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$25,000 Awarded for Innovative Ideas to Improve Access to Healthy Food

Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park residents will soon be able to offer up a section of their yard to local “fleet farmers,” thanks to a grant from Healthy Central Florida (HCF), a joint initiative between Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation. Fleet Farming is one of 13 projects from local organizations that will receive HCF grants ranging in size from $650 to $5,000 to implement their ideas, totaling $25,000.

One of the most unique grant submissions is the program to utilize private yards and businesses for small urban farms tended to by a “swarm” of fleet farmers who bicycle from urban farm to farm. Harvested crops will then be made available to the homeowner as well as to the community at a reduced cost.

“All of the judges loved this project and gave it high marks for innovation,” said Jill Hamilton Buss, executive director of HCF. “The Fleet Farming Project will end up being a gardening partner for many other grant projects in the communities.”

In an effort to motivate public participation and attract partners to improve health, HCF offered the grants for grassroots ideas to promote healthy food access, connect consumers to healthy food, or encourage availability and consumption of fresh and healthy food.

Before applying for the grants, organizations and individuals first had to attend a Health Innovations Grant workshop sponsored by HCF.

“Potential applicants were required to attend the workshop and then had to incorporate what they learned into their grant application,” said Ms. Buss. “We wanted to bring best practices to our community while also encouraging innovation.” 

More than 75 people participated in the workshop and 25 organizations submitted applications. National food expert, Jessica Donze Black, of the Pew Charitable Trust, was the key presenter along with other local food experts and entrepreneurs currently working on innovative food projects. In the end, 13 projects were awarded funding ranging from $650 to $5,000, totaling $25,000. The winning projects include:

  • A program to utilize private yards and businesses for small urban farms tended to by a “swarm” of fleet farmers on bicycles
  • A greenhouse repair project to start producing healthy foods in Eatonville
  • A mobile market in Winter Park targeting low income seniors and families
  • Healthy cooking classes for kids at the Maitland Public Library
  • A pilot program using crockpots to encourage healthy eating/more vegetable consumption at Winter Park Day Nursery

For further information on HCF or to view the complete list of health innovation grant projects, visit

About Healthy Central Florida

Healthy Central Florida (HCF) is a community-based initiative created and supported by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) to help local communities embrace health and wellness. Focused initially on Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville, HCF has convened and trained community leadership teams representing various sectors, including business, faith, education, healthcare and government in the three communities to consider policy and environmental changes at all levels that make it easier to live a healthier lifestyle.  

For media inquiries only, contact Florida Hospital Media Relations at 407-303-8217.