Cultivating an interest in a community garden

GROWING A CONCENSUS: Good Samaritan Institute cultivating an interest in a community garden

Walton County’s Good Samaritan Institute laid groundwork for a community garden this week.

“To inspire a love for gardening,” Nikki Lindsey said, is one of the purposes of creating space for the project.

The one-acre plot near the institute on Hwy. 393 North has been given the green light and cleared.  The garden will include individual plots, a common garden area, and a dedicated children's gardening section. 

The next stage involves gauging community interest and creating an executive committee to make the ultimate decisions on how the garden will develop.


Many ideas and questions were floated Wednesday at the organizing meeting, including whether gardeners should use raised beds, what type of lighting should be installed, where restroom facilities would be placed and what dues would be appropriate for what space.

Attendees also decided to go with organic, though there was plenty of discussion over what defines organic.

It was decided that no pesticides or herbicides would be used.

“If it doesn’t grow or becomes infested, we yank it out,” the group decided.

The members appeared eager to assist and learn from each other, but all came for various personal reasons.

One master gardener said “The reason I am here is I live so close to the beach I can’t have a garden.”

The non-profit organization, with a goal of advancing science education, is looking for donations of all kinds to assist in the endeavor.

Microbiologist and GSI founder Doug Liles said his “vision for the future is to have one-half dozen community gardens across South Walton.”

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 at 900 Hwy 393 North in Santa Rosa Beach.