A collaboration with the American Geophysical Union: Thriving Earth Exchange;
This project aims to assess the quality of the soil and groundwater of a community located within an industrial zone. This includes data collection, identifying toxic substances, evaluating remediation and mitigation techniques and their impact on the soil and water, and sharing the results. The goals of the project are to reduce stormwater nutrients leaving the community and entering into the Indian River Lagoon, restore soil and groundwater quality through implementation of restorative community gardens, and engage the community and local youth throughout the project. Ultimately, the design of the community gardens will reduce food insecurity, improve local air quality, amend and restore community soil, and improve the overall environmental health of the community and its residents.
Melbourne, Florida is a city in Brevard County southeast of Orlando. The city is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Indian River Lagoon and a thin barrier island that stretches from Cape Canaveral south to Palm City. When Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida in early September 2017, people were trapped in their homes by floodwaters for days, creating a complicated emergency response. Residents point to clogged storm drains that prevent water from easily escaping their neighborhoods. Many homes impacted by Irma were rendered uninhabitable and owners were forced to leave. Some residents even witnessed small tornadoes churning across lawns. Today, flooding can occur from just a couple hours of precipitation; larger rain events cause widespread flooding. As seas continue to rise along Florida’s coast, high tide and storm surge also contribute to widespread flooding.
The Powell Driskoll subdivision of Melbourne is considered a food desert by the USDA. Upon moving to the area, Camille and Rondy Hadley recognized the food insecurities around them and decided to take action towards a sustainable solution by starting Little Growers, Inc. Little Growers, Inc.. is a youth-centered urban agriculture project that promotes community food security, sustainability, and serves as gateway to leadership development opportunities for at-risk youth in a positive, friendly, and productive atmosphere. The garden is situated within Lipscomb Street Park—a low lying area of the city near the Indian River. During heavy rains, the garden becomes water-logged and damages crops. Vegetables are easily susceptible to disease due to moisture and water-logging issues. One particularly bad flood resulted in the loss of all its pumpkins and cucumbers.
A historically black city, much of Melbourne is undergoing gentrification. In the face of this rapid change, the group would like to address the chronic flooding in a way that preserves their cultural heritage and identity.
Camille and Little Growers, Inc. would like to find a scientific partner who can help them obtain a better understanding of their neighborhood flooding situation and how to reduce water-logging to the garden. There are plans to expand the garden in a sustainable manner, utilizing rainwater captured in rain barrels and water from the Lipscomb Street Park lake.
The goal of this TEX project is to bring scientific evidence and understanding to the questions and priorities of local residents, so that residents can use that science to make decisions and take actions.
This project has been conceived and designed in partnership with community leaders at Texas Organizing Project and with our national partner, Flood Forum USA.
Trees With Purpose
Little Growers seeks to be the catalyst that prepares the community to fight the adverse effects of climate change with our newest storm water mitigation initiatives. Little Growers seeks to partner with the cities of Palm Bay and Melbourne as well as organizations like Keep Brevard Beautiful Lagoon Friendly Lawn Program to engage residents in building edible and native plant gardens that will reduce water logging and absorb storm water nutrients to prevent them from entering the Indian River Lagoon.
This Environmental Justice initiative aims to educate local decision makers, residents and college students about Environmental Justice and address legacy pollution concerns in the community.
MAKE A GREEN NOISE!
At Make a Green Noise, our mission is clear: we aim to build and enhance partner capacity to assess and integrate trusted approaches for sharing crucial information with our residents. Our goal is to empower individuals, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their climate and environmental future.
A partnership between Little Growers Inc and the South Brevard Environmental Justice Committee is dedicated to fostering collaboration with community partners. Together, we aim to deliver culturally and community-relevant information concerning environmental and climate concerns. Our objective is to position our community proactively, ready to design innovative solutions.
Environmental justice forms the cornerstone of our values. It insists that public policy be rooted in mutual respect and justice for all, free from any form of discrimination or bias. Little Growers Inc. and the South Brevard Environmental Justice Committee are committed to supporting the transformation of codes, policies, and ordinances that disproportionately affect BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.
Our vision extends beyond our community. We aspire to share our best practices with other BIPOC communities and NAACP Environmental Justice Committees. Together, we work towards achieving restorative justice across all communities of color.
Join us in this transformative journey towards a more equitable, sustainable, and just future for all. Together, we can amplify our impact and create positive change in our communities and beyond.
The Crane Creek Restoration Project on Brothers Ave in Melbourne, Florida will not only help increase access to freshly grown produce for families living in a food insecure area, but will teach the principles of environmental justice to the community who will learn about stormwater mitigation, soil testing, and more. This will be green infrastructure permaculture design site that will ensure that toxic substances are mitigated or eliminated through soil and water remediation techniques in order to prevent public health hazards, improve air quality through the implementation of native plants, engage the community and promote youth leadership throughout the mitigation process, and continue to respond to food insecurity.
What is the Project?
Through listening to and prioritizing resident voices and experiences, a group of local organizations are working together to help solve issues related to flooding and water quality experienced by the community of West Cocoa.
Who are the Partners?
Florida Sea Grant, Stetson University, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and Brevard County.
How Can This Project Benefit the Community?
This project's goal is to plan for green space, or green infrastructure, which has the capacity to absorb and filter rainwater impacting the West Cocoa area by using strategies, such as drones, geospatial modeling and community input. STEM opportunities for youth may be available.
Community Listening Workshop