Well, to be completely honest, we did. We’ve seen this coming for awhile: the return to our roots where we live right now – farming in urban areas and in suburbia.
We’re In It For You
We believe that is one of the main reasons why we’ve been in business for 59 years in Tampa Bay – because we are here for anyone who wants to farm and garden in their back yard, and feed their pets high quality affordable pet foods.
Shell’s has definitely seen a dramatic increase in new gardeners and livestock owners coming to us for supplies, and advice too, during this COVID-19 pandemic. We’re loving the trend! Not just because we get to meet more of our neighbors, but because we truly LOVE gardening, and pets, and chickens, and farms too.
It’s our passion to provide great knowledge, great service and great products to our friends who are creating a new adventure at home for themselves and their families.
History Repeats Itself, In A Positive Way
In the last blog article we talked about Victory Gardens being the “new” old thing that has come back around to serve us. We’re continuing our focus on the efforts of our community to provide for themselves, to discover where their food comes from, and to (at least some what) learn how to live off the land.
There are lots of resources out there for new gardeners and new chicken owners, for example. If you search for information on homesteading, you’ll find a lot of information that way as well.
During this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, there has been a lot of talk about supporting our community. In that light I wanted to point out some great local in-person and online communities that are a wealth of support and information for your homesteading endeavors.
Shell’s Learning Center
We’ve built a learning center on our website that has lots of free information for you. It has links not only to our blog, but other “hidden” pages of our website that have great information for growing gardens. Have a look and see if you find something fun to learn today!
Local Community Gardens
Community Gardens are great for people who don’t have yards or patios to grow food on – they already have raised beds built, you lease the space for a nominal fee and you have instant community help to help you grow your own! Here’s some local ones (closer to our store’s location):
Tampa Heights Community Garden (I could not find a recent and working website for them, however they do have a Facebook page you can search for).
Looking for a Community Garden further away from our store but still in the Tampa Bay area? Look on the Coalition for Community Gardens Website, and scroll down to the “Looking for a Community Garden?” section. Click the button and a document will download with community gardens all over Tampa Bay for you to access. https://coalitionofcommunitygardens.weebly.com/
(I don’t know how up-to-date that list is, so you may have to do some google searching or visit the site for more details.
The Coalition for Community Gardens also has a guide for starting your own community garden. That would be a great project for a neighborhood/HOA, a townhome association, a condo association, etc. to undertake together to provide residents with the chance to get their hands dirty and grow food for the betterment of all who live and garden there.
QUESTION: Are you a member of a community garden? Which one? Tell us more about it in the comments below.
Facebook Groups for Gardening/Homesteading
Facebook has some awesome local groups or communities within Facebook to ask questions and search for already-discussed resources – make sure you use the group search functions and look through their written resources!
Shell’s Garden Community – this is a private group run by me. People post pics, ask questions, and we have a good time. Also has announcements about the store in there – activities, sales, etc. Please feel free to join us! We’re in the 200-300 member range and we have good participation from our members.
Tampa Gardening Swap – a HUGE group (11,000+ members!) of gardeners in Central Florida – a great resource for garden info for Zone 9 and 10. Lots of informational resources there, so make sure you check out their Learning Units AND their Files sections before posting your questions.
Tampa Gardening Unplugged – a slightly smaller group that spawned off of the Tampa Gardening Swap, this group also has great people who answer questions, post pics, and sound off about gardening in our area – triumphs and (usually funny) failures too.
Seminole Heights Backyard Chickens – our neighbors in Seminole Heights have an obsession with chickens – almost as fevered as Ybor City! – and this is where they hang out to share information and get advice. Funny chicken videos, wonderful information about problems that people have had and solutions they found that worked (or didn’t).
Do you have a favorite gardening, chicken, or homesteading Facebook Group? Please share in the comments below and tell everyone about it! I want the community to sound off and tell us that you’re out there.
What other resources do you use to learn about gardening? Let’s pool our resources and share our knowledge! Tell us more below!
At Shell’s we want you to know – we are here for you! We support our community’s return to our farming roots 100%, and will continue to do so far into the future. Thank you Tampa Bay for your support and continued business throughout the years, and especially in this time of hardship for everyone in our community.
Until next time, Keep Growing!