In 2010, Patrick Garvey, a manager from the Department of Children and Families, was tasked with Food Stamps outreach to the public in Monroe County. He was determined to help provide for those in the community that suffered from food insecurity in self-empowering ways.
As an unconstrained volunteer, Mr. Garvey coordinated and wrote a grant aimed at community engagement, which was funded by Volunteer Florida. Inspired by the adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” the goal was to create community gardens for low income families and other marginalized populations. By the end of the grant cycle he saw a community that was hungry to learn and reclaim their local food system. With no organizational structure or initial support, six conscious volunteers grew to over 450, and a local movement emerged. The projects were in fact so successful that 20 organizations soon joined the cause and now span across Key West and Miami-Dade.
The community events celebrated the local residents, encouraged healthy lifestyles, provided day care, music, entertainment, and nutritional cooking classes. All activities were coordinated, managed and carried out by volunteers. These 1900 volunteer donated their hours which exceeded a value of $38,000 in service.
Then in 2011, Mr. Garvey together with long time friend, musician and producer, Josef Crosby decided to put their talents together and incorporated a video production component to the organization. They understood that there is no more powerful tool than to show the public the change you create.
Initially, this was little more than a simple slideshow to help highlight accomplishments in the final report. Since then, video documentation has become a major component of the organization.
From these simple beginings, an “organic” movement emerged. What was once a tagline to help rally residents around a common cause, Growing Hope is now an organization with a mission to inspire and help communities in agriculture, community development and story telling through the art of video production. Thus GHI emerged as innovators and leaders for both the Grimal Grove and Verde Gardens projects.