PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Panama City Rescue Mission and the Bay County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning. They were celebrating showing the public their new permaculture garden. The garden has a variety of vegetables growing in it: tomatoes, peppers, turnips, radishes, red lettuce, sweet potatoes, zucchini, kale, and much more.
They also have 15 fruit trees growing, chickens, and they used 500 pounds of grouper as a compost. The mission's leaders said the grouper compost is great for the vegetables.
The garden is tended to by volunteers and the men who live at the mission. The food from the garden will feed the men at the mission and the women at the Bethel Village Recovery Program.
Phil Burton, Pastor of City Mission Emerald Coast, believes that learning these landscaping and agricultural skills will benefit the men of the mission after they leave.
"What we want the guys to do is to learn how to grow their own food thus growing their own economy and so it's just an awesome opportunity," Burton said.
The garden used to be a junkyard and a crack-house before the Rescue Mission took over with its lush plans. By next year the garden will really be blooming. The mission has plans to add solar panels and a water pump to the roof to demonstrate how water can be moved with solar energy.
"We want to provide food for the men here at the mission and teach them what good food tastes like," Burton said.
To get involved with the mission, visit their website or call them. They meet on Fridays at the garden at 8 a.m. and always start with a Bible study.