in Jacksonville's small scale food movement for over a decade.  She has been vegetable gardening since she was in her teens.  Her interest in urban agriculture began when she and some friends started a non-profit to build a community garden in historic Springfield in 2010.  In addition to building the community garden, the non-profit partnered with local chefs to teach seasonal cooking classes, offered a kid's program to teach children about gardening, partnered with Down To Earth Farms to offer internships to high school kids, distributed free rain barrels, harvested honey from the non-profit's hives for the neighborhood, worked with River City Chicks to legalize backyard hen keeping, and helped raise money for and design the Riverside Community Garden; and many more community services.  She is passionate about empowering others to raise their own food and to participate in a community of growth + knowledge sharing.

Nathan Ballentine & his team of farmers in Overalls grow & support you to #GrowYourGroceries in beautiful, bountiful raised bed food gardens. A gardener since 8, Nathan put on his overalls in 2009 to support aspiring gardeners to help ensure his community would eat well as they weathered the Great Recession. He and his team have taught 10,000s, helped with 1000s of home gardens, contributed to countless community & school gardens, small farms, and cultivated the FL Department of Agriculture demo garden from the ground up. Nathan dreams of a network of neighborhood-based farming teams across the Deep South.

Laureen Husband, E.D., is the Director of Strategic Expansion at Operation New Hope where she oversees the replication of the nationally recognized reentry initiative - Ready4Work.  She previously worked for the Florida Department of Health in Polk, Duval and Volusia Counties and provided oversight over coalitions, community health programs (HIV/AIDs, WIC, Tobacco and School Health), strategic planning, community health assessment and improvement, as well as facilitating local dialogue and engagement to address childhood obesity, food insecurity, chronic disease prevention, social justice, health equity, social capital and worksite wellness through public/private partnerships.

Prior to joining the Department of Health, Husband developed, implemented and managed programs addressing the wellbeing and welfare of children and women in the nonprofit sector. She has extensive experience working with community groups to address socio-economic security as well as health disparities.  Husband’s areas of expertise include community development, food policy, grant writing, education, cultural competency, fiscal management, and resource development after natural disasters.  She is part of the Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health Cohort II. Husband has published a dissertation on the lived experiences of women on poverty. She was educated at the University of West Florida, University of Kentucky, and Berea College. She grew up in a small village in Kenya, East Africa.

Dr. Christopher Kerr is the Commercial Horticulture Agent II for UF/IFAS Duval county Extension.  Dr. Kerr works with county clients on a variety of concerns including plant nutrition and disease, entomology, and invasive species management with a focus on the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) tactics.  Dr. Kerr earned a M.S. in entomology and nematology in 2015 proceeded by a doctor of plant medicine degree in 2016, both from the University of Florida.  He previously worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry where he served as the lead scientist and coordinator for multiple mass-rearing laboratories and regional biological control programs focused on controlling the Asian citrus psyllid and the air potato vine.

Frank Wallmeyer is native of Richmond, VA and a graduate of the College of William & Mary. He has lived in Jacksonville for 33 years.  On January 1st 2018 he became the 3rd owner of Standard Feed & Seed, which has been located in the Railyard District since 1946. Standard Feed & Seed has over 200 different types of seeds, an excellent selection of edible plants, as well as fruit bearing bushes and trees.


September 15, 2020 at 5:30pm - 7pm
Karpeles Manuscript Library
101 W 1st St
Jacksonville, FL 32206
United States
Google map and directions
Hank Lengfellner Sierra Steele Lori Scott Ashantae Green Janice Lopez Shirley Johnston Abigail Stewart Ann & Wayne Hall Melinda Powers Brenda Walker Sara Thompson Arthur Bides

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