LAKEWOOD RANCH — East County residents bellied up to the bar to raise funds for the Lakewood Ranch SmartFarm during The Polo Grill and Bar’s Charity Bartending Night Aug. 26.
The proposed SmartFarm is a 5-acre sustainable, organic community farming operation that will host educational seminars and cooking classes and offer gardening plots to businesses and the public.
Organizers originally hoped to have an “Extreme Makeover”-style construction event in October, but funding is not yet in place. Instead, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held in October and organizers now hope to open the farm to the public in February.
The project will open in phases, starting first with family gardening plots and some educational classes.
Once completed, the farm will include a children’s garden with a story stage for performances, book readings and other educational programs, a classroom to teach families to grow their own gardens and an enclosed pole barn with a teaching kitchen that includes studio lighting to record cooking shows and host cooking demonstrations led by SmartFarm official and food columnist and chef Jaden Hair.
Hair said more than $50,000 of kitchen equipment has been donated for the project in trade for her services.
The farm even will utilize aquaponics — growing fish in a closed-tank system that can be used to fertilize plants — andan apiary to promote plant health without chemical fertilizers. There also will be a henhouse, a compost pile and an orchard for fruit trees, plans show.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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