Winter Garden's Do Good Farm aims to feed the world
Josh Taylor is out to show that you can feed the world from a small, 1.5-acre farm in Winter Garden.
Taylor is the founder of Do Good Farm, a tiny Eden off Marshall Farms Road, where he grows 100 different varieties of perennial and annual fruits and vegetables, including an array of greens, papaya and even hibiscus. From this small, sustainably run nonprofit farm, Taylor and his wife, Kelly, fight hunger and malnutrition both locally and globally – from West Orange to East Africa. The farm feeds thousands of people each year.
Taylor says he and his wife began their journey about 20 years ago as they felt saddened by food scarcity and its links to other social ills around the world.
“My wife and I really began to feel heartbroken for people that are enslaved, broken, oppressed, down and out, hungry and thirsty,” Taylor said.
This compelled the Taylors to create the farm and do it the right way, the sustainable way. Instead of using traditional farming techniques that use lots of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, the Taylors deploy aquaponics, which results in cleaner soil and water and promotes plant growth. In addition to growing food for communities, Taylor says they teach these methods to communities, providing a more lasting, sustainable source of food than food banks, which can only provide temporary, episodic help. The Taylors’ mission is to educate, not just grow food and give it away. They teach communities they serve how to continue sustainable food production on their own, combating the hunger crisis.
“We can oftentimes with really good intentions and a desire to help people, go into situations and sometimes do more harm than good when we aren’t intending to do that,” Taylor said. “So again, if all we’re doing is handing out food, why would anybody ever want to work to provide for themselves; there wouldn’t be a motivation for that.”
Cultivation beyond Central Florida
Do Good Farm has impacted the way communities see and value food. Some of their international projects include installing an aquaponic system on top of a roof of an orphanage in Honduras, establishing sustainable farming efforts at a boarding school in Burundi in East Africa, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Do Good Farms also has an internship program and currently has one in Malawi in East Africa. Interns learn sustainable farming and take that knowledge back to their communities to create local farms.
The impact of the farm is also seen here in Central Florida. The Taylors participate in ministry work in poorer areas of Winter Garden. Most recently, they have developed a two-acre farm-to-table school cafeteria concept at Hope Charter School and Legacy High School. The schools have a farm where students there grow food to feed their fellow students.
Do Good Farm also hosts Dinner Bell, an event held every month consisting of a five-course dining experience. It is a source of revenue for the farm’s projects and allows contributors to see how they are contributing to the cause. Taylor says, “Instead of having porridge, rice and beans, and things like that, we can show we can actually put together an edible and delicious meal and do it sustainably.”
This story is part of the "Sounds of Central Florida" project, a partnership between WMFE and UCF's Nicholson School of Communication and Media.