Since the fall of 2017, both adult and youth students across west Orlando – from Holden Heights to Parramore to Pine Hills – have participated in Cycles and Sprouts, an urban gardening and bicycle repair educational program funded by the Aetna Foundation. It is one of many health and wellness projects that were awarded funding in 2017 from the Aetna Foundation. This 2-year collaborative effort helps refine students’ existing knowledge while introducing new ideas pertaining to growing food, nutrition, active living, biking, and entrepreneurship.
Cycles and Sprouts was awarded to The East Central Florida Regional Planning Council and is being implemented by Kaley Square in partnership with Fleet Farming, Good Food Central Florida, Holden Heights Community Development Corporation, and Playground City.
For the last year and a half, Cycles and Sprouts has helped students embrace health and wellness by identifying existing skills and mindsets they possess, as well as try new ways of eating healthy, growing their own food, and being active. In addition, the program helps some students identify future entrepreneurship opportunities in their communities. Kaley Square Executive Director Demetrius Summerville notes that roughly 12% of properties in Holden Heights are vacant, and community programming that could transform those lots into something productive and useful for the neighborhood is essential.