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A conversation about healthy eating led Lakeland residents Savannah Vrana and Rosaline Cabrera to start The Backyard, a non-profit community garden where members will be able to grow their own organic food.

“One random afternoon, Savannah and I were talking about the challenges we face at the supermarket when buying produce. Not only do we have to worry about the possibility of stores blending genetically modified food in their foods in their produce aisles, but also be concerned about the recent studies discovering traces of pesticide on some organic foods,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera is to the left and Vrana is to the right in the photo.

After realizing that they should start to grow their own food, they began to look for a community garden. Because the closest one they found was in Plant City, they decided to create The Backyard Lakeland (website | Facebook | Instagram).

The Backyard, located in Eaton Park, will serve as a community garden and a place for Lakelanders to grow their own food in order to make more organically grown food available. Vrana and Cabrera, who both work in corporate IT, will offer 21 4×4-foot garden beds and two 2×12-foot larger beds for people to rent. All memberships including the individual garden plot, the community garden plot and the combo memberships all include gardening tools, water, soil and space at the Downtown Lakeland Farmers Market to sell the food that they’ve harvested.

Cabrera and Vrana said they have already had several inquiries for membership and volunteer opportunities.

“They feel just as passionately about our mission as we do. A membership with any community garden is like purchasing a low-cost and well-rounded health package. You’re spending time outdoors doing some physical labor and getting back in touch with nature. And you’re taking home food for you and your family that is sustainably grown and pesticide free,” Cabrera said.

The Backyard has started a Kickstarter fundraiser with a  goal of $5,227 and a deadline of  April 9. So far they have raised 79 percent of their goal with 12 days left in the campaign. Here is their Kickstarter video:

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Emily Goldberg, a journalism/public relations major at Florida Southern College (class of 2017), is an intern for lkldnow.

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