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Gulfport neighbors embrace 'Food Is Free' movement opening their gardens to friends and strangers

“Start with an herb garden”
Posted: 3:54 AM, Oct 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-10 06:49:49-04
Margaret Eldridge Food is Free basil

GULFPORT, Fla. — Margaret Eldridge wants you to help yourself to her basil.

The sweet-smelling plant is right there in the front yard of her boyfriend’s house, next to the mailbox.

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“You know how you have trick-or-treaters on Halloween?” Eldridge says. “It’s the same feeling with this. I see them snipping the basil and I say, “Yaaay!’”

The Gulfport woman brought the national “Food Is Free” movement to the famously friendly, free-thinking Florida town.

The premise of the project is simple. Neighbors grow vegetables and herbs in their front yards. Friends and strangers alike are allowed to come into the yard and pick what they need.

While Margaret is growing a basil plant, another Food Is Free participant in Gulfport is offering fresh rosemary. She keeps the snipping scissors in the mailbox.

Eldridge created a Facebook page to connect Gulfport’s Food Is Free community, which she hopes keeps growing.