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As food insecurity climbs locally in the winter, growing your own food may be one option to help

A look at what fresh foods thrive in the winter
Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 11:48:38-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — "Am I going to put food on the table or am I going to get the medicine for someone or pay this other bill so I don't lose my electricity."

That's a question many people in the Big Bend ask themselves in the winters months. James McGowan, the Chief Development Officer of Second Harvest of the Big Bend, says those tough choices will contribute to the increase in food insecurity this winter.

"We just see a heightened need during this time."

To help fight it, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Extension Office in Leon County, known as UF/IFAS, is laying out what fresh foods can be grown at home this time of year.

"There's definitely lots of hungry people lots of hungry kids in our community."

UF/IFAS Edibles to Plant in December

Horticulture Program Assistant at UF/IFAS Extension Office in Leon County, Rachel Mathes, says December is a good time to grow spinach, broccoli, carrots, and radishes. In January and February, peas and potatoes can be planted. She also says that greens can be harvested a little at a time which means they can last longer in the winter.

"Having a few fresh things to put on the plate is really wonderful."

UF/IFAS works with families in the community by hosting nutrition workshops and shows people how to can and process their own food so it can last all year. They also have a 100-page guide called the North Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide to show you everything you need to know on how to grow your own food at home.

That vegetable growing guide is available online for download and can also be picked up at the UF/IFAS Office on Paul Russell Road.