Millions of Americans received federal stimulus checks to help tide them over during the pandemic. One Florida man decided to use his money to start his own community garden.
A Florida man used his government stimulus check to create a “generational food” community garden, Atlanta Black Star reports.
Michael “Spirit Mike” Chaney was one of the millions of Americans to receive stimulus money from the government due to the ongoing pandemic. But rather than spend it on short-term needs, Chaney decided to make a long-term investment – starting a garden to help feed his community for generations.
“I do bio-intensive gardening, which means planting as much as you can in a small space. I specifically picked these types of fruits [dwarf plants] because they grow fruit fast,” Chaney told reporters.
The Tampa native has planted dozens of dwarf plants on his .3 acres of land, including collards, papaya, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, cashew apples, and more. He researched extensively to make sure each plant was the right fit. Once the garden grows enough food, Chaney believes he will be able to feed his entire community.
“It’s very important that you plan your garden. Do your research before you put a dollar down because you want your dollar to go as far as it can. If you use that government assistance, all you need is a plot of land; use that assistance and buy 4/5 plants a month, and at the end of the year, you don’t even need the assistance anymore. You have an orchard,” said Chaney.
Just one piece from Chaney’s moringa trees carries five times as much vitamin C as an orange. He also has nine chickens, which he purchased at $3 per chick. Since he’s still in the beginning stages, he has just been giving his food away so that people can test the quality, but he hopes one day to be able to sell his food once the harvest yields.
“My aim is to make my food cost zero. So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin; they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good,” Chaney exclaimed.
He’s currently receiving support from his community and is working to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.
“Essentially for less than the money you got for the stimulus, you can have a [chicken] pen, 10-15 chickens, eggs, and meat. You have generational food by a little investment, time, and effort,” said Chaney.
It’s so important we elevate stories like this. There are so many people out there doing the work in the communities that’s going unnoticed, thank you Spirit Mike.